From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Deodorant Edition


Welcome to the first installment of From the Pantry to the Bathroom, where I feature natural alternatives to beauty and hygiene products, all of which can be created by using ingredients found in the kitchen pantry (think toothpaste made from baking soda and peppermint extract; face masks assembled from oatmeal and honey; etc).

While I was entrenched in the darkest days of my green year and not buying any new plastic, let alone consuming products full of chemicals and preservatives, I ultimately had no choice but to make myself clean and pretty using whatever I could find in the house. Now, I still do this, but it’s more in the name of laziness and frugality.

Sometimes, homemade stuff doesn’t turn out so great — using vinegar instead of shampoo, for instance, unless perhaps you have thick, curly hair and don’t mind a permanent redolence of fish ‘n’ chips — but occasionally I’ll stumble upon something so effective and simple, I just have to share it with every woman (and sometimes men) I know.

So without further ado, here is my first find:


The recipe is very simple:

– Coconut oil

– Put on underams

That’s it!

You can find coconut oil at most grocery stores (definitely at any health food store). It looks something like this:


Coconut oil is great for cooking — it can be safely heated to high temperatures, it’s great for smoothies and has lots of beneficial side effects (ask your local nutritionist about it). But it’s also useful as a moisturizer, a shoe polish, and, if you’re feeling kinky, as a lubricant.

I can’t remember what, exactly, possessed me to spread coconut oil underneath my arms recently because I’ve been using a combination of the crystal rock and the wild-yam scented Green Beaver brand of deodorant for a while with mostly positive results. But in the end, I found that coconut oil is a lot more effective. In fact, it almost smelled better once I started to sweat a little. I’m not sure whether the oil is clogging my pores or not, but whatever — I’m sold. Try it out!!

Update: Burbanmom/EnviRambo has also just seen the coconut oil light — check out her post on it over here.

Deodorant ad above from Flickr

31 Responses to From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Deodorant Edition

  1. Ben Gigstead says:

    This is just the kind of stuff I’m looking for with my frugal New Year’s resolution! I know I kept this blog on my reader for a reason. Looking forward to more kitchen transformations! 🙂

  2. JennyB says:

    Coconut oil also works great as a shaving oil, with an old-fashioned double-side razor.

  3. arduous says:

    So the coconut oil doesn’t cause rash or itchiness? Because I know a lot of people have had issues with that for the baking soda ….

  4. Olga says:

    The coconut oil doesn’t stain your shirt? Is it just quickly absorbed by the skin? Is it OK to use after you just shaved? I found I can’t use baking soda after shaving, it burns like hell.

  5. gettinggreen says:

    Nope, no rash — in fact, now I think I remember why I used it in the first place. I had just waxed my underarms and there was some redness under one of them. I threw some coconut oil on there to moisturize it because I knew there’d be no preservatives or anything, and voila.

  6. gettinggreen says:

    P.S. And Olga, I’m not sure about baking soda as I’ve never tried it, but it definitely felt fine. I haven’t noticed any shirt-staining, either, but remember — a little oil goes a long way. Just use a teensy, tiny bit, then add more later if you need it. Play around with it and see how it goes. As for using it right after shaving, I’m not entirely sure about the safety factors, but something tells me it can’t be that bad… estheticians often throw on some oil after waxing, right?

  7. Sara says:

    Bravo! I love it. It shouldn’t be clogging pores nor causing rashes (unless you have an allergy I s’pose) as I for one can attest to its great use as a facial moisturizer! It’s great for skin, also hair and scalp when you have a dandruff problem.. did you ever find the greasiness a put off using it on your underarms? That makes me curious.

  8. arduous says:

    Oh one more question. How are you applying it? With a brush?

  9. gettinggreen says:

    Sara, just try using a little at first and see how it goes… I haven’t found it to be too greasy and it hasn’t stained anything yet. And arduous, just dip your finger into the jar, scrape away a tiny bit of the oil (it’ll be solidified, unless you live somewhere hot) and rub it onto your underarms, just as if you were trying to moisturize them (counter-intuitive, I know).

  10. hoorayparade says:

    i use this!

    (i put a little baking soda on top for good measure but i don’t get irritated at all!)

    my friends didn’t believe me but after they took a whiff they were astonished that my armpit smelled like skin!!! go figure 🙂

    • Rene chatman says:

      I read up on coconut oil a few days ago and love what I’ve
      heard so far. I’ve eaten it right out the jar, applied it to my skin and just for the heck of it….rubbed it on my underarms. I didn’t smell all day…it works great!!

  11. I’ll keep it in mind, but so far plain baking soda is working great for me for deodorant. I never itch or get a rash. Just dust it on dry armpits with a powder puff. Cheaper than coconut oil and less messy. But that’s my experience. Whatever works for you!

  12. gettinggreen says:

    I’ll try out baking soda too, then, and see… although I don’t find coconut oil messy at all, and instead of just neutralizing the odor, it actually makes it smell really nice. I honestly cannot stop sniffing my armpits now because they smell like cake.

  13. Dang it. Now I’ll have to give it a try.

  14. Oldnovice says:

    I’ve had some of that in my kitchen for quite a while. Thanks for the tip on using it for
    dandruff. I’ve been trying sesame oil (purported to have healing properties) on my scalp, but I think it only feels like it helps because I’m massaging it in twice/week before a shampoo. I still need something to wash my hair that doesn’t come in plastic and makes some sort of lather attempt.

    There are worse things than smelling like cake.

  15. John says:

    Have you done this while wearing a white shirt? I’m game if it doesn’t stain.

  16. Emma says:

    can I use Pam instead under my arms?

  17. Emma says:

    …kidding… I might try it. But my only query would be how powerful it is under my nasty disgusting pits.

  18. kettunainen says:

    I’ve had great results combining the two: coconut oil and baking soda. form a paste and apply. I add sandalwood or patchouli for extra anti-fungal qualities, but I’m sure other skin-safe essential oils would be great (like lavender or ylang ylang, for example).

    I tried just coconut oil at first, and it didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped. The addition of baking soda has rocked my socks for nearly a year now. So easy and effective!

  19. Melinda says:

    Ok, I’m a little slow… dang, I didn’t realize you were posting regularly again! Where have I been??

    I just recently wrote about my use of baking soda mixed with cornstarch, if you ever feel the need to give that a try. I have heard that you can mix the three together for a “solid” deodorant, too.

    And, just because I feel the need : ) I’m going to push you to give baking soda and spiced vinegar a try. Here’s my method. I swear, it works – my hair is very similar to yours!

  20. […] been using a mixture of baking soda and corn starch.  [I have not yet been brave enough to try coconut oil as a deodorant; it just sounds gross.]  I used vinegar as a hair conditioner for a little while but […]

  21. Alyss says:

    I found you through googleing “coconut deodarant” 🙂 I’m wondering if you are using virgin coconut oil or the expeller pressed oil on your underarms? The photo you have there is of the expeller pressed oil I use for almost all of my cooking. It doesn’t have a coconutty flavor or smell and is a bit cheaper. Virgin coconut oil is the stuff that smells coconutty and the Omega Naturals one has a blue label, I think.
    Anyway, just wondering. I’m going to give this a try.

  22. […] is a miracle food. It is incredibly nourishing, healing, protective and delicious. When my friend Vanessa discovered its use as an underarm deodorant, I was again reminded of the dozens of ways I use […]

  23. I found your blog from a link off the website about coconut oil for deodorant. You’ve got a great blog here with a ton of useful info. I’ve been using virgin coconut oil for the past 3 months as skin conditioner and moisturizer. While in the shower I would massage virgin coconut oil all over my body – step out of the shower and then pat dry. My skin stays soft and moist all day. In the past I would have to constantly apply skin lotion to my arms to keep them from drying out. Since using coconut oil I haven’t had to use any skin lotion during the entire winter season. Thanks again for the great blog!

  24. […] at Green as a Thistle, Vanessa suggested using coconut oil in place of deodorant.  Ummm, say what?  I was nearly […]

  25. Oslan says:

    Great idea thank you so much to this post

  26. The first question that is commonly posed is whether or not coconut oil is safe to use. Manufacturers of other oils have historically tried to smear coconut oil as a poor oil simply because it is principally comprised of saturated fats. Aren’t those the bad fats? In quite a few cases they’re, but in the case of coconut oil their makeup is incredibly distinct from many other oils. Coconut oil is largely composed of medium chain fatty acids which are healthful. Most other saturated fats can’t say this. The stableness saturated fats helps to make sure that coconut oil will not break down into trans fatty acids and free radicals when subjected to higher temps.

  27. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome website!

  28. dana vigilante says:

    I am addicted to coconut oil, after reading “The Coconut Oil Miracle”. I practice a pretty straight macrobiotic way of life, but I have to say, that coconut oil is amazing. I no longer use my Retin A (after 11 faithful years), because coconut oil has somehow proven to be 100 times better. I use a little on my face every night. In addition, it is the only oil I use both on my body and in my kitchen. Three tablespoons a day internally or externally will do wonders for you. As for using it as a deoderant – it absolutely works. And I was really skeptical about that, until I tried it. I will never use a traditional deoderant again (even though I was using the relatively chemical-free Liquid Rock). I suggest the above referenced book for anyone who is doubting the effects of coconut oil. You need to make sure it is Extra Virgin when purchasing. Dana Vigilante


    […]From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Deodorant Edition « Green as a Thistle[…]…

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