Condo Blues: Baking Soda Deodorant FAIL

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baking Soda Deodorant FAIL

Have you heard that some people use baking soda as deodorant? It’s a great way to avoid parabens and aluminum chlorohydrate if you’re concerned about that. Think of all the money you'd save too!

I was hesistant at first. The one time I tried an environmentally friendly stick deodorant it gave me a rash under my arms. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

I’ve always had a problem with finding a deodorant that works for me, most leave me wiffy at the end of the day, especially roll on deodorant. I have better luck with solid stick deodorant but even then only two brands work for me.

I found a roll on deodorant in the back of the linen closet during a clean out. I was out of my full of parben and aluminum chlorohydrate stick deodorant. Since I am trying to green my health and beauty aids, I figured I would use the roll on and a homemade version together (in the case of stinky failure) applied with a powder-puff. After I went through the roll on I would transition to just baking soda.

I tried three different baking soda and homemade deodorant combinations. I tried each experiment for a month. I didn’t do much in the way of heavy sweaty work or working out. It was spring so it was not hot outside either.
  • I applied the roll on and used that for a few days alone. By the end of the day, I detected a faint body odor at the end of the day. FAIL.
  • I mixed equal parts cornstarch and baking soda. I used it with and without the roll on. My pits felt gritty and detected a faint body odor at the end of the day. FAIL.
  • I tried using baking soda only. I used it with and without the roll on. I my pits were not gritty but I detected a faint body odor at the end of the day. FAIL.

Home made deodorant?


I consulted my friends from the Green Moms Carnival. These women are brilliant. I figure someone in this group has either had an experience close to mine or found a way to make it work without the stink. From our unscientific and funny discussion, it seems that successfully using baking soda and various homemade deodorants  depends on the individual’s body chemistry.

My body chemistry said, "Stinky. Please pass the parbens" at the end of the day.

I’m back to the one parben laden, aluminum chlorohydrate filled stick deodorant that keeps me from stinking. I'm not very happy about that but I am happy that I'm not stinky at the end of the day. I think my family and friends prefer me that way too.

For a different take on baking soda as deodorant, check out Beth’s experience at Fake Plastic Fish.

Have you tried baking soda as deodorant? What was your experience?

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Lori aka Groovy Green Livin said...

Your post made me laugh-a much needed laugh-so thank you. I am constantly struggling with deodorant. I refuse to use the chemical stuff. I am an exercise fanatic-or freak. I have been using Tom's of Maine occasionally and I think that is a big FAIL too. I definitely smell. So I try to stay far away from friends and enemies after working out and I run to the shower. Maybe we should try some other safe brands.....i am willing. There must be something to prevent the stink's!!!

Ctrl-Alt-Health said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who had an epic fail with baking soda. Pretty much every natural deodorant gives me a rash too! I tried baking soda once and it chafed and it made the rashes worse! After reading Beth's post at FPS I thought I would give it a try. It worked for me in the smell department, but I turned all red from the chafing! And then my skin started to peel, so I looked like I had some sort of awful disease. For the most part, the Kiss My Face roll-ons seem to work for me, very few breakouts. I was just trying to get away from that because of all of the plastic. One day soon I will make it to Lush to try one of their deodorant bars. I'll be sure to post about it.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Thanks for the comments it makes me feel not so alone in the I'm not giving in to body odor please pass the parabins fight.

Amy in Tacoma said...

I found a homemade deodorant recipe that works really well for me. I blogged about it here.

IndoorKitty said...

I go back and forth between baking soda & cornstarch and Tom's unscented. (Mostly use the Tom's when I'm wearing dark clothes.) I live in the Southeast and we have had the hottest, most humid summer I can remember. My system seems to work pretty well. What is a problem is latent armpit funk in my clothes. The stuff from the Dove that I used to use has latched onto old sweat and snuggled heep into the fibers of my shirts. When it gets hot, my shirts's pits smell, not mine. They also smell if I hit them with the steam iron. I've been working on de-funking by spraying the affected areas with vodka and leaving things in the sun. It's slow going, but it works. If you are disatisfied with the more natural deoderant options, try checking your clothing before giving up.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

IndoorKitty - Most of the time I was wearing tank tops. The wiffy definitely came from me and not my shirts :(

Adding vinegar to your washing water in your washing machine (I put it in the fabric softener dispenser in my machine) helps get deodorant build up/pit stains out of your clothes. I do this from time to time especially when I'm washing white t-shirts.

Karen Hanrahan said...

my baking soda experiment was equally as failing, and i do think it's chemistry 101 - with baking soda the skin pigment under my arms darkened, and i got itchy and rashy, eventually stinky - i buffered it with corn starch and It got sortof fermenty - the thing is initially the experiment was dreamy. I thought my goodness is this what it's like to not be stinky ?? I am back to whatever extra strength is on sale - Ironically, i developed other underarm issues and had to stop shaving - so now i am very mother earthy looking and i swear, it is now not my pits that smell but as another commenter said - it's my clothing?? !! What's with that ??

Kristin - The Goat said...

I've never used deodorant because I'm allergic to nearly everything it seems. (OK, I've used, that's how I knew I was allergic, but you know what I mean) However, the last month I've detected an odor. I've never had that before - luckily I've been a non stinker even on the hottest of of the main reasons why I've been able to go deodorant free.

Now I've got to find something and I was so hoping that you could help me and all I see is fail, fail, fail. Hmmm. not good. I'll let you know what I find.

Kristin - The Goat

Robj98168 said...

LOL I recently tried BS for Deodorant and had no smell issues. It kept me dry. Of course I swear I don't need deodorant, as I don't have much scent and don't sweat much.But for me I would have to say sucess.

Crunchy Diva said...

i first tried using olive oil first then baking soda over top which worked, but the baking soda gave me a rash. i then did 50/50 baking soda corn starch still using the oil first. that was better. i bought some perfume oil that i added just a bit to the olive oil just to have a little light scent. now i don't use baking sodea, corn starch or olive oil. i just use a little perfume oil & away i

Crunchy Diva said...

at first i was using baking soda, cornstarch combos with olive oil so that it would adhere. now i just use perfume oil much easier.

Mrs. Yeater said...

I have not tried baking soda as a deodorant, but I have used it for toothpaste. That kind of works, actually. I have done some experimenting, however, with "green" deodorants. I have only found one roll-on that is unscented and leaves the pits that way, and it is only a little more expensive than the regular grocery store brands. Crystal something. It has a pink top. The others left me almost stinkier than if I had not worn any deodorant. Blegh.

Bouncy said...

Ive been using it for about a month now and my trick is to just rub coconut oil on my pits first then sprinkle the BS in each hand and rub over as a powder! Without the oil I got a HORRIBLE painful rash but with it Im fine YAY. I have MEGASUPERSTINKY pits too yet havent smelt my BO since I started. Sometimes if its really hot or im working out I get a bit of a weird 'hot salt' smell but its so much nicer than actual BO or 'used' deodorant smell. Im also using it as toothpaste and shampoo (you MUST rinse with vinegar for your hair though - its a degreaser and conditioner. this is also tricky to get the right amounts. took me a few weeks of fiddling) If you tried and failed before Id try again with the oil on first - sure made the difference for me. So happy to not be adding to landfil too woo. Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

I've been using 1 part BS to 5 parts corn starch; dabbing with just a cotton swab... I've been very happy with it for the last 2 months. Lately I started getting a rash which I think is because I didn't mix it well enough as I heard too strong of BS will do that. So I will add some more cornstarch to see how it goes. I've heard that BS causes bacteria to not grow which is the smell of BO; I've heard garlic does that too. So I worse case I was going to try something with that. Not sure if that is a better smell though :)

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