For most of my life I’ve used conventional deodorants, they worked and smelled nice. Sometimes I would spend around 30 minutes at the store smelling different deodorants until I found a new smell I loved. I never thought much about it until I started researching the ingredients in most of the products my family uses.
When I start looking into deodorants I learned two very important things, how antiperspirants work and all the toxic chemicals used in conventional deodorants. Before I tell you why you should detox your armpits and how to detox them, you should understand why it’s best to stay away from most antiperspirants and deodorants.
Antiperspirants are made to reduce the production of sweat. Their active ingredient is aluminum salts which dissolve into your skin’s surface creating a barrier. It basically blocks your sweat glands temporarily and reduces the amount of sweat released. Your body sweats for a reason, blocking sweat is not the right solution.
There has also been a lot of speculation if using these type of deodorants are one of the reasons we’re seeing so many cases of breast cancer. I personally, don’t take my chances and will never use an antiperspirant again.
My second biggest concern comes with the ingredients used in most conventional deodorants. This is a short list of the ingredients that concern me the most:
- Aluminum: I avoid aluminum in every possible form and even wrote a post about it. It has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.
- Parabens: An endocrine disruptor that interferes with our hormone production. Read more about it in this post.
- Phthalates: Another endocrine disruptor that causes havoc in your body.
- Propylene Glycol: A neurotoxin linked to kidney and liver damage.
So, you’re basically putting a concoction of toxic chemicals in your armpit.
You must be thinking, “I’ll just switch to a natural deodorant and I’ll be fine”. Well, if you’re like most people you have been using conventional deodorants for a long time and all these toxins have built up in your armpits. It’s best to detox your armpits from all those years of questionable deodorants before using a natural deodorant.
Signs you need an armpit detox
Are your armpits smelly?
The build up of toxic chemicals may be the reason why your armpits have a strong odor.
Sometimes when you use a natural deodorant you will notice your armpits smell bad after a few hours. Turns out this mostly happens because of the toxin build-up and the way to fix this is by doing an armpit detox. Once you do the detox, that natural deodorant will work so much better.
Are you getting a rash from the baking soda in your natural deodorant?
You guessed it, it’s probably caused by the build up of toxic chemicals. Once you detox your armpit you will most likely be able to use a natural deodorant with baking soda without getting a rash.
Are you ready to ditch your conventional deodorant?
The best way to switch to natural is to clean your armpits from all those toxic chemicals. Even if you don’t think you need a detox, you probably do. Plus it’s so easy and quick to do, you have nothing to lose.
You’ll notice that after doing the detox your armpits will in fact smell better and won’t get as stinky at the end of the day.
How to Detox your Armpits
This is the easiest DIY recipe you’ll ever have to make!
- 1 tablespoon of paraben-free bentonite clay
- 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
- Water (optional)
- Aloe Vera spray (optional)
Or you can buy a kit with all the pre-measured ingredients you need here.
In a small glass bowl mix the bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. Make sure you use a wooden or plastic spoon – do not use a metal spoon since it affects the properties of the bentonite clay.
Mix it well. It should look like a paste. It if doesn’t look like a paste after you mix it well, you can add a tiny bit of water until you get the consistency that’s pictured below:
Once it’s ready spread on your armpits and leave it on for 5-15 minutes. If this is your first time doing a detox, I suggest you start with 5 minutes.
You shouldn’t feel anything when you have this mixture on your armpits, if it’s burning or hurting, remove it immediately. I personally have left it for 20 minutes and never experienced any sensation.
Once the time is up, you can wash it off with a cloth or in the shower. I personally do the detox before I take a shower so I can just wash it off.
After I remove all the bentonite clay mixture and my armpits are dry, I like to spray the Aloe Vera to help my skin heal. This is not a must but it helps with the detox process and it’s great for your skin.
As always when doing any type of detox, make sure you drink plenty of water to help your body detox faster.
How many times should you do a detox?
You need to repeat this detox until your armpits stop getting stinky. If you’re doing this detox because the baking soda in natural deodorants is irritating you, you will have to do this detox until the baking soda stops irritating you.
This detox is safe enough to do daily, but I prefer to do it 2-3 times a week. You should notice an improvement soon after your first application. Everyone’s body is different, this is why there isn’t a set number of times you should detox, but if you pay close attention you’ll notice these changes and you’ll know you won’t have to detox anymore.
It feels wonderful to know you’re helping your body to get rid of all those toxic chemicals that have build up throughout the years. Have you detoxed your armpits?
Save this recipe for later by pinning this image:
I love this idea! Instead of the clay, could I use activated charcoal or diatomacious earth? I have both of those on hand. I have both of those on hand.
I haven’t used any of those but I would try first with diatomacious earth. Let me know how it goes. 🙂
At Whole Foods, Green Acres Market, etc, there is a deodorant replacement also that is a small block of salt, shaped similarly to a bar of soap that you dampen with just a bit of water and rub onto the armpit. It has no fragrance whatsoever and there is no sweaty smell even after working out in the yard all day in Kansas. My husband just now is needing a replacement and it’s been a little over a year since we purchased the last one. Conventional men’s deodorants started breaking him out badly. The salt version may be an alternative to those who don’t fare well with baking soda. I am definitely going to try your detox!
Thanks for the tip! There are some of these salt versions that contain Potassium alum. If you’re avoiding aluminum then I would avoid this too. Just check the ingredients. 🙂
Melissa Richardson says
SO interesting. Would this be safe while breastfeeding?
Yes, it’s safe. You’re just pulling out toxins from the armpits. I’m also a breastfeeding mama. ❤️
Nikki Cintron says
After washing off detox, can I use natural deodorant?
Yes! That’s what I do.
Love this! You know, after 3 years of only using natural deodorants I realized that I didn’t need a deodorant anymore… I had stopped smelling! I attributed it to a clean diet, but maybe it’s because the old build up of toxins was finally gone!
That’s so awesome! I think you’re right – diet plays a big role in how we smell. ?
I agree almost completely with this recipe for detoxing. However, I would like to inform you that using apple cider vinegar is very toxic. Apple cider vinegar is actually acid. I will figure out what would be a better alternative and do some research. Maybe just water or adding charcoal would be best. Thank you for sharing your post. I have been learning so much these past few years on sticking to a better diet and all natural products have changed my life. I too have suffered from these problems from my armpits and it truly makes a difference detoxing. Dr. Sebi is very interesting and I’ve learned much more from him. You can look him up on YouTube. Many ingredients to spices and foods that we know of are man made. I’m not religious but I do believe there is a higher power and only the most natural things we were given on this earth was intended for us to consume or use as a natural healing benefits without harming our bodies that should only be used. Thought I share with you and all. Thanks again for the post.
I would love for you to elaborate on how you came with the conclusion that Apple cider vinegar is toxic. 🙂
As far as this recipe, the acidic nature of the Apple cider is what helps kill the bacteria. It is also a very small amount.
You could try just doing the detox with water and bentonite clay if you want to skip the ACV. I personally haven’t found any reason why it would be dangerous or toxic to use to ACV this way.
Agree with Carolina on this one! ACV has changed my life! Helps burn fat when taken orally ??
What is the name of this natural deodorant
I’m having so much trouble postpartum with armpit odors and it started when I turned 40 and was still nursing my toddler BEFORE I got pregnant with my now 7 week old. At that time I switched to natural for the same reasons as you and I assumed that it would take a while to detox naturally but it’s been over a year! I never heard of armpit detoxing! I’m trying this ASAP (ordering the clay no). I literally went to a dermatologist and they prescribed me a n antibiotic with alcohol to put on my underarms so that I was able to go out – it was that bad. That medicated gel worked until now and I was considering removing my sweat glands cause I am so depressed by this crazy experience and embarrassed. If this works I’m going to cry. Thanks for the tip!
Two questions. 1) Why can’t metal touch the clay? 2) Why would I need to start with only 5 minutes? (Or is this just to prevent stinging?) I’ve never used the clay for anything so I know NOTHING about it!
1- The clay absorbs the metals (that’s how it draws out the toxins) and becomes less effective so if you use a metal spoon it will draw out the properties from the spoon.
2- it’s just to prevent stinging and irritation. Some people can do it longer without any issues but some might have more toxin build up or sensitive skin. I always recommend to try something for a little bit in case of any sensitivities the person might have.
Thank you! I have used a metal spoon before. I will definitely be using a wooden spoon from now on.
Margaret Lauer says
Hi there! I came across this while searching through pinterest ways to heal the rashes natural deodorant is leaving under my arms. A simple skin patch test this past fall to test for one allergy led to the discovery that I’m allergic to almost every chemical put in body care stuff. I switched all my stuff but was having a hard time with deodorant. The gentle arrowroot powder stuff left me very stinky and the baking soda stuff left me with painful rashes. I switched back to conventional deodorant and the rashes went away. A few weeks ago I found another that combined both arrowroot and baking soda but that left me with rashes too. Then I found this blog and I thought I might as well try. I mixed the tblsp clay with 2 tsp acv and it just balled up and didn’t form a paste until I added another tsp. What did I do wrong? Also is this safe to wash down the drain? I have a metal kitchen sink but a porcelain bathroom sink. Which would be safer to wash the bowl in? Sorry for the long post! I hope you can provide some insight!
Where you using the same bentonite clay? You could try adding a little bit of water or aloe Vera spray if you have some.
Since you’re having rash issues you’ll need to do this several times – about 2-3 times a week for a few weeks.
You can wash the mixture down the drain. The only reason why you can’t use a metal spoon it’s because the clay draws out all the toxins from the metal spoon and it won’t be as effective in your armpits.
Margaret Lauer says
I used a different brand that I could find nearby. There’s no indication that it is anything but pure bentonite clay. I’ll try adding some water next time instead of another teaspoon of acv. Will it have the same effectiveness? I’ll use like you suggested and hopefully it helps! Thank you!
It should look like my pictures. I would try again following my recipes and make sure you mix it well and if it’s still doesn’t look right just add a tad of water. It will work. 🙂
Let me know how it goes!
I can’t say I’m in the camp of detoxing as I’ve use milk of magnesia (plain) for deodorant for many years with success. When I’ve run out I’ve used baking soda in a pinch and have always developed an irritation if used for several days. I’ve read elsewhere, on more than one site, I t may be the PH of the baking soda and repeated use on skin; food for thought.
Thanks for your comment! It could be a skin sensitivity issue but I wouldn’t use straight up baking soda. I’ve heard juice from a squeezed lime helps but I haven’t tried it. ?
I always use lime, directly squeezed on my armpits. It works really well, even after the next day. We have a lime tree at home, but since I moved out from there and kinda hard to get lime whenever i needed, so I was planning to make natural deo. Thanks for your recipe
You’re welcome Risa! Hope you like it!
Just a note on lime, it works great but if you put it on your skin and it gets exposed to sun, it can burn. The armpits should be fine since they’re covered most of the time but if you go back to using lime, make sure you don’t do it when you’re wearing tank tops.
Margaret Lauer says
Thank you Wendy! I have used baking soda on my face for an acne treatment before and didn’t have issues. It could be that my armpits are more sensitive than my face. I’ll try this detox and if I’m still getting a rash I’ll try arrowroot again, I might not be as stinky this time around 🙂
Also, the first time I whipped this up, I used the store brand acv I had on hand. I bought organic acv and it made all the difference. Crazy!
Let me know how it goes. ?
Where do I buy the clay?
You can buy it on Amazon – under the ingredients section, there’s a link for it. You should also be able to find it in health food stores and Whole Foods Market.
A Mama in the Making says
Very interesting idea! Where can you find the clay in person? Would they have it at Ulta?
Hi! I’m not sure what’s Ulta but you can find it in stores like Whole Foods or your local health food store.
Great idea !! I already use this mixture on my face and would’ve never thought of putting it on my pits haha but two questions… 1. Would it be ok to still use store-bought deodorant after doing this?? 2. Should you shave you armpits before or after this detox??? Thanks in advance !!!
Elena, yes, you can use store bought deodorant but I would try to stick to a natural brand.
I wouldn’t do it right after shaving your armpits in case they’re sensitive but it really doesn’t matter when you do it. 🙂
If it pulls out toxins then does it also pulls out Oxygen ? And how does this help when bacteria causea the smell ? Also what is considert a toxin here because everything can be toxic if you use to much or to little .?
Hi! I’m not sure what you mean about the oxygen part.
The Apple cider Vinegar helps kill the bacteria. This detox in combination of a natural deodorant will help keep the bacteria in check and restore your Ph.
As far as toxins, I mean the ones in conventional deodorants that accumulate in your arm pits.
The longer you’ve been using a conventional deodorant, the more build up you will have. Once you do the detox it will start coming out (you will notice your arm pits might get very stinky during Detox).
I sweat a lot and only from my armpits so strugglw finding a conventional deo that dries me up. After detoxing, will an all natural deodorant help to control the sweat. I literqlly drip and its very unpleasant esp for a female. Thank you
Hi Rumbi! I don’t have a definitive answer for you. This helps deal with the smell issue but I am not sure about the amount you sweat. However, I have heard from two friends that after the detox and about a month of using a natural deodorant, the are sweating less. My guess is that maybe the excessive sweat was somehow related to some of the build up toxin but I’m not 100% sure. If you can try it out for a month, I would. 🙂
If you sweat that much, try finding a dermatologist that can use Botox to reduce the amount of sweat you produce.
Hi!! Excited to give this detox a try. I tried a natural deodorant maybe a year or two ago and it broke me out. So I gave up but I will definitely try your detox recipe. Do you mind sharing the exact amount of clay and ACV you used in you recipe? Thanks, kindly!
I used the exact amount listed under the ingredients section. It has worked very well for me. I make my own DIY deodorant and haven’t had any rash issues. 🙂
Sabrina Nissanka says
Hey what can i use instead of bentonite clay something that works well
i don’t where i can find that clay in my country ( Sri Lanka)
I really love to try this DIY as i hate those deodrants they have made my under armpits so dark 🙁
Do you happen to have Activated Charcoal, like this one: http://amzn.to/2r84dU2
You can try that instead. Sub the bentonite clay for the activated charcoal and the vinegar for water.
I personally haven’t tried this but I think it should work.
Do you have any suggestions on essential oils that I can add to this? I cannot stand the smell of vinegar…or would adding oils be counter-intuitive to the whole detox process?
If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar I would just use water. I am not sure if it’s as effective so you might just have to do the detox several times.
Can you tell me about that particular clay I’ll try to find it 🙂
I don’t know anything about.
Where can I find it ? Like online atleast
If you click on the link in the ingredient list it will take you to Amazon, where you can buy the bentonite clay.
Hi! Can i use kaolin clay instead of Bentonite?
I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work. 🙂
Malisa Robertson says
What is your recipe for your homemade deodorant?
We are ording some and we like it. But if I can make it and save us money.
Here it is: https://mamainstincts.com/diy-deodorant-bar/
Hope you love it as much as we do!
Nancy Stephenson says
How long/applications would you say this takes to work for someone who has always used deodrant, not natural?
It’s really hard to tell since it depends on what you’ve been using and your body. I’ve had friends that only did it for a week but another did it for a month before her pits stop smelling.
Hi ! I’m breastfeeding and pregnant and I’ve always read and been instructed to avoid all detoxes while nursing or pregnant. However I’m struggling with smell and my arm pits breaking or terribly. If possible can you help me understand the reason it’s ok to detox while breastfeeding ?
This detox draws the toxins out. I’ve done it while breastfeeding my toddler with no issues. That being said, you should always consult with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you.
Oh I just saw that you’re pregnant so I would ask your OB. I haven’t done this pregnant nor asked my doctor about doing this pregnant.
What is your favorite kind of natural deodorant? I’ve recently starting using Native. I’ve been using it for almost a month and it has been a huge adjustment for me! I do feel as though I ‘stink’ after a couple hours. The instructions said to give it a month, so I am sticking with it. I will try this detox, too!
I have been making my own for a while and just use that now. Here’s the recipe: https://mamainstincts.com/diy-deodorant-bar/
I also have some deodorant recommendations on that link.
With all natural deodorants you have to give it about a month because your armpits need to detox. This detox speeds up that process so you might want to try it out. 🙂
Do you have to keep your arms up and dies the clay have to dry?
I do keep my arms up. I usually lay on the couch and watch TV while I’m waiting. The clay does dry up if you do it for 15-20 minutes but if you do it for less, it won’t be dry when you rinse it off.
Beth Everson says
I’ve started using a more natural deodorant couple weeks ago through the Lemongrass spa line and love it. But I am now just hearing about detoxing armpits. I don’t get stinky pits and was wondering if I would still need to detox and if so, how much since I’m not noticing any kind of stink?
If you’re not noticing your armpits are stinky you don’t really have to do it but if you’ve been using conventional deodorant for a long time I would do the detox for about a week.
Like Beth, I also don’t have smelly pits but I thought doing the detox and pulling all that crud out of my system would make me smell. So the people who are having issues with stinking already were stinking before the detox? The detox doesn’t cause the smell?
I think most people doing the detox are using a natural deodorant and have toxins coming out and it’s making them smell bad. Hence, why the detox helps because it speeds up the process.
Are you using a conventional deodorant right now?
I quit using conventional deodorant about 3 weeks ago and started using powder. Then last week I learned about the armpit detox so I’ve been doing that and I also bought some natural deodorant. Haven’t been stinky but very concerned about being obnoxiously, disgustingly smelly.
If you haven’t been stinky then I wouldn’t worry about it. I doubt you’ll all of a sudden get stinky.
Does it make a difference if I have calcium benzonite vs benzonite?
The main ingredient is bentonite clay. You could use another clay or even activated charcoal but I haven’t personally done the detox with any other clay.
So when I have the clay mixture under my arms should it dry or will it remain wet, or caking up? Is that normal?
It will start wet and eventually dry and cake up. It’s completely normal.
I started using native deodorant about three months ago, went through a super sweaty, stinky phase and had break outs then all was well. Then I had my baby. Now I smell TERRIBLE! I never did a detox but have been using natural deodorant consistently for that amount of time. You think maybe it’s hormonal changes??!? My babe is 7 weeks. Any ideas?
Congrats on your new baby!!
Unfortunately this happens to everyone that’s given birth and it’s the hormones adjusting back. It might be like this for a few weeks and maybe even a few months since each body is different. I would try another deodorant and see if it helps.
Did it 20 times over the course of a month and it didn’t make any difference. Still just as smelly and still can’t find a natural deodorant that works 🙁
I’m so sorry to hear that! Body chemistry is a tricky thing sometimes…it’s worked for everyone I know but maybe it could be something you’re eating? I’ve read before that changing your diet can help with the smell but haven’t looked much into it. Maybe you’ll find something helpful for you if you look into it.
Bentonite clay has trace amounts of lead which is known to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm.
Here’s more information as to why I am not concerned about this when it comes to bentonite clay: https://wellnessmama.com/59694/lead-in-bentonite-clay/
However, if you’re not comfortable with it, you don’t have to do this detox. 🙂
Hi! Does this mixture need to be mixed up each time or can I mix more and store it…?
You have to mix it up each time before you’re going to use it but it only takes 1 minute to make.
I purchased my bentonite clay from Bulk Apothecary as I make all of my own personal hygiene items. I’ve been making my own deodorant for over 2 years and I am finally doing a detox. I’ve done two treatments and my BO has gotten worse! Is that normal? Also, the ratio you suggest did not work for me so I added an extra tsp of ACV. Should I use water next time in addition to the 2 tsp of ACV?
Sometimes we have things that need to come out…so it’s normal to be a bit stinkier for the first few applications. If the mixture is too thick you can add a little bit of water.
Can you store the extra in a glass container for use again or do you recommend disposing of the extra each time?? Also, does the clay need to become first in the 20 minutes?
I would discard whatever you’re not using. If you’re following this recipe it should make just enough for one application.
You can leave it on your armpits as long as little as it’s comfortable for you.
How does it work, when you have hair in the armpits?
Any experience with that?
It works the same way. You can do it with hair in your armpits.
How does it work, when you have hair in the armpits?
Any experience with that?
It works the same!
I’m trying this with your instructions, 1 tablespoon clay and 2 teaspoons acv, but it’s not looking like your pictures. It’s very dry.
You can dry a tad of water until you get the right consistency.
Hey, I avoid using deodrants since I have excema in my underarms. I wash myself twice sometimes thrice a day, just so my underarms stay fresh. My question is that with regular use of this paste, will my underarms stop smelling completely? So that i would never have to use deodorant.
Thank you for giving this solution, hope it can help me out.
Hello, that really depends on your body chemistry and what you eat. This has stopped my armpits from smelling but every person is different. I would give it a shot and see what happens, you have nothing to lose.
Hey, I avoid using deodrants, since I have excema in my underarms. I was myself twice sometimes thrice a day just to keep them fresh, and its a hectic. By regularly using this paste will my underarms stop smelling completely? So that I never have to use deodrant.
Thank you so much for sharing this, hope it helps me out.
Hello Maira, sometimes the smell in our armpits has to do with our body chemistry and what we eat. This detox would help to detox your armpits from anything that’s lingering in there and it should help remove the bad odor.
Mariko Lawrence says
I am soooo thankful I found this! I switched to natural deodorant about a month ago. I developed a rash and it has been slowly going away and I was just about to ditch it and go back to the deodorant I was using before….today I did my first detox for 10 mins and had no problems. Can’t wait to do it again!
P.S. Do you think it’s safe to have my 12 year old switch and do this detox? She’s been using deodorant (the bad kind) since she was 9.
Yaaay! I’m so happy it’s working. Keep in mind that since natural deodorants don’t have antiperspirant ingredients (which are toxic) you might have to reapply once or twice.
As far as your daughter, I would just have her use a natural deodorant from now on. Kids bodies are amazing and I bet her own body would detox her armpits pretty fast.
Going to try this right now! Could i make a large batch ahead of time, or do I need to make it fresh each time I detox?
I always make a fresh one right before I use it since it takes like 1 minute. I have never tried to make a big batch – sorry!
David Bonello says
Neither diatomacious earth nor activated charcoal will do what bentonite clay can do. It simply “pulls” things out of your body. The famous naturopath, Dr Christopher used bentonite clay in his colon cleanse (along with activated charcoal) years ago. However, diatomacious earth can take the place of baking soda (in homemade deodorants) for people with sensitive skin. And this recipe would benefit from the addition of activated charcoal.
Love the site.
Hello! Can I do this while breastfeeding?
Hi! Anything you do breastfeeding should be run by your doctor first so I would ask.
That being said, I did this many times while breastfeeding my toddler. I would do it right after a nursing session since it would be several hours before she nursed again.
6/21/18- Do you think this recipe could work in the same way if we also apply it to the soles of our feet where our pores are larger? I’m thinking like why not try to pull out more toxins through our feet as well. What are your thoughts? Thank you!
Oh I have never thought of doing that but I think you’re onto something here. I’m going to research more about this!
Would this help for people with boils under their armpits? My daughter gets them and thought this could help.
I honestly don’t know since I haven’t researched about boils under armpits. Sorry!
I like the idea of detoxing, since I have been using antiperspirants for decades! I have noticed that my armpits have become stained also…will detoxing help with that? Here’s hoping!
I’m not sure but let us know how it goes for you!