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Homemade Deodorant May 9, 2013

Over the last few months, I’ve been laboring to replace my store-bought toiletries with less expensive homemade varieties.  Yesterday, I ran out of deodorant, so today I found myself in the kitchen experimenting with making my own.  I recorded the entire experience for my YouTube audience, so it you’d like to watch the time-compressed version of my experiment… complete with head-scratching moments, click here.

Take a quick look online and you’ll notice that just about every recipe begins with powdered arrowroot.  Manihot esculenta or “Cassava” is native to the southern states of Texas, Florida, and Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii. While it is possible to collect your own, do so with care.  The raw root and tuber peelings are poisonous and can lead to difficulties breathing, dilation of pupils, spasms, coma, or even death if ingested.  I bought mine online, already ground and dried.

My recipe called for me to mix ¼ cup arrowroot powder with ¼ cup baking soda in a small dish.  Other recipes recommend adding up to 4 tbsp. of starch to the mix to help with absorption, but due to my lazy nature, I elected not to dig through my icebox and just stick to the basic recipe.

Once these two ingredients are well combined, it’s time to add 1/3 cup coconut oil to the mix.  I confess to having had some difficulty with this step, since it’s still rather cool here and the oil had not yet naturally reached its 76 degree melting point.  (Even if it had, I’m not sure that it would have been capable of absorbing the entirety of the powdered substance.)  I tried adding a few drops of tea tree oil (for its disinfectant properties) as well as about ¼ tsp. almond oil (for a more pleasing scent), but was still unable to successfully mix the ingredients.

The recipe suggested that more coconut oil might be necessary, so I doubled the ingredient, then popped the entire dish into the microwave for about 20 seconds.  This did the trick and it took only a few seconds longer to fully combine all of the ingredients.

I had saved the last two deodorant containers I had used and was able to return the platforms to the bottom, then pour my own mixture into the tubes.  I allowed it to set up for a little over and hour and ended up with a solid, freshly aromatic stick, very much like the ones that I usually purchase.

If you’d like to try this experiment for yourself, I recommend trying the following recipe (I’ve added links to the products that you’re least likely to find in your local grocery store):

¼ cup arrowroot powder

¼ cup baking soda

2/3 cup coconut oil (adjust quantity for your climate)

5-10 drops tea tree oil

¼ tsp. almond oil

  1. Mix the powdered ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Add oils (microwaving to soften, if needed) and combine.
  3. Pour mixture into old deodorant tubes or sealable Tupperware and allow to set.

Note that in warmer climates, this mixture may be a bit more liquid than you’re used to.  Don’t worry.  It will work the same way, you just need to massage it in rather than apply it with a stick.

Give it a try and, if you come up with suggestions for your fellow adventurers, feel free to share them here!

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