Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Smelling like a *clean* human: Using Baking Soda as deodorant

A few months ago I was getting short on deodorant. I had to make a decision. I could go to the local grocery store and buy whatever they had in stock at the moment or I could wait until I had a chance to drive 2 hours to a store that carried my favorite deodorant and try to minimize body odor in the meantime. Since gasoline is fairly expensive right now, and I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands, I went with the second option. I did some reading online and found that their are many different recipes for natural  homemade deodorant, but they all contained ingredients that I couldn't buy locally. I searched some more and found that some people have reported success by using baking soda mixed with a few drops of essential oils. Baking soda is quite inexpensive, and I wouldn't be losing much if it didn't work well, so I gave it a try. I used Arm and Hammer because I already had it in the baking cupboard and I didn't use any essential oils in mine - just a small bowl of straight baking soda. I think it is interesting that many humans desire to smell like fruit, flowers or other things anyway. I understand that we don't want to smell like stinky humans, but what about clean humans? My daughter smells delightful and I only use unscented castile soap and unscented wipes with her, so that smell is all her own.

The most difficult thing about switching to baking soda is actually applying the baking soda. A stick of deodorant is just so easy and portable. I keep the baking soda in a little bowl near the bathroom sink. To apply it, I get a good pinch of baking soda in my fingers and rub it generously onto my armpits. This works particularly well after showering. I lean over the sink as I apply it, before I put a shirt or sweater on so that all of the excess falls directly into the sink and gets washed away. There have only been a few times when I have been all ready for work and then realized that I haven't used deodorant yet. At that point the idea of disrobing and applying is a bit of a drag but still do-able. I am currently looking for a powder brush or something for applying.

So, how well does it work, you say? I think it works better than the Toms of Maine apricot-scented deodorant that I had been using, which claims that it is effective for 24 hours. At the end of the day, I still smell like a clean human. It does deodorize. It doesn't mask a bad scent with a good one. It is important that I point out that I don't sweat a lot, even when I am running or swimming laps and I also usually don't smell all that bad even when I do sweat (unless I am wearing poly on a hiking/camping trip - that's the exception not the rule). One other benefit to using baking soda is that it doesn't ever burn or itch when applied to shaved pits. I haven't had any staining on my clothing and when I wear black tank tops I check the arm holes and have never noticed any white residue.

Baking soda is not an anti-perspirant, so you will still perspire. It does not contain cancer-causing aluminum or other harmful metals or chemicals. I am still looking for a good way to make it portable. Right now my bowl system isn't convenient to take to the pool or on an overnight trip, simply because a bowl is too bulky for my toiletries bag.

I have found that baking soda works best as a preventative measure, rather than applying it when I *notice* I need it.

1 comment:

  1. I use baking soda mixed with coconut oil (and a touch of tea tree oil sometimes) I keep it in an old baby food jar, makes it nicely portable that way :)
    Saw you blog linked on a friends page and have enjoyed checking it out! You don't live far from me if you live where I think you do too! Always nice to find fellow Maine cloth diapering mamas!