woman sniffing her smelly armpit and checking for stinky body odor

Q. I am looking for a deodorant that is just a deodorant, not an antiperspirant as well. I can’t seem to find one. Your recommendation?

A. Some readers recommend baking soda. One suggested, “Take a wet washcloth and dip it in baking soda, then apply under your arms. It does not stop you from sweating, but it stops you from smelling.” Others prefer milk of magnesia as an underarm deodorant.
There is a growing controversy about the safety of ingredients in most antiperspirants. To read about the latest research and find links to the original data click here.
Should you wish to learn more about MoM (milk of magnesia) as a deodorant you can read some of the comments below or check out these stories.

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  1. Ms.M

    I’ve been trying to prevent my underarm sweating .. But still, I can’t find a cure for it .. Please Help Me .. The people around me start bullying me because of this problem .. And I can’t go to school because of this .. I really appreciate your advice.

  2. RRP

    yes. just apply a 50/50 mixture to it.

  3. Guy

    About 10 years ago I began to get a rash and itchy armpits from deodorants. Even ones recommended for sensitive skin. Then I started using Thai Crystal which worked or about 7 years then the rash returned. I tried Tom’s which worked for about a year then the rash reappeared. I was going without but I was worried about my odor & if others noticed it when doing athletics. Today, with no deodorant and having showered I noticed an odor while working in the studio. On a whim I tried baking soda which I keep in the studio to neutralize acids I use. I washed the armpits and rubbed baking soda in them. So far no odor. That’s when I went online and found this forum & discovered I’m to the only one with this problem. Time will tell if this solution works. By the way I have recently switched to a mostly plant based diet. I wonder if this has changed my body chemistry. I’m 66 and until I was 50 I was one of the lucky ones that just didn’t have body odor.

  4. may

    How do you use the baking soda?

  5. dan

    HAND SANITIZER! I apply it after drying my underarms after bathing, and then re-apply every few hours – more often if I’m sweating heavily. Works like a charm, plus almost everywhere I go these days they’re providing it for free!

  6. Lalala

    i used baking soda about a week ago. and the body odor went away. But when i looked my underarm it has a discoloration and painful. I think burn skin. How can i resolve this. Help. Pleaseeee. :((((

  7. April

    I used baking soda under my arms for about 3 months and it worked well, except that my underarms started to look stained or bruised. Reading the above comment…eek, could it be a fungus?

  8. L.W.

    mmmmmmmmm, if your eating meat try and stop!? I did and the b.o. went away! I still smell like regular sweat, but the stinky b.o. that makes ya gag is gone! People weren’t made to wear stuff under their arms, those pores need to release sweat and breath! Go all natural!!

  9. sb

    it really works!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Kg

    I have tried lemon and baking soda and it worked for a while. Then I started to sweat and my armpits would get raw and hurt. I have tried the whole antiperspirant deodorant before bed thing and nothing seems to work. I live in Tampa Florida where it’s humid and hot and feel so embarrassed half the time and cant wear certain things because of this problem ugh!.. HELP! any suggestions anyone?

  11. H.M.

    People should be informed that talcum powder was linked to cancer,I read that women who use it near their genitals can get uterine cancer :( many people use talc for their babies they should stop.

  12. Kat

    Hi! I don’t normally reply to sites like these, but I feel compelled to mention that lime juice will actually stain your skin when it comes into contact with the sun. This chemical reaction is called phytophotodermatitis, and will create splotchy, dark stains on your skin that look like a rash–so please do not use lime juice under your arms if you are at the beach or in the sun! The hyperpigmentation lasts from weeks to months, so it can really ruin a formal event like a wedding if you are wearing a sleeveless dress. Most citrus fruits similar to limes kill odor causing bacteria, so perhaps lemon juice is the better choice–although this will bleach your underarm hair if it is in the sun!

  13. NT

    I believe what you are looking for is called “Lavalin” (or possibly, it could be spelled, “Lavilin”-I cannot remember). You can find it at the healthfood store. They have it for feet and for underarms. I used it for years and it was very effective. I only stopped because I no longer had body odor. Hope this helps you!

  14. CHRIS

    Glad I landed here. Tried some ‘alum’ products but took too long to dry. Then, too dry. Surprised no one mentioned the removal of lymph nodes. Due to breast cancer, 13 nodes were taken out. antip.s block the release of fluid and large pockets fluid can build up on arm. Then Dr has to drain. I would think with all the breast cancer around, someone would’ve developed something pleasant and convenient to use. there’s money to be made! Don’t know if it’s healthy but I’ve been making due with my good old Avon talc. no aluminum and relatively few chemicals. Imari,

  15. Maybe

    I used to sweat A LOT but was concerned about the aluminum in regular antiperspirants.
    A friend said to try rubbing alcohol and it has worked for the past month so far. I think it dries out the skin where it’s applied so you sweat less. But it also kills the bacteria that make you stink in the first place.
    I have to say I have been drier than I was with conventional antiperspirants, other than one or two times that I got really hot or really nervous. My solution for that is to carry individually wrapped alcohol swabs that you can find at any pharmacy. Just dry off with a paper towel, then swab.

  16. lehna

    I have used Lavilin and I do not smell like a dead mouse. Basically you put it on once at night and then reapply about every 3-4 days. The salt crystal works very well too. I find that if you put anything oily or creamy under your arms eventually you will smell more because this causes bacteria to grow. The salt sprays work very well. Lemon may work but will eventually stain your clothes because lemon works like a bleach.

  17. panicdog

    That stone like thing you rub under your armpit is “alum,” that used to be a popular deodorant of the old people in the Philippines.

  18. Lori

    This comment is for “D”. He mentioned he had heard of a creme u apply and keeps u odor free for days. Well is it “Lavilin” or is it “Kieh’s deodorant creme”? Do any of those ring a bell? I tried Lavilin and it made me smell like a dead mouse. I haven’t tried Kiehl’s deodorant creme, but it’s been around since the 1800’s so I will try that one next. Let me know if u found the name of that cream deodorant u saw on a tv advertisement. Thanks!

  19. LL

    Hi, I read you post on people’s pharmacy it looks like I have the same problem as you. I was wondering if you ever found something because I have tried every deodorant possible.

  20. Marty

    Old school – Old spice will not make you itch but you will smell like your Grandpa. I have always used it until a gf complained about the scent so I tried others and the itching came back. She is gone now so I guess I’ll go back to the old spice. It used to be in the round container but now it is in a red one and never makes me itch.

  21. Sharon

    I stopped using antiperspirants about a month ago, and have tried all of the aluminum-free ones from Whole Foods (Tom’s, etc.) and the Arm and Hammer Essentials. None of them work for me. I am a female who sweats like a man and can’t stand smelling! I don’t know what to do, but don’t want to risk going back to antiperspirants…although I am wondering if the risk if worth it. Any ideas????

  22. cm

    Can I use white vinegar for body odor? How should I use it?

  23. SJ

    Conventional antiperspirants are irritating, and I have used Oil of Olay Age Defying Lotion as a deodorant for many years. It works extremely well, smells wonderful, is not irritating. Only the Age Defying type works.

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