two lemons, one is cut

Q. When I was growing up, my mother suggested I apply lemon juice under my arms at least once a week while I was taking a shower to avoid using deodorant. So I did.

I rubbed my armpit with half of the lemon and left the juice on for about five minutes while I washed. Before I ended my shower, I applied soap and water to remove the lemon juice.

I have never used deodorant and have never needed it. I know that milk of magnesia is also good.

A. Thanks for an unusual suggestion. We caution others that lemon juice should not be applied to abraded skin or scratches, so do not put it on right after shaving armpits. It could sting like crazy!

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  1. Arum

    Also a word of warning, lemon and lime juice cause a burning reaction on the skin when exposed to sunlight, so it is not great for a beach holiday. I also think that the essential oil in the lemon and lime skin helps kill the bacteria that thrive on armpit sweat, especially in the folds of the skin. So, always stretch your arm up to apply the juice to all the little creases and folds in the armpit

  2. kate

    Can I combine baking soda and lemon?

  3. Laura
    SAN Diego

    I started using lemon and it works wonders! I apply it once a day in the morning. I will try to skip a day to see what happens.

  4. amira

    I used lemon under my arms & it totally controlled sweating and bad odour. I donot apply it for minutes then shower but I take a shower then apply it and leave it on my armpits overnight. Two days ago, one of my armpits started burning like fire. I treated it with a cream called Dectacort, is it enough or do I have to use moisturiser? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeas reply

    • Terry Graedon

      The first thing to do is stop applying the lemon juice. It sounds like you might be having a reaction.

      Daktacort contains miconazole, an antifungal that you probably don’t need, as well as hydrocortisone that can ease inflammation and is soothing. You’ll have to be the judge of whether this is working well enough, or whether you need a different cream.

  5. Alecia

    I have found that after applying full strength lemon juice I usually feel a burning sensation. I don’t want to dillute it for fear it won’t work as well. What has worked to calm my skin down is a light dusting of baby powder. This has really changed my life! The use of lemon that is. The powder is just my thing for a bit of comfort as well as a slight friction stopper too.

    • lina

      hi please do you apply the baby powder after shower, i mean does that replace your deodorant and if yes what brand do u use? thanks

  6. Sok Lumin

    Who can tell me? how I use lemon on armpit?
    Can I leave it overnight ?
    I have problems with stinking armpit?how long does it work if I use lemon ?

    • LaRenna

      I started using lemon on my arm pits. What I did was after I showered I would take a half of a lemon and rub it on my arm pits and just let it dry. I had no more order. But because lemon is acidic it can sting after a while. I suggest trying how the article says. Putting the lemon on your arm pit before you get in the shower for 5 min and then rinsing it off with soap and water once you get in the shower. I hope that helps

  7. Amanda

    Can you use lemon juice from a bottle at store or is actual lemon the way to go? I want to start today.

  8. Deb

    About a week ago I stopped using traditional deodorant and began using Minute Maid Premium 100% Pure Lemon Juice from concentrate (no preservatives or additives). It comes frozen in a 7.5 fl oz yellow plastic bottle that is packaged in a box. It last eight weeks thawed. After showering, and applying oil (organic olive oil) all over, I dampen two 100% cotton pads and rub my armpits. So far this is working great and I am not having an allergic reaction. There is no odor~and as another person noted, my tops remain fresh afterwards. This also seems to be a healthy alternative to using chemicals that may inflame lymph-nodes. If later on it becomes too strong to use daily, I’ll try applying before showering as some have done.

  9. Elida L.

    Does the lime works as much as the lemon work under neath your arm pits?

    • Ervin
      ferris tx

      I am a man and I have been using lemon juice for almost 1 year. I apply 3 or 4 drops of juice under each armpit each morning and let it dry. It works all day, my daughters use it as well as my wife. It’s not the oil, it’s the juice, it’s simple the acid kills germs. This is how our entire body fights germs as well. Our skin likes to be slightly acidic, unfortunately in our modern societies we shower so often we remove this natural barrier. I am not saying not to shower but applying some lemon juice all over your body is also a great idea. Obviously if you sweat a lot you may have to re-apply the juice. Once you try it you will never go back to any other way.

  10. RHIN

    Is it only once a week?

    • Abby

      I need to apply it at least every other day or else I start smelling.

  11. AHS

    I find the best natural deodorant is quite simple. Wash under your arms during the day. Once around lunchtime or middle of the afternoon. From what I understand it’s when it dries that sweat starts to smell bad….it takes about a minute to use a damp flannel and some soap…not always practical in some workplaces but most of the time where there’s a will there’s a way….

  12. Jamka

    If you developed rashes under your arms due to the use of lemon, the solution is to apply the lemon, wait for 20-30 minutes to dry. Then take bathe normally by rinsing water and soap once under arms. This is the way the lemon works for me. Have a fun!

  13. Danica

    Can I use the lemon for everyday use? cause at the and of the day, it starts to odor and I have to take a bath again. Please reply. Thanks.

  14. Bradley A.

    That doesn’t sound good at all man lol I wouldn’t give that advice out to the world. But if it works for you that’s awesome!

    • Arum

      For me, lemon juice keeps sweat smell away for max 24 hours. It only stings or burns when I have just shaved. I use a thin slice of fresh lemon every morning. Lemon juice from the bottle works almost as well. Limes or lime juice work the same.

  15. mda

    The darkening might have been from the coconut oil. Like olive oil, it could have clogged the pores, not a problem if used on most other parts of the body, but the underarms have their own type of sensitivity and are near lymph nodes. I am glad to hear you have been helped by lemon also. I am also wondering about the sun with using lemon. I’m a big fan of the sun in the summer. I’ll see what happens.
    Here is something else that’s exciting with lemon. I’ve had a persistent itch on one of my breasts, seeming to be not on the skin but slightly under. I have no idea what it was and never had it before. Couldn’t see any thing. Really annoying. I’ve had it for about a year and nothing I tried, such as skin products that are made for that type of thing, helped. Nothing that has helped other skin problems helped.
    One day, maybe about a week or so ago, I had the idea why not try lemon? One application, and the itch disappeared, but only for about a day. it then came back, though not as bad. I used it about ten more times, morning afternoon and night, and just today I felt complete relief. This is so so amazing.
    Now, I’m trying lemon on some other skin problems that are persistent over a long time. I am also thinking of trying it in my mouth for problems from bacteria. I am also thinking of maybe drinking a small amount diluted with distilled water. I drink exclusively distilled water and have done so for 25 years. I now apply the strained diluted lemon juice by just putting a small amount in the palm of my hand and splash it on, sometimes rubbing in very gently and for a very short time. Or I put a small amount in a tiny bowl and finger it on for smaller spots. After using it a short time, I realized that I should refrigerate any left over, probably can last that way a few days…

  16. Michi

    I am using lemon slices under my arms and it works awesome. I don’t stink neither do my clothes. I had previously tried making my own deodorant with coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch. That was working well but eventually my pits were starting to darken (an issue I never had before) so I stopped that. I also tried alum rock, but that doesn’t work at all. I am happy with the lemon wedges, because it’s natural. though I am a bit worried if my skin might be more sensitive to the sunlight.

    • RHIN

      Can I use lemon everyday?

  17. mda

    For all my life, I did not sweat or have odor in my armpits. However, when I came into menopause, sweating and odor emerged like a vengeance. Ugh. I didn’t want to use chemical type deodorants. I used alcohol which worked but I was concerned about getting dry skin issues.
    I used witch hazel, but it didn’t work. Then, I tried the liquid rock which worked great for years and then I got allergic to it. Then I tried solid rock which didn’t work before but worked recently for a while and then I got allergic to that, too. Nothing got rid of the itchy itchy painful rashes. I didn’t use any oil type product like olive oil which works for everything else, because I didn’t want to clog up the pores.
    Last month, totally frustrated and washing a few times a day and that not working rinsing a few times a day, and that not working, I demanded clarity from my universal being. What came to me in the next minutes was that some kind of bacteria was causing the problem. I wondered what type of natural substance would help to get rid of bacteria? I do not buy or use lemons, but that is the answer I got.
    I went out specially to buy a lemon. I have had a simultaneous problem with being sensitive to soaps, especially in sensitive areas. I did not use soap this time under my arms. I just rinsed and rinsed with water there. I had prepared a mixture of 1 part lemon to one part distilled water, straining the lemon with a fine stainless steel wire mesh.
    I applied this with a lint-free type of material, in this case a small piece of viva paper towel folded a few times. But if it continues to work, I’ll use a cotton piece of material, not cotton pads because they are too linty. Anyhow, I applied it liberally and then a second time and let it drip dry. I did not rinse it or wipe it off.
    Results of experiment: Applying it for a few days before bed and in the morning totally and totally worked. Then I tried it for three days without showering. It worked. Then I showered and didn’t apply it at all, and it still worked. It’s been about a month now. I cannot tell you how happy I am. The rash which I’ve had for about a year is gone, no itching or hurting. My clothes don’t stink even if I wear the same thing for a few days. I’m still experimenting.
    Good luck to everyone and keep up the natural approach to life. I so believe most cures are with food and other natural things. I’m sorry this comment is so long. It’s just that this issue has been epic for me for so long.

  18. Maha

    Hi I developed blotchy red-purple rash after using lime as a deodorant. It looks scary and burns when I wash and put lime on it. I am trying to use honey to help it heal faster and haven’t put any lime for a day. Let me know what I could do to help it faster.

  19. Micah

    Just water it down, you don’t need full strength lemon juice. Every morning after a shower I mix a cap full or two of lemon juice with a quarter cup of water and apply anywhere I don’t want to stink (including, ahem, down there). Wipe it on and let it dry. You’ll be amazed!

  20. CeCe

    Mix the lemon juice w/ a dab of any of the natural oils: pure olive oil, vitamin e oil, or even coconut oil.

  21. jam

    I used lemon and it really works wonder… but I developed rashes on my armpit, do you have any suggestion on how can I continue using lemon with rashes?

    • David

      I also have developed a rash under both arms since using fresh lemons under my arms as a deodorant.

      • gagirl

        This happens to me too from time to time. I use lime juice and I find that when I use it too frequently or after shaving I get a rash/burn. You don’t have to use it daily. Every other day or every third day works just fine. In fact, I have to stretch it to see just how long I can go. The other thing I noticed is that the full strength juice (from concentrate) is too strong for me so I just dilute it with a little water.

  22. Joe H

    I found the milk of magnesia article about two months ago on your site and it works great. I had some of the mint flavor here at home and put a little in a squeeze bottle to try it. Now I use it every day. I just put a small amount on my fingers and rub it on my arm pits. I usually take my shower in the morning and now when I wake up I can go without a shower if I want to without any odor. It works great.
    thanks for the tip.

  23. jacki

    I use lavilin underarm deodorant which I think is probably mostly zinc oxide. You only have to use it x1 week & leave it on overnight. I originally bought it in Israel but it is sold here too.

  24. Ellen

    Thanks for an all-natural remedy. No matter how carefully I wash, no matter what product I use, I still have some odor at the end of every day. All the ‘extra strength’ deodorants I can find are to stop wetness. But I have no problem with wetness…just odor. And I am not thrilled about applying all those chemicals to my skin every day. I will definitely try this.

  25. William F.

    I am allergic to every deodorant I have tried – I get a rash within a day or two. I found that applying a small dab of hand sanitizer works great for 24 hrs and it does not cause a rash.

  26. Gas...

    We us baking soda after showering. Works for us.

  27. dp

    Some times women have arm pit odor that is worse at different times of the month, or if they get very apprehensive. Whether this chemical output by the body causes an overgrowth of the normal flora or not, I haven’t a clue, but I do know that applying Listerine with a cotton-ball will destroy it better than deodorant.
    I haven’t used non-organic deodorant since learning of the dangers of aluminum absorption 25 years ago. I find that for daily use alcohol in the summer and witch hazel in the winter works wonderfully except for those weird “smelly” times when only Listerine works for me.

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