The People's Perspective on Medicine

Milk of Magnesia is Old Cuban Rx for Body Odor

MoM milk of magnesia magnesium

Q. My family has used milk of magnesia as a deodorant for 60 years since Cuba.  That is what everyone used, even before the revolution. My family still uses it today in the United States, since it’s better than any deodorant.

This is old news for us!

A. We first heard about using milk of magnesia (MoM) back in 2006 from a reader of our newspaper column. She was traveling in Brazil and had run out of antiperspirant. A Brazilian suggested applying milk of magnesia to her armpits as a stopgap. She was thrilled with the results and commented that MoM “is the best underarm deosorant!”

At the time we were astonished, but thought we would give it a try ourselves. To our amazement, it worked. The only trouble is that it is messy! We tried pouring milk of magnesia into our palm and sloshing it on our underarms. Yuck. We tried soaking cotton balls with MoM and dabbing it on. Still messy and drippy.

Finally, we decided to enlist a natural product chemist who might be able assist us in creating a roll-on MoM deodorant without the muss or fuss. We also asked him to eliminate the bleach (sodium hypochlorite) preservative that is found in over-the-counter milk of magnesia liquid laxatives. We never have understood why the FDA permits bleach in something people swallow. And we definitely did not want bleach, even in small concentrations, in an underarm product.

If you would like more detailed information about various products and ingredients in MoM, here is a link.

We are thrilled to learn that this remedy goes back at least 60 years. It can be hot and humid in Cuba and people there no doubt needed to come up with practical solutions. That’s also true in Brazil. We are glad that we have been able to make this approach more accessible.

5/6/19 redirected to:

Rate this article
4.8- 6 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Aluminum-Free MoM (Milk of Magnesia) Roll-on Deodorant

We have heard from many readers that MoM (milk of magnesia) makes a terrific deodorant that does not irritate the skin. Our unscented aluminum free roll-on is effective, gentle, and contains no aluminum whatsoever.

Aluminum-Free MoM (Milk of Magnesia) Roll-on Deodorant
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 5 comments
Add your comment

I have used milk of magnesia for about 18 years with great results.
The way I use it is diluting it with water at 50% then pouring 2 to 3 ml in to the bottle cup to apply it under my arm. Works great. No messy at all.
It was recommended by my Dermatologist in 1995.
We are thrilled to learn that a dermatologist recommended milk of magnesia (MoM) so long ago. People in hot, humid climates have apparently known about the milk of magnesia deodorant approach for a very long time.
Your trick to dilute milk of magnesia is interesting. We cannot imagine how sloshing this on your underarms wouldn’t be a bit messy, though.
That is why we developed The People’s Pharmacy Roll-On MoM. Anyone who would like to give it a go can click on this link:

Spray the odorous areas, both sides of the fabric, with white vinegar and let sit 30 minutes before washing. Odor gone! Don’t know if this will work on odors that are set in (already washed).

I have been using Milk of Magnesia for several years as a deodorant, after first spraying my armpits with alcohol. It works well, but I still end up smelling after a while. But, I figured out the problem is really with clothing. The smell is stuck in the fibers and even after using a detergent with bleach, mixed with OxyClean, mixed with Win Sport detergent, my clothes still smell.
I’ve tried many sport detergents, and none seem to be able to get the smell out completely. If I wear a brand new top, I have no problem, but of course, this isn’t a long term solution! Anyone know of a detergent that really works?

Was skeptical..ordered the M.O.M roll on….it works!!!!..that is until you sweat and you can smell the shower coming. No more rashes or skin irritation.
Heard last week you people were trying to get it into WalMart..any progress ?? Also…no aluminum …noticed they dropped it also in denture adhesives.

I was going to order the “official” Peoples Pharmacy form of the MOM deod, but then I came across a little travel-size bottle of MOM. I discovered all ya have to do is stick the index finger in, withdraw it coated with MOM, then apply to armpits. Neat, sweet & fast. Maybe you have to rinse your finger afterward, or wipe it with a tissue but that’s easy. I never use MOM for any other purpose, so it’s no problem sticking that finger in.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^