FTM Friday: Finally, a “homemade” deodorant that works…(and you won’t freaking believe it)

by Janelle Hanchett

Welcome to yet another FTM Friday post on Saturday, after a 5-week hiatus. Yay!ftm

Anyway, as you may know, back in January I set out on my chemical-free body care quest. Most of it has gone well. Two areas of have not gone well: Hair and armpits.

Not my hair in my armpits. I deal with that little problem just fine using a few small blades.

The hair on my head is problem #1. I tried substituting baking soda and apple cider vinegar for shampoo/conditioner and it was a disaster for 2 months. I’ll revisit that attempt when I’ve got a little more time.

Disaster number 2 was deodorant. I’ve tried so many goddamn deodorant recipes. I mean a lot, people. At least ten. My results  fell into two categories:

  1. Deodorant did not work and I smelled like a dirty ass hippie after a Phish show.
  2. Deodorant worked beautifully but gave me a horrendous rash.

I’ve tried clay, baking soda, arrowroot powder. I’ve tried probiotics. I’ve tried shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe gel and ever combination of the above. I’ve tried every fathomable combination of essential oils. People have told me I should become a vegan and I won’t need deodorant. Yeah, sorry. Not that committed.

Everything I made, EVERYTHING, fell into one of the two categories.deodorant

Until now.

Two weeks ago, my dear friend Theresa posted something on Facebook that changed my life. Well, as far as armpits go. Not only does it work (read: I am not stank ass), it is cheap, VERY CHEAP, and about as natural as it comes.

Honestly, it almost pisses me off, it’s so simple. I really wanted to discover the perfect deodorant recipe and feel all badass telling you about it, but alas, one more Janelle failure for the books.

You know what works better than anything I’ve ever used?


Yes, that’s right. LEMON.

Not lemon plus arrowroot powder and shea butter and whatever the hell, just lemon. As in, cut a slice of lemon and rub it on your pits and move on.

Not only do I not stink all day, I don’t stink in the morning when I wake up.

I don’t have any rash ever.

And I know I’m not hurting my body.

I can’t believe it, still. No joke, this works better than ANY deodorant I’ve ever used in my life, even the chemical-ridden ones.

Never going back, people.

And every morning, when I rub lemon on my armpits (yes, it stings a little if you it after shaving), I think to myself “You are a total fucking hippie, Janelle, but at least you don’t smell like one.”

And then somehow I feel better.



149 Comments | Posted in body care recipes, FTM Friday | July 6, 2013
  • Shelly G

    Mind. Blown. O_o

    • lydia

      It works! I can’t believe it. After spending so much money on natural deodorants that DIDN’T work. Even my mom is using lemon now! Thank you

      • wolf max

        um, it seems, you’d spend a lot more on lemons… you’d have to be rich!

    • yelitza

      My friend, who often smells very pungent due to his using natural deodorant which doesn’t not work, no longer smells. At least in the armpit where he is nursing a poison oak rash with lemon. So we just Discovered this trick my accident. May the world be free and fresh smelling!

  • Heather

    No. Way. Totally trying this (and I have a recipe that works pretty well already!).

    • Nayeli

      Can you share your recipe? Lemon works for me but irritated my Daughter skin

  • Elizabeth

    Wait-what? Like, you rub a lemon wedge on your armpits? Does Realemon work (I am not trying to be a jerk! Real question!)? Just the juice or does the oil in the peel do something? Huh, how easy. I have tried so much ridiculous hippie-stankin’ crap over the years it isn’t even funny, but I have never tried lemon. Thanks for this. BTW, I love your blog.

    • renegademama

      Yes, exactly. Each day, I just cut a small wedge off the same lemon and rub it on my pits. It’s hardcore hippie shit. The top gets dried out but I just use the wet underside. I believe you need the juice from the lemon so I wouldn’t recommend using the peel only. The juice apparently kills the bacteria (which is what causes stank ass). So I sweat, but it doesn’t smell. Crazy.

      • Rigel

        Question. Could I put lemon juice in a spray bottle and spritz my pits? Would that have the same effect and be cheaper?

        • Elly

          Try it and you’ll find out. I’ll try it too because it sounds like a good idea 🙂 Maybe you can use pure lemon juice.

          • Nina

            Yes, the spray bottle works! I squeeze the juice of one large lemon in a small bottle and it like a spray deopdarant! I do 3ish squirts and I’m good to go!

      • Paulette

        It worked for a day for me…..I need help!!! I’ve also tried everything and thought this would solve all of my problems!

    • Mandy

      I use lemon as well. Except I use juice out of the plastic lemon shaped bottle. And I don’t stink.
      (I know this to be true because I ask people to smell my pits after I tell them I use lemon as deodorant. Classy, I know!)

    • R.J.

      It works! After many failures I simply started squeezing lemon juice. Placed in squeeze bottle with tip applicator. Keep in the fridge. Works for 24 hours and beyond. It will sting a little if applied right after shaving. I have been experimenting for the past few weeks. Picked up an organic lemon and lime while on vacation and kept it going. Also greatly helps with hyperpigmentation. I scrub every evening in shower with my charcoal / black soap. Definitely smoother underarms. Within two to three months I am expecting to be comfortable with going sleeveless. I am experimenting with lime juice this week to compare. If it works I may mix the two. I have ordered eco aluminum spray bottles for travel convenience. I read somewhere that mixing with organic grain alcohol negates the need for refrigeration when traveling. I’ll try that in a few weeks.

      • SJ

        Hi RJ – 2 questions:
        Where did you get the squeeze bottle with tip applicator?
        What brand charcoal/black soap?

  • Diana

    Question!!!! Does this work on stank ass hippies with epic amounts of pit hair? Because I am allll over this shit if it does.

    • renegademama

      Favorite comment EVER. Love this shit. And I don’t know, cause I shave, which means YOU will need to try it and then email me at janellemac@gmail.com (or comment again) to let me know. DO IT FOR HUMANITY, Diana. Do it.

      • Diana


      • Diana

        Challenge accepted and completed! I will have you know that lemons DO work on hairy ass hippies! I showered yesterday, generously applied some lemon while dodging some fairly incredulous looks from the husband and aired out my pits in front of the fan (what, I don’t like damp after shower pit hair. It’s a problem with the unshaven). The lemon left tiny flecks of lemony goodness behind but only a few and they disappeared after a few minutes. Way more manageable than your standard issue deodorant residue. I have since walked the dogs approx. 5 times, folded 11,0000 loads of laundry, had a roll in the hay with the husband, slept and vacuumed AND I STILL DON’T SMELL. Starting to get a little damp but not smelly in the slightest! And after the workout I gave my lemon pits in the past 18 hours or so, I’d have expected to stink at least a little bit. Take that Secret clear dry whatever, I’m allll about the lemons now.

        • Breezy

          This. Is. Awesome.

        • Lily

          Diana I freaking LOVE you!! You made me giggle because I get those looks from my husband when I do something EXTRA “crunchy” LOL I could totally picture the scene! I will have to try this, if it worked for you it should work for me! (I shave only in the summer, otherwise meh lol)

        • ester

          AW FUCK YEA

        • heidi jo

          this is a really wonderful comment thread… i mean… how better to end my work day? 🙂 you chics are awesome.

          after irritation from natural deodorant # 2 (OUCH!), i had to switch back to natural deodorant #1… after our morning staff meeting turned into a game of 9-square (OMG… SO FUN!) i went back to the office STANKY! 😀 i had a roller ball of coconut oil, peppermint, lavender, & some-other-oil in my drawer for headaches and I though it’d be my best bet at recovery and getting through the rest of the day. well, i came home, had a burst of energy, and mowed the grass. by the time i finished my pits were BURNING and chaffed – red and AWFUL! i used straight coconut oil to sooth them – as well as a cool cloth and fan blowing on them. then i sat right down to search the net for some better option.

          and i found lemons. just lemons. read that before but didn’t stick with JUST lemons. maybe it’s time? i’m tired of chaffing and being irritated under my arms… and stankin. don’t want that either. might be time to take your advice. if hairy hippie girl says it works! well! i’m guessing she knows! 😀

      • Avelina

        YES!!! Lemon really DOES work! I’ve been using it for 4 years now(saw a friend using it) and the BEST part, it gives you 24 hours or longer protection. And my mom taught me(since grade school .. now I’m 46)that whenever I touched something and no matter how many times I washed my hands with soap and still can’t get rid that smell(esp. fish)..mommy dearest advised to rub my hands with “kalamansi”(famous in the Philippines… a small version of lime)… here in America I used lemon. Also, I used lemon in everything to get rid a bad smell in the refrigerator, disposal, boil a lemon while cooking fish, rub it to your feet, etc.

        • Robin

          So I also wonder now if lime will work…

          • Robin

            Never mind. I just read further down that it does work. Cool!

    • natasha

      oh itworks with the pit hair. when I first started using it my pits were hairy and I was not stanky


        So my girlfriend who is always trying everything and then getting me to do the same told me about lemons Friday I’ve been using them ever since and I love it period but that’s not why I’m commenting I was wondering if lemons are effective on smelly feet because I would love to rub my teenage son down with some I read above that you said something about rubbing them on your feet is that for others as well?

  • Luella

    I need the update on if this works on hairy pits ASAP. kay thanks.

  • Lori

    I tried lime and was amazed as well. It does work. The only caution here is that it can discolor your skin if exposed to the sun so keep that in mind because I’ve seen some pictures and it’s pretty noticeable and apparently lasts a while.

    But I’m with you, it works better than any deodorant I’ve ever used.

  • adrenac

    Ok,u must have read my mind when u wrote this!
    So yesterday I bought some all natural deodorant bullshit b/c
    I too am trying to go chem free with the body stuff…I put it on
    this afternoon,cooked,cleaned,and,well,lets just say that I need to get my money bk!! Lol
    Im willing to try the lemon and report back 🙂

  • Sara

    And to think… I’ve been growing deodorant outside my bedroom window this whole time! Sweet!

  • radhi

    whaaaat the fuck?!?!?! i’m so confused + intrigued by the simplicity of this. i know there’s a dying lemon somewhere in the back of my fridge. my pits to the rescue! thanks for posting!

  • Finch

    I’ll get it out of the way: everything is a chemical, even what is happening in the lemon. Eye rolls, moving along,

    I have wild success with various essential oils with the addition of one thing: a swab of rubbing alcohol first. 70% Isopropyl alcohol.

    It’s popular for such a wide range of medical applications *because* of it’s low residue toxicity. And the 70% solution is best because it more effectively dessicates bacteria.

    Also I found that most of my t-shirts from before this switch are permanently funky in the pits, no matter how hard I’ve tried to scrub the antiperspirant out.

    • Skeptical

      I used a lemon after my husband told me. Also I have been using secret outlast since I was like 10 and the lemon shocked me it actually works better. I’m very sad cause 20 years of using secret seems to have created two huge lumps under both armpits but I feel if I’m good to them and keep up the lemon or natural route I will shrink the lumps. Heard to hoping love lemon 4 plus days so far but my skin is so sensitive if I’ve shaved I break out in welts so might need something else. I’m also severely allergic to my own laundry soap so am looking for bast natural in that also.

  • Andrea

    “A fucking lemon.” *with picture of said lemon* – and I burst out laughing out loud!! You crack me up!! Just wanted to say I Love your style of writing, and sense of humor (perspective on life, really) and I really enjoy reading your posts! 🙂 (also, I do enjoy your comment policy. lol)

  • Kezz

    I have also tried various natural/eco/fairy fart deodorants and nothing worked, I read this post this morning and immediately applied the very sad specimen of a lemon we had cowering at the back of the fridge. I have to say, it’s now the evening of the hottest day of the year so far here, and still no stink. I think I love you.

    • Lily

      fairy fart *snicker*snort*

  • Sarz

    My favorite thing about your latest hippie find is Georgia grabbing a lemon of the kitchen counter and announcing, “mama does this!” while rubbing a lemon under her arms. I love that little girl.

  • Toni

    Lemon sounds fantastic. The salt crystal has been known to let me down, though I will admit, since becoming vegan, both feet and pits are almost completely stink free. For hair, I wash with just a plain bar of vegetable soap scented with essential oils and I tame my crazy curls with sesame oil so I don’t need the usual combination of conditioner.

  • sara

    Do you reuse the same slice, or is it a fresh slice every time?

    • Guy

      I cut a lemon in slices, then the slices in half and use a fresh half every morning after shower.

      BONUS POINTS: I now always have fresh half-slices of lemon in the fridge, allowing for more fresh lemon in the meals without having to cut a lemon then watch it rot for 2 weeks.


  • Breezy


    Although, I think a lemon being so anti-climactic actually made it sort of, well, climactic.

  • Shelly G

    OK I tried it. Honestly, I didn’t really think it was going to work because I have tried every deodorant out there and I still have stinky pits. Well, guess what. My mind is REALLY blown because that damn lemon WORKED like a boss. Last night I kept sticking my nose in my pits to double check because I just couldn’t believe it. I felt like a weirdo standing in the kitchen rubbing a lemon slice on my pits this morning, but I’m an unstinky pit weirdo! Thanks for the tip!

  • Guy

    So I read this, and I’m like – you gotta be shitting me. So I tried it and now have been applying lemon for 2 weeks and am totally odorless. I’ve even skipped some days wtf? With chemical deodorant I couldn’t skip a day. I now chop a lemon in slices, cut the slices in half, leave this in a jar in the fridge, apply in the morning and feel like a total renegade.

    Oh and I’m a guy.

    Totally fuck the man.

  • Raeann

    I’ve been using natural deodorant that a friend makes, she’s no longer making it and I will definitely try this! Sweat I can handle, as I have been with deodorant, stinking I can not!


    SO Im veeery sad and need to know if anyone else had the same reaction. I read this post and instantly tried the lemon deodarant and was AMAZED!! Totally hooked, I didnt have any funk. If wearing a sweater I may feel a little damp but still no smell at all!! I almost threw all stick stuff away until I forgot my lemon that morning used stick deodarant, and reverted back to my lemon the very next day. Well after that day I got a horrible irritation on my pits. I havent been able to use the lemon for days becuase it hurts and I dont want to irritate any further. Has this happened to anyone else?
    On this occasion instead of cutting of a piece and rubbing it I took half of the lemon and just rubbed. Do you think it could be the peel??

    • Jgirl

      @Nicole, have you tried simply squeezing the lemon juice and using that? I haven’t scraped my pits with the lemon, just rubbed it with the lemon juice using my fingers and it works well.

      @Renegademama, awesome blog 🙂

    • datchikcj

      I know I’m extremely late on this but I had the same reaction and was concerned that I had ruined my armpits for life. I had been doing the Lemon juice thing (the little Lemon shaped bottles with already squeezed juice) for 2 weeks and it was working better than deodorants but I missed the perfume scent so I added baby powder after the juice one day. The next day the Lemon juice burned like hell! But after a couple of days the burning subsided so I learned a valuable lesson of just using the lemon juice and nothing else.

  • Halfwaycrunchymama

    Ok, love this… And I have also been trying to save some money this way for the past few months, which has been awesome… Plus I’m not going to lie, but I do feel pretty smug sometimes about making my own products 🙂 but then I feed my kids Kraft Dinner, complete with radioactive cheese powder and get cut back down a few notches…

  • ag

    This article would have been great had you not been cussing like a sailor. Be more polite and considerate of others.

    • Pea Green

      This is her house. She can cuss if she likes. I read the swear words as gleeful and she totally cracked me up. I would say this lady is being VERY considerate of others by simply gracing us with the benefit of her serendipitous discovery. Now . . . off to the fridge to attack the lemons I just bought (yippee) as I also made my own deodorant :-)and now have a rash 🙁 A couple of the other posts here have fruity language, but they cracked me up too. Peace, love and light ^_^

      • Jdub

        I vote for the swearing.

        • Jdub

          Oh, and yeah, lemons work like a charm!

    • Wendy

      You obviously didn’t read the comment policy – it said ‘try not to be a dick – you failed’ her house – her rules – don’t read if you don’t like it!

  • Tee

    Hey. Re: Shampoo and conditioner.

    Tried egg whites for shampoo and mayonnaise for conditioner?

    I hear they work well. In general, that is. Never really tried that sort of thing myself, but thought you might find the tid-bit useful.



  • Lisa in NZ

    You might like this woman. She is trying to live like a Nana. Or rather, like her Nana used to!!!! Here’s her website: http://www.wendylsgreengoddess.co.nz

    She’s very entertaining – used to be a bitchy women’s magazine editor and has done a complete 180.

    Your blog is awesome!

  • Joanna

    Normally i’m very iffy on these kinds of things. Like you, I tried a whole hell of a lot of natural and semi-natural deodorants and hated them all. I was convinced that only the super chemical stuff works.. but.. I gave it a try anyways.

    IT FREGGIN WORKED! Worked better than the chemical stuff!!!! How is this not more popular???

  • Cannabisni

    I started to use lemons for deodorant as well, they work brilliantly. I’ll never be using the likes of Lynx again.

  • Chellie

    Ok so I Texas girl here meaning generally conservative
    But my kids (20,16,16) and hubbs have accused me of
    Turning into a Hippie….. Not even! However, after surviving
    Breast Cancer at 37 I started switching to natural products
    On my skin, etc. I too have beasted every damn thing but
    Shampoo Zander so far chicken out on the Deodorant….
    So saw this posted on Pinterest and checked if out …. From
    Midway through the first stank ass I was cracking up! Will try it
    Wish ya’ll lived in H-Town as we could be great friends !

  • Amber

    You are freakin hilarious!!
    You type how I talk!
    Ok, …..you add on a few more F bombs here & there ; )
    How refreshing to find someone who’s down to earth on one of these mum sites.
    Some of them can be a bit wanky!

    BTW; I am trying the lemon!!!

  • Amanda

    Love it…so glad i found your blog before i made more diy deodorant…i tried with coconut oil and EO’s…stank after a couple days…anyhow…i was wondering if you tried the hair wash/rinse again…if you did any tricks? i’ve been using it for several weeks, but seems a bit dry…any ideas? thanks…kickass blog btw

  • Danielle

    One of those not working items looks suspiciously like a Reese’s. A king-sized Reese’s.Did you put a Reese’s in your armpit?

    I fucking love lemons.

    And Reese’s. Maybe not together though.

    Ps- For your hair, Apple Valley Naturals makes some amazing shampoo. It’s stil home made. Just… not at your home.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been using the lemon slices and lemon juice in the little lemon shaped bottle (doesn’t work as well as the fresh lemon for me) and I was actually just looking to find some other people who use this method also (I don’t mind being the only one I know to use this method, I was just a little concerned about the acidity of the lemon on skin, but so far I’m reading it’s not really much of an issue).

    Anyway, I wanted to suggest my choice of shampoo….I use liquid castille soap (I like the scent of Dr. Bronner’s mild baby soap the best) mixed with coconut milk. I’ve actually been using it head to toe and I love it. I haven’t been able to get the pores on my face this small without chemicals (used to use Proactive for acne, I actually still have some but choose not to use it). I just use equal parts, I find it’s most economical that way and I’m kind of a cheap-o 🙂

    • Isa

      Actually, You might be pleased to hear that the reason lemons work is BECAUSE our armpits are very acidic. Our body is mostly alkaline (on the outside) and the two most acidic places are our scalp and our armpits (high acidity kills bacteria). We tend to use alkaline soaps to remove our deodorant in the shower and because of the fact that our armpits are acidic (to kill bacteria) it dulls the bacteria killing power and we end up making our armpits more stinky. By using lemon/lime as a deodorant we are keeping the acidic balance up to par thus helping our pits do their job while staying fresh. NO MORE STANK ASS! haha

  • Alicia

    I use Lavilin, it’s been really great for me. I think everyone reacts differently to different brands or home-made recipes, but if you have sensitive armpits – Lavilin is worth a shot!

    • Kady

      I started using lavanila about a week and a half ago and LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, yesterday when I woke up I had large, bright red circles right where I had put on the deodorant. I really don’t want to stop using it because it was amazing at odor AND wet was protection but obviously I can’t keep using something that clearly didn’t value our relationship as dearly as I did and, totally unprovoked, just completely blindsided me with this rash business…..this was my first attempt with natural deodorant so part of me is pissy and never wants to try anything ever again…but then there’s another side of me that doesn’t wanna stink so…open to suggestions! Definitely going to try the lemon!

  • Ali

    I’m happy to hear that this lemon thing is legit! I’ve been rolling my eyes at it for a while but am so down for trying something that won’t make my pits rashy. Just a friendly warning, citrus juices on skin cause fricking awful sunburn when exposed to the sunlight. So no armpit tanning 🙂

  • Mia

    I have been trying lemons for months and it really works. I just collect the lemon juice in previously used deodorant tube and use it whenever I need. Saves my time from cutting the slices everyday. Hope this is helpful 🙂

  • Madison

    Would it work with a lime????? We dont usually keep lemons in the house but we ALWAYS have limes…

  • Monique

    Thank you!

    After trying a few homemade products, most of them included the ingredient coconut oil, I’ve found that a simple and inexpensive lemon does the trick. Looking forward to seeing how this works in the summertime.

  • Leslie

    I’m too lazy to make my own, lol!! But my new years resolution is to try new things, so will give this recipe a shot. Currently using Lavilin, but will compare to this recipe and see which works best for me 🙂

  • Stas

    Heard this once, started researching, found this site, started using lemon, and it freaking worked.

  • Hadarah BatYah

    I bought lemon essential oil the other day because i wanted to use it with water as a spritz in my hair for moisture and shine. And as i spritzed my hair with it i was like Hmmmmmm i wonder what this would do to my armpits 🙂 So i just tried it! Then i googled about using lemon for deodorant and found your article! AWESOMENESS! I’m sooo happy that i’m not the only one 😀 LOLOL! I’ve been using just plain baking soda and water for almost a year now and it works great, but the application is a pain in the butt. This lemon essential oil in my little spray bottle will be so easy every day 🙂 THANK YOU for validating the craziness!! LOL i guess i’m a hippie too.

  • Ana

    I’ve come to the same discovery recently, only I use squeezed lemon juice. And I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but it seems to me I sweat less with lemon too. As for stink, there is absolutely NONE (this from a person who had huge BO issues and tried every conceivable non-natural and natural deo without success). What they’ve told you about going vegan is absolute bullshit, by the way, I tried that (not because of BO) and still stank. When I first discovered lemon I was so excited that I decided to do a little science experiment and see how far I could go without washing and not stink. I made my poor husband sniff my armpits everyday for independent confirmation that I indeed did not stink. Tried to make our son do the same but he resolutely refused to come within three feet of my armpits. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. Anyways, I managed to go four (!) days without washing and only on the fourth day did I start smelling a bit funky, but it didn’t come even close what I’d get within 30 minutes of my shower if I used nothing. So I’m a firm lemon believer from now on. I’m so glad to have read this post and the comments because whenever I tell someone I use lemon for deodorant they look at me like I should be committed. So glad to know I’m not the only lemon freak around!

  • Joelle

    I have used limes. Works too.

  • Alison

    So glad I found this, I started to think I was the only unintentional hippy out there. After starting at the gym I started to smell terribly sweaty. No matter how many times I showered and reapplied deodorant it did not work, by day two I was scrubbing with salt. But surprisingly it did not work. In desperation I went to kitchen to reluctantly grab apple cider vinager (now that really stinks) as I was reaching for it I spotten a lemon, and decided hell is worth a shot, I really did not want to smell like lady vinager. I rubbed a life under my arm and left for a few hours, hell it’s a miracle cure!!!! Not only was it not gross, but, I did not smell sweaty after a hot african night. It’s day 4 & I am a secret lemon slice user.

  • JMJ

    Hi – using lemon as a deodorant for a couple of months now and it’s great but….. my armpits are now burned so had to stop. A friend has had the same happen. Am looking for a recipe for deodorant with lemon now! Anyone????

  • Sweet and Crunchy

    I love this blog. Not that I’m one to judge, since my last blog post was, like, five months ago, but please keep blogging! I’m a total skeptic when it comes to “alternative” deodorants, since I’m seriously smelly, but I’ll try anything once (as long as I don’t have to leave the house during the experiment!)

  • Miranda

    Definitely trying this, thinking I should avoid it if I have razorburn…ouch! This could be amazing, I am so freaking excited. I’m going to buy one of those roller-ball applicators and pour in the lemon if (NO, I mean when!) it works for me. AWESOME

  • Beth A Grognet

    Trying this, and please what is wrong with being a hippie? Just a label, they believe in love peace and saving the earth. See nothing wrong with these concepts. Thanks Janelle!

  • Beth A Grognet

    Do you know of a simple dishwasher soap?

    • renegademama

      Beth, I have yet to find a dishwasher soap that works. They all just leave ridiculous marks, AND they clump up no matter what I do…major pain in the ass…I’ll keep looking though.

      • Beth A Grognet

        Thanks Janelle. Congrats for new babe.

    • Nicole

      I use a variation on the same laundry detergent that Janelle uses for my dishwasher. Borax, Washing Soda, citric acid (I cheat and use several packets of lemon kool-aid) and kosher salt (for scrubbing power). It worked for me (though my husband complained that the glasses got cloudy eventually, so I’d have to switch in a regular detergent once in a while.) I think the key is in your water – some water is softer, harder, or more chlorine-y than others, so that’s going to affect your results.

  • Silje

    Would it be possible to squeeze fresh lemon juice and mix it with coconut oil? Do you think it will work as well?

    • Chris

      Maybe lemon juice mixed with fractionated coconut oil.

  • New ton

    Question , when do you apply it????after bath or before that???

    • renegademama

      after. I take a shower, dry off, go into the kitchen, cut a small slice and use that. done.

  • Steve

    My partner told me that his Mexican mother advised him to use lemon this way a long time ago. Now he’s gloating because I said I’d disprove her by looking it up on the internet. Hooray for Mexican mothers!

    • Rachel R

      My husband is from Mexico and he turned me on to using a lime in my pits. He doesn’t use it because he loves to stink to high heaven with those men deodorants he uses but his mom uses limes. I’m a dairy farmer who’s had BO problems ever since puberty and this works wonderfully for me.

  • Cressida

    Lemon oil (essential oil) works too btw, so if you get tired of buying fresh lemons just dab some of that on your pits. That’s how I discovered this miracle today! Searched for back up on web and here I am – fragrant as ever! Happy lemoning 😀

    • Karen

      I tried my lemon essential oil after reading this also, and it worked for me too! I’m amazed, because I’ve tried everything and why has no one suggested something so simple?

  • Jam

    Wow! This is the good news:lemon. Honestly lemon worked 4me. But i wil give guideline on how to use lemon 4 the best result.
    1.rub the lemon juice on ur armpits and 4 minimum of 20minutes and max of 30.
    2. Take bath and rinse the lemon juice with water and soap once. Then dry ur self and wear ur clothes that is all u wil nt stink 4 more than 24

  • Bing

    simple yet helpful! you are so funny! love your blog!

  • Sara

    I recently learned about using lemon as a deodorant and had to try it. Its been three days of working in a non-airconditioned machine shop and then gardening till dark and there hasnt been a hint of stankness! It really is amazing. The recipe I was given is simple and works like a charm, even easier than dealing with fresh pieces of lemon, imho. Fill a 2 oz spray bottle ($0.97 at Walmart in the Travel size body care products aisle) with lemon juice (fresh or bottled), then add 4-5 drops each of lemon essential oil and tea tree oil. Spray the pits in the am (or whenever you like to apply your deodorant) and allow them to dry before donning a shirt. That’s it and within 3 days, I have been odorless and less damp than normal. Give it a try!

  • Camille

    When I first saw the post I was like I’m on vacation and I’m not around anyone to “offend them” so I have got to try this. And, to my delight it worked!!! I thought it would take 5-7 days for my body to adjust. Nope! From day one it worked. Thanks for the post Janelle!!

  • Lisa

    I tried this, and it really irritated my skin.
    I got a rash and it kept burning for 15 minutes+ so I wiped it all off. 🙁
    I’m especially sensitive though. I get rashes from jewelry and certain fabrics too.
    I think I’ll try this again after using a better shaving razor.

  • lydia

    It works! I can’t believe it. After spending so much money on natural deodorants that DIDN’T work. Even my mom is using lemon now! I suggest rubbing coconut oil before the lemon for days you shave or if you have sensitive skin. Thank you

  • Lara

    I’ve been using lemon juice for about a year now, and I can totally say there’s no better deodorant than this one! But you must be careful on using it, specially if you have sensitive skin: if you’re going out in the sun, you must use some protection over the area you applied the lemon, or you may get burnt… My mom still have some marks near her armpits for not using proper protection…

  • Tifany

    Here my experience w lemons.
    The 2 first days were wonderful, I didn’t smell at all. I even tried a little experiment.I used my nivea invisible deodorant under one arm, and a lemon under the other. Guess what? by the end of the day, the lemon armpit was free of smell but the other armpit…. x_x. It was working wonderfully BUT, after a week using only lemons i got a fkn rash.So, nope. No more lemons for my armpits. Now i’m doing something else. I soak a cotton with water,1 splash of apple cider vinegar, apply it in my armpits, let it dry and roll a deodorant i got in a vegan store, very natural made of essential oils. It’s been a week and rashes are gone and i’m not smelly 🙂 the reason why I use apple vinegar b4 the deodorant is coz the deodorant by itself didn’t work.

  • Jessie D.

    If it is still relevant, I came up with a modified baking soda/vinegar hair regimen that’s really simple and doesn’t leave that weird feeling in your hair. To the baking soda solution of 1 T to 1 cup of water, add a soap nut or two. You can get a box at whole foods (that can be used as a laundry soap–and works great). Put it in a mustard type bottle with the conical tip to apply to the hair roots and then massage with fingers (my local target happened to carry these clear condiment type bottles). Leave it in for several minutes and then wash out. Use 2x a week (I use about 1/4 cup). I’ve decreased the baking soda amount to 1 teaspoon and it works well and I don’t get the buildup and don’t need to follow up with vinegar. If you use 1 Tablespoon of baking soda, then it might be necessary to remove the build up with about a 1:4 dilution of white distilled vinegar every once in awhile. It really works great for me, my hair has never been softer, and is pretty easy to stick with. You should give it a try if you haven’t found something that works for you!

  • Laura (So Ca)

    You’re so funny. It’s 1:00AM and I had to hold my hand over my mouth, I was laughing out loud. You’re real, like I am.

    I have been using lemon for a while now (pre-your blog), but it’s winter, so I am looking forward to my summer test/experience.

    I treadmill every morning and it still works well post treadmill all day. I love it!

  • JN

    A friend from Honduras told me about using lemon as a deodorant 20+ years ago. I think she was trying to give me a hint, lol. I sweat a lot and have tried (what seems like) thousands of natural and unnatural deodorants. Well, the lemon DID NOT work for me then. Now that I’m post menopausal, I am willing to try it again – – although the hot flashes have me sweating MORE than ever, so I’m very skeptical.

    By the way, I have also tried using a fresh lime, letting it set for 20 minutes and then washing it off with soap and water, as someone advised. That also did not work.

    However, I am inspired by this thread to give the lemon another chance and to also try organic lemon essential oil. Right now, I’m using a totally natural deodorant that has lemon essential oil in it. It works but I end up smelling like lemon Pledge for the first few hours – – I hate that.

    I am happy I found this blog, since I consider myself to be very crunchy granola. I will report back after trying the fresh lemon and also the essential oil.

  • Tina

    OK I hate that I have to be that person, lookin like spam, commenting a year and a half after the OP.

    But I feel I must, because you changed my life.

    Thought I had to choose between being hopelessly stinky or forced to use antiperspirants. Intense anxiety & agoraphobia problem leaves me sweating buckets in almost any situation outside of the home.

    From time to time I’d try a new hippie deodorant. Quickly learned to expect disappointment, and got it every time.

    Then I found this entry after seeing a video on Buzzfeed. Lemons? Really? How can they possibly work? It’ll just be more of the same, decent smelling for an hour or two and then stink ahoy.

    This morning I dabbed the pits with Santa Cruz organic lemon juice out of the bottle, and then went running errands. And I sweated. A lot.

    My shirts are predictably sweat soaked, but THERE IS NO STINK. No. Stink. Hallelujah! Lemons FTmuthafuckin W! I can’t thank you enough.

    • Linda

      I have agoraphobia and extreme anxiety which causes me to sweat then stink. Needless to say my life is very difficult.I hope this works.

  • Nancy

    The lemon works! I have used slices of lemons for a week now, even before working out at the gym, and no smell!
    Sooo cool!

  • April

    Dude. You are awesome.

  • Reem

    Hi there, absolutely LOVED your article! xD FRIGGIN HILARIOUS!… So I did try using lemon as a deodorant, it worked at the first 3 days. I even left my air conditioner off on purpose so that I’d sweat to see if I would stink or not. But today, I woke up sort of late, so I did not have time to shower. So I just washed my armpits with soup and water at the sink, waited for them to dry, then applied lemon (by rubbing the wedges on my armpits). I live in a hot and humid country, so by the time I reached home I was full of sweat. I did not have any odor. Just as long as you don’t smell my pits up close. I smelled it up close, and noticed it had a weird smell. So I dunno if anyone could tell me what I did wrong. I know one is not supposed to have any sort of smell. If I did do something wrong, would appreciate your advice.

    • Gew

      That was the natural smell of sweat. The lemon juice kills the bacteria that causes the gross body smells but you still excrete sweat, which has a smell depending on your diet, most commonly in healthy people it’s slightly salty.

  • dee

    it does work, I am from cuba and we lack a lot of stuff there, so we used lemon. I have tried different deodorants and at the end always end up back to my lemon

  • Alisha

    OK, this is awesome BBBBUUUUTTTTT I live in a extremely backwoods rural area on the Va Wv state line and let me tell you…..we gotta travel with a cooler and ice to buy ice cream and after all that way to town we gotta Walmart,food city dollar tree and they finally even took fucking sears away from us and out of our mall but I bought the yl starter kit cus I have really bad adult cystic acne after my 3rd child and wanted to go as chemical toxin free as possible but when I seen how it helped my hubby and sons asthma allergies and my baby who had pneumonia 5 times in his 2 years is now almost 4 and had only 2 small 4 day long colds and mild ear infection, the 500 dollar a month allergy and asthma meds for my oldest son has only been refilled twice in this year and a half and my old left to rot mobile home we are SLOWLY seeing as how we are new to remodeling work ourselves getting to our high standards and built into an actual house even after a few days of no mopping or spraying air freshener still smells fresh like I just cleaned sine essential oils came into my life. Anyhow I decided after using only teactree for about 4 months to invest in one of the pricey kits,I have since learned the good from bad and the pocket mongrels from co who care in their movement, but I wanted to detox my body and that involves deodorant as a huge part in detoxification of the body but couldn’t find the clays arrow roit and magnesium mess and my hubby cards me to buy online unless putting money on a prepaid card cus we went through I’d theft to and traveling 45 minutes one way just for that is a no but I always forget about it by getting there. Solo I fig I heard all the sensitivities and burnings, couldn’t get the stuff, tea tree and lwemon and baking soda is a huge part of any ingredients so I just missed together a ratio until I was happy of lemon juice, lemon oil, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, tea tree and the 1st time yl purification until I liked the smell, the feel and the job it done. Now I use all the above except I use a blend called “happy” from an awesome awesome co called Fabulous Frannie’s & I sometimes will just use lavender and vanilla & lemon essential oils, well always with tea tree, but I have notvonce broken out,burned, nor smelled. Except once I didn’t put enough baking soda but that was a quick fix, I mean natural is healthier and better and should be cheaper, maybe things are better with the extra stuff that is not readily available but I deem it unnessacary, even the alcohol honestly to me is unnessacary. I also use the same container of leave in “hot” oil treatment with coconut oil,lavender,tea tree, vanilla oil as my lotion, every e3 days I use it as a leave on after wash acne treatment , in use it for sunburn,poison oak and chapped lips …itvis also Great for those with aging dry skin as face body moisturizer and it does wonders for mine and my sons puffy dark under eye allergy “shiners” … I have always loved my full of peroxide and sylicic acid treatments, my sudsy soaps and detergents and my chemical air fresheners and pine sols,,especially the blea h, I had like ocd toa bleach smelling homne, I would pour it in my doorways and windows even if in did not clean just to smell it but now after such a short time and in all ways essential oils have benefitted my family in soooo many ways I will never ever go back!!!!

  • Elly

    Question: does this work against the smell or against the wetness too? Because my sweat doesn’t really smell as far as I’m concerned, it’s the wet stains that are embarrassing. Will a lemon help? Thanx.

  • Martina

    You should try washing your hair with egg yolk. I know it sounds crazy but the nutrients is all there because the baby chick is formed in that part of the egg so it’s really good for you. My mom recommended it and after letting her be the guinea pig and trying it myself after it worked for her it’s all I use. It cleans any greasy scalp really well and makes your hair look shiny, fluffy, and gives it a nicer color overall as if the sun was shining on it all day. Try it out or look into it first, you won’t regret it and your hair won’t even smell like egg. I thought I smelled it at first but I was just paranoid because everyone told me they would have never known. I still use regular conditioner but not a lot.

  • janelle

    lol i love this post. totally sounds like something i would write. and you have the same name. add a “dude” in there somewhere and that would totally be me.

    • Jessica

      There is! Look at the waaaay bottom of the page.

      BTW, gonna try this trick myself. I don’t get really sweaty armpits but sometimes a little funky smelling, so this should work.

  • Rusty

    I tried this, but even after waiting a few hours after shaving, it stings like a %^+=#! Anyone else have this issue? At the moment I’m trying a homemade mix of coconut oil, arrow powder and lemon essential oil. I melted the coconut oil, then added an equal amount of arrow powder and about 20 drops of the lemon eo, and I’m storing it in a glass bottle. Seems to be working okay. I wish the lemon juice didn’t sting so much, though 🙁

  • Yolanda

    I use lemon essential oil added to evian spring water (I noticed that other brands tend to start smelling weird within 24 hrs after opening). I also like to add a few drops of ylang ylang. The oils are convenient and I use them in my other natural mixes.

    I have seriously sensitive skin thanks to eczema. So many things (nut oils, most preservatives, etc.) trigger flare ups that I find it easier to just make my own face/hair/body serums.

    I also make a conditioner with mayo, honey and olive oil.

  • amber

    I use limes…how thoughtless of me to never consider using lemons. My neighbor just let me pick a huge bagful from his tree. I’ve been having a field day making lemon marinades, salad dressings, curd, house cleaner…and now deoderant! Thank you. And your lack of pc-ness is positively refreshing. Tart & juicy, just like a lemon! Love it…

  • Lori

    I tried this for a while, and was never completely satisfied. Maybe it’s because I live in a hot and humid climate, and just need more than a lemon? But I was so excited to try this(especially since we have a lemon tree…)
    But here’s what happens…
    I take a lemon and slice it into a few slices and keep in a container in the fridge, and grab a fresh slice with each use.
    At first use, I sorta let my pits dry as much as possible because it’s kinda sticky.
    When it first dries it smells great and works great, but it just goes down hill from there. Whenever I sweat it gets sticky, and actually starts to smell kinda funky. Like, if you ever used to go tanning back in the day, and your skin smelled weird after tanning. That’s what it smells like.
    Now hear me out, I tried this consistently for almost 2 months, then gave up.

    I’m super sad and really want this lemon thing to work…any ideas??

  • Kristin

    I tried the lemon in a bottle but they do add ingredients unless I’m reading wrong! So straight up lemon it is! I do really well and don’t even really sweat but that’s the problem… When I sweat it burns my skin and I have like a major rash in my pits! Oddly I’d prefer this rash to wearing a shirt and worrying if I stink all day! So I take a few days off when this happens and then back to lemon! My kids are super sick and tired of me asking them to smell me! I just still can’t believe it works!

  • Sheila

    Will be trying this immediately….makes total sense because of the alkaline nature of lemons killing the acidic effect of stinking sweat…I.e. That horrible bad onion smell!!!!!

  • Hanna

    Love your blog. And the way you write! But.. I guess I’m the only one that lemon didn’t work. I stank SO bad – embarrassingly bad in the office. Back to my homemade deodorant which I love. But lemon would’ve been easier. Sigh.

    • Kris

      I noticed if you use lemon juice or any lemon packet anything that is not an actual lemon it does smell bad. Different. I tried EVERYTHING! I now use lemons. I can go two days w no smell as of before it was not hours!

  • Jane

    Thank you for your post! I’m not sure if it’s too late, but I’ve been wondering about lemon-as-a-deodorant’s effect on clothes, as I wear mostly dark-colored shirts. Since I haven’t seen anyone mention it, is it safe to assume that the lemon won’t lighten the underarm of your shirts? Thanks!

  • Ben

    I tried lemon as a natural deodorant for a week and was disappointed with the results. After a bit of rigorous activity I found that the lemon juice did not combat BO to my satisfaction. It also left my armpits feeling “sticky” (FYI, I’m a guy and have armpit hair). I do have good news for you if you had similar results as me: vinegar! I tried spraying my pits with (super cheap) plain white vinegar, and although I smell like a salad until the vinegar dissipates (takes a little over an hr), I have no BO no matter how much I sweat that day. It also seems to help me sweat less (but not substantially). I found that I can also spray my pits with a cologne after the vinegar, and there is no more pesky vinegar smell.

  • Lori

    Just finished making some homemade deoderant. Afterwards started searching for that one ingredient I know I was missing, when I came across this post.
    Luv it! I hope my new batch works, but surely going to try lemon and lime juice.
    Thanks so much for the post..and please keep cussing. It’s very refreshing to see a “home maker” post with a little umph to it.

  • Abi

    Mental. I live in a tropical country and cycle to work. Tried it with local limes. Not a whiff all day. I am gobsmacked.

  • Olivia

    My armpits really stink i use everything i can think of. Where i work i sweat heavily.ANd ppl rhink i dont bathe i can tell by the way they look im trying lemon before i work tonight will it work? And i wont have to be embarrassed.

  • Ec Rumbaoa

    I used lemon it really works but it irritates my skin….. help me :'(

    • Cat

      It’s just a trait of lemon, the pH is way too low and the acidity is way to high to be good for your skin, especially if your skin is sensitive or if you shave your underarms.

  • Cat

    Lemon juice isn’t really that great for skin though, or for those prone to hyperpigmentation. It can be damaging in the long term like alcohol and witch hazel. From paulaschoice.com:

    “The truth is that lemon juice is highly acidic, with a very low pH that’s exceedingly irritating to skin. Lemon juice has a pH of 2, and comparing an ingredient with that pH to just one number up (that being pH 3) is like the difference between a minor tremor in the ground and a catastrophic earthquake.

    Lemon juice applied to skin can cause what’s known as a phytophotodermatitis (PPD) upon exposure to sunlight. Results from this can range from a red rash to brown discolorations, which is ironic given that many people turn to lemon juice to lighten brown spots (Source: Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, December 2005, pages 318-321). This is due to a volatile fragrance chemical known as limonene, which is abundant in lemon juice.”

  • Very irritated

    Can you use lemons and deodorant together for bo?

  • Linda

    I spray my underarms with plain white vinegar. While still damp I use a powderpuff and dust my armpits with cornstarch mixed with baking soda. I have been using this for a long time. I have no odor, no rash, and am very pleased with the results. There is no stickiness and no vinegar smell at all. The baking soda seems to cancel out the vinegar smell. The vinegar kills the bacteria in the armpits. The bacteria is what creates the odor. It is very simple and ultra cheap. This leaves no stains and no spotting on my clothing.

  • Tracy

    This thread is freaking AMAZING! Loved reading it AND your blog. I too have had issues with the same areas in my chemical free journey. For the last 3 days, I’ve been trying a 50/50 vinegar water solution and it DOES NOT work! Currently, have vinegar scented bo stank! Like a bo salad ???? So, I’m trying this today!I’m excitedly waiting to see if you ever crack the shampoo/conditioner thing. I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week and co-cleanse in between. I’m happy with that for now…

  • Brett Herron

    You should butt-chug some baby powder and rose oil to augment your alkalinity afterwards.

  • Ngebiy

    Idk where you people live, but Lemon is FREAKING EXPENSIVE here in my city. Much much muuuchhh more expensive than over the counter deodorant.
    Luckily, LIME is 100 times cheaper than the efing lemon (it’s literally 100 times cheaper wtf).
    I gonna give LIME a try, and see if it work (please God let it work)

    Oh and thank’s for the blog! You give hope to my miserable armpit. I couldn’t thank you enough.

  • Sue

    I’m not a parent, but I am a frustrated chem free crunchy lady who’s tried everything diy and ‘best’ of the natural world out there, who also just happens to have a coconut oil sensitivity, in a world that fuckin loves to use coconut oil in EVERYTHING. I thank google search for randomly landing me on your blog, as in all these years had never come across or thought of lemons as a possible solution, as well as finding many other fun and helpful articles you have generously taken the time to write. In a world full of chemicals (i might as well be an alien living here, since i either have severe allergies or sensitivities to almost everything chemical), this blog is much appreciated! I will be trying the lemon juice pronto!!

  • 12345

    Just tried it, and WOW! I’ve been experimenting with hippie deodorant for a while, and none of it worked worth a damn. I even had the mortifying “you stink” conversation once with a friend of mine. Not fun. I’m breastfeeding, so I kinda want to keep chemical crap out of my milk, but I hated the idea of being a stinky hippie. Every so often, I’d use standard deodorant and then feel guilty.

    A simple slice of lemon kept me unstinky for 24 hours. And presumably my baby is getting lemon-flavored milk now, rather than aluminum and phthalate flavored milk.

  • TJ

    Try CARINA ORGANICS shampoo,

    So i read your post, hilarious, so why torture yourself with baking soda and acv in your hair. Look up this shampoo, best shampoo i ever used in my life. Trust me.

  • Arum

    same here, brightened up my day … a fucking lemon can do miracles !!!

  • Candi

    First day of trying this. Feeling sticky, but, not stinky.

    • Candi

      A little on the pits all day and all night kept me body odor free. I just can’t handle the stickiness that you don’t have with regular deodorant. Any suggestions?

      • Teresa

        Candi…A “micro-dap of coconut oil”…should help.
        Let me know what you think should also help with the stink 😉

  • Teresa

    A Damm Lemon?…
    Are you pulling my Tit’s? (I mean pits)?
    O’k… Will see? I buy some lemons now!

  • Caza

    Yes lemons are the way
    I use lemon juice (real lemon) not from the bottle that has preservatives in, then I melt coconut oil add 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda then mix till becomes a nice smooth solid consistency you may need to add more oil until it combines as the lemon can over power the oil. Then keep in a fridge I have bought a mini fridge to keep in the bedroom. Using it this way helps too moisturise Ur pits too.
    I’m gonna to test if I can freeze it so I can make bigger batches to last longer.
    For mouthwash I use 4 cinnamon sticks and handful cloves soaked over night in water drain and put it in an old mouthwash bottle it works great. I then dry out then reuse it till it’s not strong say 3 times.
    Check out Harold leffell on Instagram

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