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A Weird Deodorant Trick

elaine-making-faces

Picture this: You’re at work, or hanging out with friends, when you suddenly smell something. And with a flash of panic, you realize… IT’S YOU. Everyone has gone through this, am I right? That horrifying moment when you realize you forgot to wear deodorant.

Well, I just learned a crazy trick: Hand sanitizer will save the day. The alcohol kills the bacteria and neutralizes the smell. Good to know in a pinch, right? Have you ever tried it?

P.S. Caroline experiments with five natural deodorants.

  1. Bethaney says...

    I work in a hospital, in the newborn nursery so we have an endless supply of hand sanitizer and baby wipes. This works like a charm!

  2. mic says...

    I totally did this today after my lunch break walk. It was much warmer outside than I anticipated! It worked especially well because I had some Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer in my desk—it’s a spray, and it smells like lavender!

  3. a tad bit of lime/lemon juice, not always available but in case it is .. :)

  4. I just did this the other day before reading this!!!! It works like a charm.

  5. Eugenia says...

    I know two guys from MIT who experimented and decided to use lime juice and vodka for deodorant. They are both working scientists and still swear by it.

    • Karli says...

      Just sounds like a waste of Vodka though… ;)

  6. Katrina says...

    I know this sounds weird, and quite hippie dippy…I stopped using deodorant several months ago, because I couldn’t stop having an allergic reaction, even to the all natural stuff. Strangely, once I stopped wearing it all together (the first two weeks were stinky), I stopped sweating nearly as much and do not smell.

  7. Missy says...

    Great tip! Curious why you swapped the photo for this post? Don’t get me wrong, Elaine is my alter-ego, I’m just interested from an editorial perspective!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good q! well, we liked the shot of goldie hawn, but then when we put up the emily henderson post, their photos looked quite similar (portrait of a blonde, even their heads were kind of positioned in the same way), so we swapped it out!

  8. Emily Henderson says...

    Best natural deodorant is Pit Paste. No need to apply but once and it lasts all day long. In fact, it can last almost 2 days. Seriously good stuff!

  9. Emily says...

    Haha! I had to do this the other day as well. And yes, it works like a charm, so long as you get the natural kind with alcohol in it. (Not all hand sanitizers contain alcohol and those without alcohol aren’t effective at killing germs or substituting for deodorant, FYI.) It’s kind of like when you use a thin brown paper napkin (or clean toilet seat cover – gasp!) to blot your nose when it’s shiny. MacGyver beauty at it’s best! ;D

  10. this.is.amazing.

  11. Kb says...

    It’s so funny to see this. Just the other day I had one of those pitty moments at the beach and used hand sanitizer from the bathroom. I figured it was my best shot. It worked!

  12. Janienne says...

    My friend was at a really important interview and was in a pinch and put TOOTHPASTE under her pits. She said it worked and she smelled minty-fresh! Needless to say I bought her a mini deodorant as a Christmas gift.

  13. Jamie says...

    I LITERALLY DO THIS ALL THE TIME!!!! Hand sanitizer saves the day.

  14. yael steren says...

    That’s so interesting! I never knew that! On the topic of deodorant, if you ever get a deodorant stain on your shirt, the best way to get it off is by rubbing the fabric against itself. Works much better than trying to get it off with a paper towel!! xoxo yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      GOOD tip! thank you!

  15. Danielle says...

    I used to carry hand sanitizer in my bag all the time but never thought of this trick. Today I am buying it again! Thanks for the trick!

    http://www.spring2spring.com

  16. Janette Z says...

    Works on teenage boys stinky feet too! ;-)

  17. Jen says...

    I DID THIS AT WORK TODAY.
    Second day at a new job…. Killin it (obviously)!

  18. jeannie says...

    Awesome tip!

  19. Megan says...

    I had to fire someone, and broke out into the stinkiest sweat before the person arrived. I excused myself and went to the bathroom in a panic – both because I had to fire someone and because I was really stinky. I found some hand sanitizer near the sink and tried it out of desperation. It worked! What a gift that was!

  20. This is such a good trick to know! I always have hand sanitizer with me, but I don’t always have spare deodorant!
    xx
    Allie
    allaboutaph.blogspot.com

  21. I do this all the time and it totally works! Also, in those embarrassing moments when you realize that clogs + hot summer days + lots of walking = stinky feet, your antibacterial hand sanitizer will save you.

  22. Wow this trick is genius. Definitely trying this the next time I forget to wear deodorant lol!

    Felice Raina { The Kiss Of Hoy }

  23. wry says...

    There is a lot of evidence that hand sanitizer kill good bacteria and increases absorption of certain chemicals. I’m not trying to fear monger, but I would think twice before using it under the arms or hands with frequency. There are plenty of quick and effective natural alternatives.

  24. Aga says...

    Baking soda + coconut oil is the best deodorant. Lala Soap deodorant is made of primarily these two ingredients but I mix my own. It even works like a charm on my dad who works in renovation all day.

  25. katie says...

    Ha! Totally did this in desperation a few days ago. Since its been so hot, I have to keep my natural deoderant in the fridge (it’s coconut oil based…) which means… I am constantly forgetting to put it on :( so, on the way to exercise I realized my mistake and slathered on that Honest Co. sanitizer thinking its better than nothing. Worked great!

  26. WOW news to me! Thanks!

  27. CC says...

    I’ve totally done the hand sanitizer trick before or alcohol wipes (benefit of working in a hospital). But be careful, alcohol can hurt some clothing. Just an FYI.

  28. Stephanie says...

    Witch hazel is also a god send! On hot days and outings, I keep cotton rounds in a ziploc in my purse that I’ve moistened with witch hazel. If I notice I’m starting to stink up, I just pull out a witch hazel “wipe.”

  29. Kate says...

    Didn’t Abbey Nova mention in her Beauty Uniform that this is one of the things she uses individually-packaged alcohol pads for? That stuck with me for some reason haha

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! you can use those, too.

  30. Carrie says...

    i have totally done this. Works like a charm! I’ve also used lavender lotion and had good results!

  31. Demet says...

    If you apply just a pinch of carbonate after the shower then even when you sweat you will not smell.

  32. Julie says...

    Keep peppermint essential oil with you. It kills bacteria and smells a lot better than hand sanitizer!!!

  33. Ashley says...

    I do this all the time. My office is like a thousand degrees and I am still pumping which makes me sweat. I keep a small thing of hand sanitizer in my office to freshen up. T

  34. A lot of my sleeveless shirts and dresses come pretty close to my armpit and end up with that white powder around the sleeve. Or if I have a regular sleeve on and sweat, I end up with weird deodorant circles on the fabric. I know that this is slightly off topic but can anyone recommend a deodorant that doesn’t damage your clothes?

    • Sarah Z says...

      I would love to know a solution to this problem too!

    • cindy mindy says...

      Try using Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant.

    • Caitlyn says...

      Don’t know how to keep it from happening, but I learned a cool trick for making them go away – run a pair of pantyhose over the mark and it comes right off – the rough texture of the pantyhose acts like a kind of soft sandpaper and just lifts it off (instead of grinding it in). It really works wonders!

    • beks says...

      I hate residue on my clothes and have found that the clear Mitchum for men works great (and they have an unscented version :))

  35. I’ve never heard of this, I’ll definitely have to try it sometime! Thanks for sharing :)

  36. Jen says...

    i’ve never had to wear deodorant. no one in my family does either. maybe it’s an asian thing?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so jealous! my dad also never has to wear anything. i think some people just don’t smell.

    • Brett Jackson says...

      Hey Jen- Me either! Never, ever once have used it ever and never will! Luckily I don’t sweat or smell. #thankful

    • It is an Asian thing! It’s due to less hair and fewer sweat glands in the armpits as well as other factors that my brain isn’t science-y enough to know. Get on a bus during rush hour in a big Asian city, and you’ll be surprised by the lack of b.o. Not so long ago, deodorant wasn’t even sold in Korea. I had to get it on the black market — $20 for Secret!

    • vero says...

      amazing.
      random: i recently noticed that my armpits don’t stink when they sweat. but the area in front of left armpit is a nightmare (practically my boob). i learned this when i was trying to employ the hand sanitizer trick. the smell wouldn’t go away until i hit that spot! bodies are weird.

  37. I am literally waiting for a meeting to start right now and realized I forgot just before seeing this post. Unfortunately I don’t have hand sanitizer on me either! Great tip though – I’ll definitely be adding a few items to my hand bag after this!!

  38. Fascinating! I have tried a lot of natural alternatives to deodorant, and recently found a winner: coconut oil! It’s not the strongest, but on days that I’m not overly heated, it’s a great alternative. :)

  39. Kate says...

    I will bust out a conventional antiperspirant for a big work event when I will be dressed up, stressed out, and running around all day. Otherwise I wear nothing. A little plain sweat by itself really doesn’t smell like much, especially if you’re not mixing in deodorants, fragrance, underarm hair, etc. (When I tried Schmidt’s however, that was awful.) Try it!

  40. You know what also works? LIMES. Yes, I was reading an article about all natural beauty products and someone from Mexico said their family uses lime juice to prevent underarm odor. I’ve been trying to get away from conventional deodorants for a while, so both me and my husband tried it and it works! No trace of stench what so ever. And we live in South Carolina where it’s been 100+ for weeks…Try it out!

    • Jo says...

      Please be careful! I’m from Mexico, and while lime juice is an ok deodorant for indoor use (such as in the office or at school), please do NOT use it if you are going to be exposed to the sun. It will cause a nasty chemical reaction that leads to horrific blisters and burns.

      Lime juice + sunshine = phytophotodermatitis

    • I’ve heard lemon. Be careful with lime, if you’re using lime on your skin and you’re in the sun it can cause a severe chemical burn.

    • AHH! I had no idea about that….thank you ladies, I’ll pass this on!

  41. That has definitely happened to me! I’ll definitely remember this one.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  42. I tell everyone I know about this trick! It definitely works in a pinch, but of course it doesn’t give you any long-term “protection.”

  43. Since I started using Soapwalla deodorant last year, i stopped forgetting to put deodorant on… I think something about the little tub makes it feel like part of my skin routine. I wash my face, tone, moisturize, put on sunscreen and wash my hands and go straight for the deodorant.

  44. Was just thinking that this morning of my Tom’s deo stick……totally, totally useless! Ended up using my husbands! Still fresh as a daisy….. and that for summer down in the South…..
    http://www.lifeofreily.co.za

  45. Nicole says...

    On a recent loooong flight, I realized I stunk after sleeping overnight in an airport but unfortunately my deodorant was packed in my checked bag. Fortunately I remembered that I had brought my dry shampoo on the flight and figured that might do the trick. I sprinkled the powder on my hands, dabbed it on my armpits, and it worked perfectly to keep my dry and smelling decent.

  46. Never heard of this before, but I’m definitely not forgetting it!

  47. I do this all the time — I carry the Burt’s Bees spray antibacterial stuff with me whenever I am going to be in a big city and it’s hot. I spray myself down whenever I get really hot to get rid of the smell AND the evaporation of the alcohol in it cools me off!

  48. Haha! I thought only my boss did that! She puts it on her feet after being out in the 110 degree summers here!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s awesome. she must love you to let you see her doing that!

  49. Thank you!!! Great trick!

    I always carry hand sanitizer but I never carry deodorant and I’ll tell you why (sorry if it’s TMI): I had “something” (the doctors couldn’t find what) in my armpits a few years ago and I stopped sweating (and smelling). Now I’m cured so I’ll guess I’ll be soon needing deodorant again!

  50. Amy says...

    Smart! I’ve been using baby wipes in the car during our particularly hot summer if I forget to reapply before leaving the house – I don’t usually carry hand sanitizer, but I always have baby wipes these days! It definitely helps.

  51. Genius! Thanks, Joanna!

  52. This seems crazy to me! It sounds like it would sting?? Good tip though ;)

  53. ew, how embarrassing that I’ve totally done this. honest co makes an insanely good natural deodorant as does ollieandmaxsoapco on etsy, so thankfully don’t need to ever do this again :)

    • i LOVE honest co’s deodorant! i have insane skin allergies and it’s the only natural deodorant that works for me. plus it smells amazing.

  54. Kate says...

    I’ve done this – it works pretty well, but it can be tricky if you’re using that runny gel – not east to apply in an inverted fashion! Maybe the spray stuff (I just bought the Honest brand) would be easier!

  55. Nancy says...

    I keep alcohol swabs or moist towelettes – the kind you can buy at the dollar store – for just this reason!

  56. A sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda works too

  57. Elisabeth says...

    I have heard of this! My Dad is allergic to deodorant and uses hand sanitizer instead. A good trick in a pinch, for sure.

  58. Lilly says...

    Oh, yes! I forgot to put deodorant for my first-born’s labor!! 12 hours! I survived using hand sanitizer, so lucky that hospitals have them everywhere! For second one, I definitely did not forget :)

  59. Laura says...

    I could have really used this tip yesterday, HAHAHA. Thank you! I’ll try this out when it (inevitability) happens again!