Citronicus Totalus!

Monday, October 16, 2017
Photo: Robson Hatsukami Morgan

I've been using lemon instead of my usual chemically-loaded deodorant for the last couple of weeks or so, and I have two words to describe it: black magic.

High risks, high returns.

At first I was iffy about using lemon instead of the usual deodorant that doesn't let me down because I was afraid of being smelly after an hour, or sweat even more than I already do. After a week of using just a lemon, I was completely spellbound. I didn't smell at all, even after a full day of work and a sweaty workout. Surprisingly, I was sweating the same amount with my usual deodorant.

I squeezed the juice of one lemon into a spray bottle and would do three spritzes per side each morning after jumping out of the shower. The bottle of undiluted lemon juice lasted over a week without any refrigeration.

On my third day of using the lemon spray, my armpits stung so bad. Like, I couldn't put my arms down bad. Lemon naturally fights bacteria, and the bacteria is what makes us smell bad. I guess I just had too much bacteria! To make things worse, I developed a rash. I looked it up online and everyone had different reactions -- some people had no problems with it, some people got rashes that disappeared after two weeks, and the list goes on. There were some though who indicated that their skin was too sensitive for the acidity of the undiluted lemon juice.

I kept using the undiluted juice for one week to see if the rash and the sting would go away. It didn't.

By Day 8, I was debating whether I should switch recipes and go with baking soda + cornstarch + VCO. Going back to my old deo was out of the question. A friend said maybe I should dilute the lemon juice. Of course, how could I forget!

I looked up recipes and saw that you should put 1 part water, 1 part lemon juice. Some people even put some essential oils. I switched up the recipe a little and did this:
  • 2 parts lemon juice
  • 1 part water
  • 6 drops tea tree oil

I was doubtful about this recipe (what if there's not enough lemon juice to kill my smelly bacteria?!), but the moral of the story is to trust in the lemon.

Lo and behold, the second recipe worked just fine. There's a five-second sting after applying it, and I'm fine the rest of the day. The rash began to subside, and I keep it at bay by generously applying VCO every night. I now need to deal with the itch I shouldn't scratch. I noticed though that I sweat a tiny bit more than I normally do, but hey, that's the price you pay if you want to keep sensitive parts of your body chemical-free!

I am so happy I put my eggs in the lemon basket. No one at home nor at work has complained (to my face) about my - ehem - scent. I'm also really happy that I've switched to a chemical-free way of smelling fresh and fruity. Hurray for nature! It really is like magic!

I've read that this works too with lime and calamansi. Any brave souls willing to try out this experiment? Share share share! Looking for more lemon converts.

Till my next experiment!


  1. Thanks for being a guinea pig, Berns! I'm more compelled to try it out, especially since the deodorant from natural brands (which shall not be named) don't work for me. I'll let you know if ever I push through with it!

    1. Do it! Do it! Do it!... not that I can tell if you're using a lemon or not hehe :p

  2. Does this also reduce one's financial footprint? I'm so intrigued by the essential oils and look forward to more of your experiments with zero-waste potions!

    1. Also, can you recommend places to buy essential oils?

    2. I'm not sure if this reduces one's financial footprint as lemons are expensive in the Philippines (Php 20-35/lemon). An undiluted lemon can last about a week or so, which will be about Php90/month. The commercial/chemical ones are cheaper. However, if you dilute the lemon with water 1:1 or 2:1, your lemon will go a longer way.

      The tea tree oil I used for this recipe was from Oro Gold since it's what I found at home. I've seen EOs from stores like Giga and Zenutrients. My favorite tea tree is from Body Shop though, which I use for acne. Other than those places, I don't know where to find essential oils (yet!).


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