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How to Remove Deodorant Residue from your Underarms

The Advice Smackdown Is Back! So Let’s Talk Deodorant

By Amalah

Amalah, Haaaaallllp!

Now, I’ve always been a sweaty girl, so the search for a deodorant/antiperspirant has been long and fraught with failure. I THOUGHT I’d found my silver bullet with the click up style soft solids… but now face a new issue. They don’t work perfectly anymore- so I find both smell and moisture a bit of a concern- but more importantly I CAN’T GET IT OFF OF MY SKIN!!! It doesn’t wash off. It doesn’t scrub off. I have pits that smell like deodorant and have a waxy coating/buildup regardless of what I do! And if there is one person that knows her deodorants… it you, amiright, sista?! HELP ME AMY-WAN, YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE!

Cough.

This thing still on?

Greetings, my beloved Smackdowneers, and apologies for my sporadic-to-practically-nonexistent presence lately. I plead a summer full of travel and low in childcare hours, then I broke my elbow and h-a-d t-o t-y-p-e l-i-k-e t-h-i-s which was slow and painful and full of terrors typos.

But now school has started (cue animated birds and dancing wine bottles) and I’ve been cleared to spend more time out of my arm splint and sling and back in proper typing form. Which means that finally, FINALLY, I will make a dent in the advice queue and answer your pressing questions about your baby/boobs/toddler/MIL-who-is-acting-like-a-baby-boob-or-toddler. Or whatever else you glorious people have continued to send me in my absence.

Today, though, we’re gonna tackle something really short, simple (and super Amalah-old-school): DEODORANT.

Or specifically, yucky waxy deodorant build-up. I’ve come across a few varieties that are more prone to sticking/clinging around than others, and here’s what I’ve done:

1.Dump some baking soda into a bowl. About a 1/4 cup should do it, but you can absolutely just eyeball it.

2. Start adding warm water, about a tablespoon or two at a time, until you’ve got a thick but wet/spreadable paste.

3. Spread said paste on your pits.

4. Gently rub the paste off with a wet washcloth — you definitely want a little exfoliating action here, but not too roughly since armpits are super soft, sensitive skin!

5. Rinse pits completely in the shower.

That’s always done the trick for me — I’ve read dozens of other suggestions, from vinegar to makeup remover to shampoo to apricot face scrub, but I’m personally leery of using anything that has irritation potential on such a delicate/sensitive patch of skin. The baking powder paste cuts through the waxy buildup and kills the perfume-y smell just fine and has never left me red/dry/itchy. (Note you might need to apply the paste a few days in a row if you’ve got really severe build-up.) Then I toss whatever deodorant was the culprit anyway, because I can can barely find time to apply a mask to my face as often as I’d like — ain’t got no time to be getting all precious about my pits.

Have you tried Certain Dri’s roll-on deodorant? Applied properly per the instructions at NIGHT, not in the morning? I found one of my go-to invisible solids was starting to let me down this summer and swapped in Certain Dri a few times a week and it really worked great. No heavy fragrance, no waxy build-up, and (since I was applying it pre-PJs and not pre-actual-clothes), no waxy white smudges all over my shirts and dresses because “invisible” solids are a lie that I continue to fall for, over and over again.

(And yes, I’ve also tried a ton of “natural” products and other homebrew concoctions. I wouldn’t usually consider myself a very sweaty girl, except when I used those and did things like “exercise” or “dare to sleep with all the covers on” or — in the summer, to simply “exist.” So those might not be super helpful for the OP.)

Photo source: Depositphotos/vadidak

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Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • kefi18

    Certain-Dri is my JAM! I am a super sweaty person, literally only in the armpits: I don’t think my forehead has ever glistened from anything but oily skin, but I have huge sweat marks under my arms (they’ll seriously go down to my waist, I wish I were kidding) even when I’m not remotely warm. I just sweat, all the time. And stink, because I sweat. Sooooo sexy. ANYWHO, Certain-Dri for me works better than any prescription (all of which gave me chemical burns in my armpits) or any other brand of anything, and I’m telling you, I’ve tried them ALL. Certain-Dri is THE way to go. Good luck! May your pits be dry and without gunky buildup.

  • Brooke

    This is probably too simplistic, but I’ve found my sensitive-skin scent-free soap (Olay or Dove) doesn’t remove my deodorant. Instead, I steal my husband’s Lever 2000 just for my pits and it works great. Ssssshhhh, don’t tell.

  • achc

    I used to sweat so much, but, like kefi18 said, only in the armpits. I too would constantly have sweat marks that would just grow and grow and grow. Certain-Dri worked but as I got older I didn’t love the chemicals. Someone once mentioned to me that the pill causes excessive sweating. I didn’t believe it but sure enough when I went off the pill for other reasons I immediately stopped having excessive sweat issues. For me, it was worth it to find alternative birth control so I didn’t have to deal with so much sweat. I wish I’d actually considered the possibility of a connection sooner.

  • Lydia

    I’m sure the scrub will work well, but you might try witch hazel too. Since having a baby, I’ve had a weird hormonal thing where one armpit stinks no matter what. Scrubbing with soap and a washcloth doesn’t get the stink out, but wiping with a cotton pad soaked in witch hazel does. You could try it to soothe your skin after the scrub, or before applying deodorant.

  • Lauren A

    OP here- yaaaas, the baking soda worked wonders. Click up solid is in the trash, and certain dry is burning the heck outta my pits as we speak. (Yes it stings, yes it works… I used it for my wedding all those 13 years ago and it worked wonders. But dang. Ouch. I’d forgotten all about it. Thanks Amalah!)

    And another poster mentioned the pill- THAT COULD EXPLAIN THE HELACIOUS TIME I HAD IN HIGH SCHOOL WITH SWEAT! It worked wonders on my cramps, but it really makes me think it might be linked to the crazy sweating I had back then… filing away in case my daughter has issues…