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How To Detox Armpits: The Complete Guide For Men

It may seem like another weird fad, but knowing how to detox your armpits can actually improve your odor situation, skin comfort, and health. 

Table of Contents

What Is An Armpit Detox?

Armpit detoxes are easy. In fact, there’s only one step that you need to follow for it all to happen naturally: throw out any of your deodorants or antiperspirants that contain aluminum.

Aluminum is the key deodorant ingredient that blocks sweat. It clogs your glands, which helps you stay fresh throughout the day…but isn’t necessarily all that skin-friendly.

An armpit detox allows your body to unclog your glands and restore some healthy sweat. Some guys go through a one to four week period of bad-smelling sweat during the detox, but that’s not the case for everyone, and it’s perfectly safe and natural for those who do. You’ll be feeling and smelling better soon.

Some companies sell “armpit detox masks” or similar products. You don’t need to use any of those to detox your pits. In fact, lots of those products irritate the skin and have low levels of efficacy. Your armpits will detox themselves without any extra chemical help.

Why Men Should Detox Their Armpits 

Detoxing is a great way to get your sweat glands back into tip-top shape. It’s not healthy or normal to stifle sweat, but that’s exactly what commercial deodorants do.

The easiest way to survive an especially smelly detox is to switch over to a natural deodorant. Natural deodorants are aluminum-free, so they allow your glands room to breathe, while keeping you smelling as fresh as possible.

You might even find that it’s worth it to permanently switch to an all-natural deodorant. They’re gentler on the skin, and you won’t ever need to detox again. Plus, you get the benefit of knowing exactly what ingredients you’re putting in your pits (the prime benefit of natural deodorant).

Can You Really Detox Your Armpit?

You can absolutely detox your armpits. Just don’t believe whatever that “armpit mask” packaging you’re eyeing right now says.

Like most body parts, armpits detox themselves naturally, and you don’t need to use clay or apple cider vinegar or alcohol. (Though some of those products do work for some people, they’re not a great fit for everyone.)

You only need to detox your armpits if you’ve been using a product that contains aluminum. If that’s not the case, then you’ve already detoxed, in a sense.

Here’s a good way to figure out whether you’re overdue for an armpit detox: read the ingredient list for any products you’ve been using on your pits.

The longer the ingredient list, and the more ingredient names that you can’t recognize, the more likely it is you need to take a break from using that product on your armpits. There are exceptions to that rule, of course, but the more “chemically” your deodorant seems, the more desperate your skin will be for you to give it a break.

How To Detox Armpits For Men

Step one is easy: throw out the store-bought deodorant and antiperspirant.

If you’re brave (or lazy) you can stop at step one. Just doing that alone will give your armpits the vacation they’ve been waiting for. Consider taking a vacation of your own, preferably out in nature somewhere, so that your coworkers and family members don’t have to smell the “manly musk” you’ll be busy building.

Most of you are probably looking for a more “socially acceptable” detox. Understand that you’re going to sweat more and smell unpleasant either way, but you can curb the worst symptoms and scents.

Use an aluminum-free, preferably all-natural deodorant or spray to cover up especially pungent smells. If you have hardy skin and aren’t too worried about skin irritation, you can try out a baking soda treatment for your pits. (I still don’t recommend “armpit masks,” but baking soda is a more standard, accepted deodorizer.)

With a few spoonfuls of baking soda in a bowl:

  1. Add water slowly, stirring as you go, until you have a chunky paste.
  2. Apply that paste to your armpits. The best time to do this is during your shower.
  3. Scrub very gently with the paste (really, really gently).
  4. Rinse it off under the shower faucet or with a wet washcloth.

The baking soda will cleanse your pits and kill any of the odor-causing bacteria that might be taking over during the detox.

For those of you who don’t mind it, you can also shave your armpits to help prevent a moldy smell during the detox.

How Long Does It Take To Detox Armpits?

Over the course of one to four weeks, your armpits should slowly work themselves back to a relatively “normal” smell.

If you’re using a natural deodorant, you’ll still sweat, but you’ll smell fresh. If you’re not using any products whatsoever, you’ll smell relatively average. Not great, not terrible, just that generic brand of “smells like a human being.”

Lots of lucky guys don’t ever go through the bad-smelling phase, so don’t necessarily get too worked up over that. In the grand scheme of things, even one to four weeks is a brief time to give your armpits the healthy sweat fest they’ve wanted for so long.

For a week-by-week overview, read our guide on what to expect when switching to natural deodorant.

How Often Should You Detox Your Armpits?

If you’re using a commercial deodorant with aluminum, you should detox your armpits whenever your skin starts to feel clogged or irritated. Instead of a full detox, you can use the baking soda treatment we covered earlier up to three times per week.

But if you do make the switch to a natural deodorant, you’ll get all the odor-controlling benefits of a commercial deodorant, without ever having to detox.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.