Forgot Deodorant? 8 Deodorant Hacks to Use in a Pinch

February 03, 2020 5 min read

forgot deodorant

It’s a crazy morning. You almost miss your train, the station is crowded, and you have to sprint the last block to get to work on time. Your morning meeting is about to start and whoosh! You get a whiff of your armpits.

It has literally happened to all of us at least once: "I forgot to put on deodorant. What do I do?" We find ourselves - in public - with unprotected armpits.

Sometimes we completely forget to put on deodorant due to a crazy morning when nothing goes right. Other times we just don’t have it with us (and your new friend doesn’t have a product masculine-enough for you).

Don't fret! There are a few reliable deodorant hacks - and substitutes - to use in a pinch. Take a look around and assess your options. Surely, you’re close to a bathroom or maybe even a staff kitchen. If so, you got it made! (We've put together an Amazon list of sweat-proof essentials if you want to purchase any of these items so you know you have them!)

Check out these “forgot deodorant” hacks:

1. Hand Sanitizer

Yes, you can totally use hand sanitizer as deodorant – and best of all, it’s easy enough to find. In the bathroom, in a hand sanitizer “station” on the wall, or even from your germaphobic co-worker who always carries their own personal stash. After this past year, that's pretty much everybody, right?! Simply apply a dollop to each armpit and voila! (Just be aware it can burn if using on freshly shaven skin.)

Why it works as a deodorant hack: Hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and designed to kill bacteria and germs. Armpit odor is caused by sweat and bacteria, so hand sanitizer is great to use when you forgot to put on deodorant.

Hand sanitizer is great to use when you forgot to put on deodorant.

2. Alcohol Swabs or Wipes

Seek out the office first aid kit. (Many times it is located in the staff break room or kitchen.) Open the individually wrapped swab and wipe down your armpit. (Again, use caution on freshly shaven skin.)

Why it works as a deodorant hack: As with hand sanitizer, alcohol swabs (or wipes) are designed to kill bacteria and germs so it will do the trick on your stinky armpits.

3. Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Antibacterial hand wipes – like hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes – are great deodorant hacks because they kill bacteria that cause odor. You can usually find antibacterial wipes in the kitchen or break room; or from your co-worker who likes to freshen up at their desk. Take a couple of wipes, and generously swipe your underarms.

Why it works as a deodorant hack: Designed with the same purpose as hand sanitizer, but oftentimes without the alcohol. These wipes will kill bacteria and germs just the same.

4. Hand Soap & Water

Make your way to the restroom and hope that you will have some privacy. Wet a paper towel, apply a small amount of hand soap and wipe down your underarms. Depending on how much soap you use, you may need to swipe your armpits with another wet paper towel.

Be sure to allow your skin to dry before putting your shirt back on. Since this method doesn’t actively kill bacteria, you may need to repeat a few times throughout the day.

Why it works as a deodorant hack: While the foamy hand soap may not contain antibacterial agents, it will still clean off your stench and refresh your skin.

forgot to put on deodorant

5. Witch Hazel

Whether you forgot to replenish your supply or you unexpectedly spent the night somewhere new, there are fast-and-easy alternatives you can use in a pinch. Most of these deodorant alternatives are products you can find in a home kitchen or bathroom. The first one we want to highlight is Witch Hazel.

Hopefully you can find a bottle of witch hazel in the bathroom. While you’re there, grab a couple of cotton balls. Saturate a cotton ball and liberally apply to your underarms. It may wear off faster than regular deodorant, you may want to reapply throughout the day.

Why it works as a deodorant hack: Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. As such, it is a great deodorant substitute.

    6. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Many people use apple cider vinegar for salad dressings, but you can use it as a hack when you forget deodorant too. Check the pantry or refrigerator for this versatile product. Apply a generous amount on a cotton ball and dab onto your armpits. Allow to dry completely before getting dressed.

    Why it works as a deodorant hack: Apple cider vinegar contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which kills odor-causing bacteria.

      Apple cider vinegar contains when you antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which kills odor-causing bacteria.

      7. Lemon Juice

      Look for a whole lemon in the crisper or in the decorative fruit bowl on the counter. Cut it lemon in half and directly apply the pulp side to your underarm. The acidity may affect sensitive or freshly shaven skin. If you are concerned, squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl and mix with an equal part of water. Apply with a cotton ball.

      Why it works as a deodorant hack: Lemon juice contains citric acid, which is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. So it is great to use when you forgot deodorant during your last trip to the drug store.

      8. Baking Soda & Cornstarch

      These two pantry products are a dynamic duo when used to fight body odor. Mix equal parts of each into a bowl and apply with your hand by patting your armpits with the mixture.

      Why it works as a deodorant hack: Absorbent in nature, baking soda and cornstarch soak up the smell produced by bacteria and sweat.

        With all of these great deodorant hacks to use at the office or at home, you’ll be prepared to act swiftly the next time you realize that you forgot deodorant. You may even want to stash a travel-sized deodorant stick and a few antibacterial wipes at your desk... just to be safe.

        Control Underarm Odor and Sweat Everyday

        If you want to avoid the panic (and embarrassment) altogether, wear an Ejis sweat proof undershirt every day. Our super soft micro modal sweat proof undershirts (available on our shop or on Amazon) protect your shirts from sweat marks and best of all, come with infused silver to fight odor-causing bacteria.

        Ejis, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking Some links on this page provide us a commission at no additional cost to you.

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