Today, I want to talk to you about armpit vodka.

armpit vodka

You read that correctly. Armpit vodka. You can file this squarely in the middle of the ol’ TMI folder if you’d like, but I know this post will help someone, so naturally I’m going to share. (And every once in a while I like to make my employer take a moment and shake their head and wonder why they hired me in the first place. And armpit vodka is the best way to do that, I think.)

So, let me begin at the beginning. I am one of those people who is always hot. Rarely do I find myself in a room that is cool enough for my liking. If you’re one of those people who brings a nice little cardigan out to dinner with you because you worry the restaurant might be too cold, you probably don’t need any armpit vodka. And I’ll thank you not to grimace in disgust when you see me out at the same restaurant, sweating like the heaving she-beast that I am.

Typically, I hate the winter time because people turn the heater up way too high. When it’s time to go Christmas shopping, I tend to not wear a coat because I know that all the stores are going to have the heaters cranked to the max, and I can’t think of a scenario that would piss me off more than to have heaters blow hot air at me while I’m wearing a coat and trying to fight crowds to purchase gifts for loved ones. In fact, in that scenario, my loved ones would turn into my most hated ones in the blink of an eye because the heat makes me incredibly grumpy.

But at least, in the winter, I can take off a layer or two and all is well. This is not the case in the summer, when I start my day wearing the bare minimum.

Oklahoma summers are hot and sticky and everything about them is the absolute worst. I didn’t always hate them. I used to actually love the heat, and spent about 10 years of my life playing competitive fast pitch softball in the summer heat. Hell, I remember playing in tournaments that were canceled because other girls literally died of heat stroke while standing in the outfield, and I wasn’t particularly phased by the heat at the time.

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But that was when I could wear my sleeveless jersey and shorts all day. Now, I may not be outside all day, but I have to wear some business casual garb, and I would like to know what asshole decided that all business casual clothing should be made of the most unbreathable fabrics, because that person should be swaddled in a pair of modern-fit trousers and left out in the sun to slowly desiccate into the raisin they deserve to be.

But I digress. (I swear this post is about armpit vodka, and not just me ranting about heat.)

This summer, I started teaching with the Institute of Reading Development, and part of my job is going to different schools to teach kids and adults the joys of reading. Because of this, I have to carry a lot of books and supplies in the trunk of my car. When I get to my teaching sites, I have to unload everything, and haul it into my classrooms. So, some days, if I have three classes, that means I have to load up books for three classes, and schlep that all up into my classroom. And I have to do that in the unforgiving fabric that is business casual garb while the unrelenting Oklahoma sun bears down on me and the pervasive humidity seeks to suffocate me like a plastic bag.

Naturally, I get really sweaty. Like, really, really sweaty. Even my shins sweat.

“So what, Marisa?” you may ask. Surely I can just swipe on some deodorant and call it a day, right?

Well, okay, so, here’s the thing.

About 3 months ago, I switched to an aluminum-free deodorant. Chris and I read somewhere that the aluminum in deodorant could potentially cause Alzheimer’s. There’s enough research on both sides of the possibility to make me feel pretty content that I’m doing the right thing while simultaneously making me feel like this is unnecessary. But I’ve decided to stick with the choice, especially since Chris and I both watched members of our families live with dementia. And knowing how rough that is on loved ones, we knew that we’d want to prevent any and all loss of memory and any cognitive decline. If we could prevent it, why not?

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So we purchased some aluminum-free Tom’s and didn’t look back.

In the spring, the deodorant worked just fine. Granted, I wasn’t really sweating and the AC was pretty much on anywhere I went. So, I thought the new deodorant was working great. However, now that it’s June and actually hot outside, I know that’s not the case. In fact, for the first time in my life, I actually have B.O.

I’m not sure what sort of chemicals are in your average deodorant, but they sure do a lot of work. So all the Teen Spirit and Secret and Suave and Dove products that I’ve used throughout the years probably formed some sort of water and airtight barrier across my skin, because even if I got super sweaty, my armpits did not, and I definitely didn’t smell.

This, in turn, led to a weird half-hour where I started to think about what the hell kind of chemicals I have been swiping on my glands my whole life, and whether or not I’m going to find out I have a weird sort of cancer caused by antiperspirants and perfumes.

I knew I didn’t want to switch back to an aluminum deodorant. The whole possibility of dementia aside, my armpit skin is smoother and softer than it’s ever been because of my stick of Tom’s. It’s probably because this is the first time in a really long time that I haven’t been slathering them with a bunch of unnecessary stuff and the skin can actually breathe and excrete all the sweat it wants to.

(This post is getting weird. I mean, it started in a really weird place, but when the word “excrete” is used, I get a little stressed.)

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So, I did what any sane human would’ve done. I told Twitter about it. I got a lot of helpful info, and, of course, a lot of unhelpful stuff. (It wouldn’t be social media if someone wasn’t being a derailing asshole with terrible advice.)

But the best advice I got was from a follower who tagged her sister-in-law in her response. Her sister-in-law had been aluminum free for years, and gave me the secret to keeping your pits stench-free when you don’t want to cover them with aluminum.

Her advice? Armpit vodka, naturally.

armpit vodka

So, what is armpit vodka? Well, it’s not vodka distilled in an armpit, though I think that might be kind of a fun product gimmick. It’s actually just vodka. Whatever kind you have in the house, though I’d feel pretty weird using Grey Goose since it’s a little pricier for what you’ll be doing with it. You take that vodka, and put it in a small spray bottle. This is just a spray bottle that I found near the travel-size toiletries at Target. (Maybe it was CVS. Who knows? Both probably have one.) Then, I added a couple drops of lemongrass essential oil.

And that’s all you need to make armpit vodka. Then, you keep the little spray bottle in your purse or bag, and when you start to smell a bit, all you have to do is spritz your pits and the vodka kills all the germs that are actually causing the smell. And the essential oil kind of acts as a perfume to keep you smelling nice.

So, if you catch me between classes this summer, you may find me spraying down with my armpit vodka. And who knows? If I have a particularly rough day, you may find me spraying it directly into my mouth.

14 Responses

  1. This applies to those of us who are always freezing, just fyi. I have to bundle up, even in summer, and curl up by a space heater all day because the building where I work is always so morbidly cold and this does make for sweaty armpits. To add insult to injury, I have an autoimmune disease! I never know what to expect when it comes to what fun and interesting symptoms will arrise. I started having pretty bad pain in both armpits that ultrasounds couldn’t justify, but it went away when I stopped using aluminum antiperspirants. I have a spray like you mentioned from Indigo Wild (probably not vodka though), and use Kiss My Face deodorant. I sweat, but I’m not sad about it.

    1. I’ll have to look into that Indigo Wild spray. And I totally feel for you and your cold building. I would probably feel the same way, only my office mates can’t stand any temperature below 85, so I’m in the exact opposite situation.

  2. You are my favorite heaving she-beast, dude.
    I have been waiting for this post and I’m not disappointed. I look forward to an armpit vodka update and I’m a little sad the side benefit of one spritz for the pits, one spritz for the mouth never happened. I salute your adulting skills.

    1. Aw shucks. I bet you say that to all the heaving she-beasts. And who’s to say that I won’t wind up drinking it? You never know…

  3. My understanding is that anti-perspirants do work exactly as you describe. They basically clog up your sweat glands so you can’t … excrete.

    1. I actually read a little about this yesterday and that’s what they do. The aluminum makes your pores inflamed so the sweat can’t come out.

      1. You may have actually convinced me to switch to non-aluminum with this — I’ve noticed that my pores are inflamed every once and a while and it’s not a good scene but didn’t know what to do about it (other than hope it’s not cancer).

        1. It’s kind of weird how terrible everyday products can be for you. Check out Tom’s or the Arm and Hammer aluminum free stuff. They’re the most accessible, I think.

      1. As a person who has to clean up a bottle of Absolut Citron after dropping it on the way to the liquor closet at work, I can attest that it is, indeed, very sticky.

  4. This may be the best post about armpits I’ve ever read. That aside, what I really want to know…does it have to be lemongrass essential oil or can it be any old flavor? Or does lemongrass, specifically, have B.O. repelling properties?

    1. Nope! Go for your scent of choice. I just chose lemongrass because we were out of the grapefruit oil, and the lavender gives me terrible allergies.

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