What Was Used as Deodorant in Ancient Times?

Body odor has been a problem for humans since the beginning of time. While deodorants and antiperspirants are now widely available, our ancestors had to find other ways to combat this issue. In this article, we will explore what was used as deodorant in ancient times.

What is Deodorant?

Deodorant is a personal hygiene product that helps to mask or prevent body odor. It contains antimicrobial agents that kill the bacteria responsible for producing odor.

Ancient Egyptian Deodorant

One of the earliest recorded uses of deodorant comes from ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used a combination of oils and spices as a body deodorizer. They would mix cinnamon, cardamom, and other fragrant spices with oil and apply it to their bodies.

Ancient Roman Deodorant

The ancient Romans also had their own ways of combating body odor. They used a mixture of sulfur and charcoal as a deodorizer. This mixture was applied directly onto the skin or added to bathwater.

Ancient Greek Deodorant

The ancient Greeks were known for their love of physical fitness and hygiene. They used a combination of alum stone and baking soda as a natural deodorant. The alum stone was rubbed onto wet skin, while baking soda was sprinkled onto dry skin.

Native American Deodorant

Native Americans had their own methods of controlling body odor. Some tribes would burn sage or other fragrant herbs and use the smoke to purify their bodies. Others would use cedarwood oil as a natural deodorizer.

Medieval Europe

During medieval times in Europe, people used various natural sources such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, bay leaves, and lemon balm as deodorants. They would either crush the herbs into a paste and apply it to their bodies or stuff their clothes with them.


In conclusion, humans have been looking for ways to control body odor for thousands of years. While modern deodorants and antiperspirants are now widely available, our ancestors relied on natural products such as spices, herbs, oils, and stones to keep themselves smelling fresh. It’s fascinating to see how different cultures developed their own methods of combating this common problem.