DIY ‘Aesop’ Post-Poo Drops (Natural Mandarin Toilet Freshener)

Aesop is an Australian skin-care and self-care company, known for their high-end, well-branded (and incredibly expensive) products. And there’s no bigger epitome of this than their fabled Post-Poo Drops, a toilet freshener which elicits an understated scent of Mandarin, Tangerine, and Ylang Ylang when plopped into your toilet bowl after (and this is to quote the labelling) “vigorous activity has occurred” – far more natural than those artificially pumped up floral fresheners that you find on the supermarket shelves.

The original is beautiful, and actually has a Bottomfeder-esque origin story! “This botanical deodoriser got its accidental start when discarded essential oils from our in-house lab were repurposed to scent an office bathroom. It has since become one of our most popular products” – @aesopskincare

While I originally got these delightful drops for bathroom guests, my partner and I have fallen in love with the scent. And so rather than use it too quickly, I thought I’d have a go at making this mandarin marvel myself. Just save up some citrus skins and let time and patience work their magic. Make a larger batch and gift it to friends and family, or just store it to refill your smaller bottle. The prep time is 3 weeks, and this sounds insane, but like most good preserving projects, it’s very hands-off and mostly about letting time pass…especially something we have lots of in lockdown!

First, we create our own essential oils by steeping dried citrus peels in rubbing alcohol. Commercial versions use a distiller or cold press to extract oils, but alcohol is much more accessible way to draw these oils out at home without needing all that hi-tech wizardry. I used mandarin, orange and lemon peels leftover from eating and cooking. If you want a shortcut or have essential oils on hand you could just use them, however this can be costly and this recipe came about as an elevated way of utilising those naturally zingy smelling citrus peels.


My partner Mark and I created a really calming and chilled, but also tounge-in-cheek video which accompanies the recipe below. It was heavily inspired by the minimalist and considered Aesop brand and aesthetic, with our cheeky spin. Hope you like it!

RECIPE
DIY ‘AESOP’ POST POO DROPS (NATURAL CITRUS PEEL TOILET FRESHENER)

INGREDIENTS:

For the essential oils: (yields approx 20-50mL of each, prep time 3 wks)

  • 3 or more mandarins
  • 3 or more lemons
  • 3 or more oranges
  • rubbing alcohol

For the final mixture: (yields approx 150mL, prep time 5 min)

  • 125ml water
  • 1 tsp rubbing alcohol (can substitute for vodka)
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerine (or substitute 1/2 tsp liquid soap)
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Mandarin essential oil
  • Orange essential oil

METHOD:

For the essential oils:

  1. Peel each of the mandarins and oranges.
  2. With a paring knife, remove the white pith for each of the peels.
  3. While you’ve got your knife out, cut the peel off the lemons.
  4. Place the de-pithed peels out in the sun to dry for approx 1 wk, keeping them separate so you know which peels are which. Turn every so often.
  5. Put each group of peels into a separate jar and cover with rubbing alcohol, shaking the jar to ensure peels are evenly covered/submerged.
  6. Place a lid loosely over each jar, and put in a cool dry place for 1 wk.
  7. Strain each oil to remove the peels, and place in jars. Optional zero waste drained peel use – Store the strained peels together in a jar – these can be used as a rubbish bin deodoriser, just shake some into your bin to keep it smelling fresh. As they’ve been sitting in alcohol they’re kind of preserved.
  8. Use paper towel and rubber bands to create a breathable lid for each oil. Then put in a cool dry place for 1 wk, shaking infrequently to stop bacteria forming.
  9. (Optional) Store each oil in eye-dropper bottles for ease of use.

For the final mixture:

  1. Measure 125mL of water out into a jug.
  2. Add the glycerin and rubbing alcohol.
  3. Use your nose to mix a balance of the essential oils to your liking. 30-40 drops total ought to be enough. Go slow and add oils bit by bit.
  4. (Optional) Store in eye-dropper bottle for ease of use.


For blending: Mixing the scents comes down to your individual preferences. It’s very subjective, so you have to use your nose to smell what’s right for you. I found that lemon is sophisticated, bright and fresh, orange verges on that musky stereotypically grandma toilet freshener smell, and mandarin is somewhere in the middle. For me, I added approximately 50% Lemon, 35% Mandarin and 15% Orange.

To create an aroma that smells more like the Aesop original: The Aesop original post poo drops have an aroma blend of tangerine peel, ylang ylang and mandarin peel. My version omitted the ylang ylang. I wanted to see what I could make with what I had without buying extra first (I haven’t seen any wild ylang ylang around me either). I recommend you include ylang ylang (native to Queensland, but not as readily available wild to everyone) or something similar like jasmine. You can buy readymade ylang ylang oil if you want, but a lemon heavy version of these post poo drops is pretty darn good as is! It is just going down the toilet in the end anyway!

For storage: You can buy amber glass bottles with some form of a dropper to make dispensing the oils and storing your finished post poo drops easy. They’re available online and at health food stores, or reuse ones you have leftover. The amber glass also helps prevent the oils from oxidising due to heat and light.

Future ideas: I’m currently creating some lemongrass essential oil to hopefully add a bit of a floral note (I usually dry the tough ends and outer parts of lemongrass whenever I buy it. I add it to cooking and make my own ginger and lemongrass tea). Make it your own though! You could add in rosemary, lavender or eucalyptus and take it in a different direction to the Aesop version if that’s what you like. I find it helps to look at or google the blend of scents in perfumes and products you already gravitate towards and try to recreate blends inspired by those (wayyyy easier than becoming an actual perfumer).

Credit: This recipe was adapted from this ‘fabulous farm’ girl ‘diy poo poo spray’ recipe.
mixed with this ‘hillsbourough homesteading’ orange essential oil recipe.

Share your version by tagging me on instagram @_bottomfeeder I’d love to see what you create!

Use Your (Prawn) Head! Zero-Waste Prawn Head Oil

Merry belated Christmas! I hope, like me and my family, you enjoyed bucketloads of fresh seafood and prawns or maybe you’re having some for New Years. With all those prawns, inevitably comes lots of leftover prawn heads, tails and shells. In this recipe I’m going to show you how to get the most bang for your buck from your prawns by extracting that rich flavour of the sea into a deep red hued prawn oil. Best of all you only need 4 ingredients. Freeze your prawn bits till you have 1kg or so and simply thaw out in the fridge and drain. Inspired by Christmas, but great anytime you have prawns.

This prawn oil is great tossed through pasta or noodles – use it to flavour a stir fry, curry or cook fried rice or vegetables with it. Drizzle it on soups or seafood dishes for an extra oomph of umami prawny flavour.

My partner Mark and I filmed this recipe as a video. We’re going to try do this for our recipes from now on!


RECIPE
ZERO-WASTE PRAWN HEAD OIL

INGREDIENTS
1 small brown onion, finely diced (keep the skin and ends)
Vegetable oil or other neutral-flavoured oil
1-2kg Prawn heads, shells and tails
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: Onion skin peels and ends 

METHOD
1. Prepare the prawn heads by tearing up the shells from the head flesh you can also bash them with a mortar and pestle. Make sure there’s no poop chutes (otherwise known as the prawn poo veins)!

2. Heat a deep pot on medium heat. Add a splash of oil, then toss in your diced onion and salt. Cook for approx 5 min, stirring occasionally until softened and translucent.

3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the prawn heads, onion skin and ends and cover them half way in vegetable oil. 

4. Cook them for approximately 30-45min, until the oil is reddy/orange in colour. Stir and crush the heads/shells with a wooden spoon periodically to release flavour.

5. Strain into jars. Allow to cool and store in the fridge. It lasts for a couple of months (if you haven’t finished it before then!).

OTHER PRAWN HEAD & SHELL USES
– Prawn stock – You could also simmer prawn heads and shells with water to make a flavourful stock. Great as a base for seafood dishes, pasta sauce, tom yum soup, ramen, risotto and as a general flavour enhancer in stir fries, veggies, curries and noodle dishes. 
– Crunchy prawn heads – Season self raising flour with salt and coat the cleaned prawn heads. Deep fry for a few minutes till crisp and golden right through. Eat with a chilli sambal or sweet chilli sauce to dip.

What are your favourite uses for prawn shells and heads?