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Spring Cleaning: Medicine Cabinet Edition

Medicine Cabinet

I LOVE spring cleaning! There is no better feeling than having a clean, organized house… Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic. But I really do enjoy the feeling of starting the spring with a clean place! But every year, without fail, I always forget to clean out one area of my house.

 

The medicine cabinet.

 

It is so important to keep our medicine cabinets clean and organized. Not only does it make finding what you need easier, but it can keep you safe too. Medications can expire, lose potency, or become accidentally mislabeled. So here are some tips on how to properly clean out your medicine cabinet during your spring cleaning!

What to look for:

 

Getting started on cleaning out your medicine cabinet can be overwhelming, especially if you are like me and you forget to do it regularly. But knowing what to look for can make it so much easier! The first step is to check the dates on all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Just like food in your pantry, your medications can expire. The bottle or box should be labeled with an expiration date, but a good rule-of-thumb is to get rid of anything that is more than a year old.

 

When looking at vitamins and supplements, pay attention to the color. Over time, vitamins and supplements can become discolored due to exposure to light. You might also notice that the smell or taste seems off, which are all signs that the pill has gone bad.

 

You should also dispose of any unlabeled bottles or loose pills. Look for anything that is no longer in its original container or any medications that appear to have gotten mixed up. This will help prevent you or anyone else in your house from accidentally taking the wrong medication.

 

So now that you have sorted through everything, how do you safely dispose of your old medications?

How to Dispose of Medication:

 

When it comes time to get rid of old medication, it is important to do it in a safe way. Some medications will include instructions for getting rid of unused pills, but generally, you want to avoid flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it leaves an opportunity for a person or animal to ingest the medication.

 

One Option for disposing of your old medication is to find a local drug-take-back program in your community. Sites like http://disposemymeds.org/ can help you find a local pharmacy that will take your old pills and properly dispose of them for you!

 

If there is not a local program to help you get rid of old medications, there are a few simple steps to help you safely dispose of the medication on your own.

  • First, you will want to crush up the pills and place them in a bag or container that can be sealed tightly.
  • Once you put the crushed pills into the bag or container add a little water to help dissolve the powder.
  • Then you will want to fill the container with something that will deter kids and animals from getting into it. Coffee grounds, kitty litter, or saw dust are all great options!
  • Mix up the contents of the container, seal it tightly, and place it in the trash.

Before throwing out the old pill bottles, make sure to remove the label or block out any personal information. And that’s it! You have now safely disposed of your old medication.

Stay Organized!

 

Now that your medicine cabinet is clean and organized, make sure it stays that way! Pill cases and organizers can help you get rid of clutter and easily store your medications. If you keep your medication in the bathroom, consider using an air-tight container to store pills. The moisture in the bathroom can get to your pill bottles, often lowering the potency and making the pills go bad. Or consider moving your medications to another room in the house with less moisture! And finally, make cleaning out your medicine cabinet part of your regular cleaning schedule. This will make it less overwhelming and ensure your cabinet is always clean and safe.

 

Happy Cleaning!

Sources:

Nkf. “6 Tips to Help ‘Spring Clean’ Your Medicine Cabinet.” National Kidney Foundation, 30 Mar. 2018.

“Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet!” Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet! – News & Events.

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Author: Allison Burditt

With a background in Marketing and Communication from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Allison provides reliable and relatable information on health and wellness topics.
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