How to clean your medicine cabinet

You'll be amazed at what you'll find inside your medicine cabinet. (And maybe a bit scared, too.)

Really give thought to what you store here.

Try to reserve that precious, accessible medicine-cabinet space for items you use most frequently, not the Pepto-Bismol you only take on New Year's Day.

Otherwise, you're wasting your most convenient storage space. You'll be surprised at the number of items you can store elsewhere.

Here's how to clean your medicine cabinet to free up precious storage space and keep your family safe.

Mastering the Medicine Cabinet

To clean your medicine cabinet, start by removing each item inside, and check the labels carefully. Many of us treat medications too casually.

Some medicine labels specify storage in a cool, dark place, not the bathroom, due to its inherent humidity.

 Light, heat, or humidity may damage medications. Humid bathrooms are not the ticket for these. 

Consider placing these medicines in a secure drawer the kids can't reach in your bedroom closet, or on a high shelf in a hall closet. 

Clear Your Medicine Cabinet of Expired Items

As you're going through the medicine cabinet, also look carefully at expiration dates. Toss what's expired or no longer used, as well as any toiletries you've had for longer than two years, including shampoos, lotions, and makeup, and soap. 

Bacteria and fungi can contaminate lotions and cosmetics over time. And expired medicines and vitamins lose their potency. (Ditto for sunscreens, by the way.)

Discard medications where children cannot find them. Do not toss them casually into the bathroom wastebasket.  Flush them down the toilet or put them at the bottom of the trash can when you take it outside on garbage pickup day.

Store Medication in Original Containers

Store medications in their original containers. Don't repackage them as you would food. It's important that you have the medication's original label so you can check dosages, expiration dates, and other safety information. 

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