Medicine Cabinet

How often should you clean out a medicine cabinet? And what do you do with expired medicines and supplements? 

Can you clean medicine cabinets as part of an upsell?

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

How Often Should You Clean Out a Medicine Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet, Woman Looking at Bottle of Pills in Medicine CabinetHow often should you clean out a medicine cabinet, and what do you do if you have expired medicines and supplements? It’s best to do it on a regular basis. How often? Probably once a quarter, which is four times a year. You’re going to take the things out, put them so that they are visible, and you can see what’s in there.

You may even want to take inventory depending on how you do the job. If you have vitamins, minerals and supplements that are inside your cabinet, and you don’t know they’re there, and you don’t take them out, they can’t help you. You have to know what’s in your medicine cabinet in order for them to help you.

Methods to Take Customer’s Medicine Out

Medicine Cabinet, Daily Pill CaseNow, one of the quick methods on how to take them is to use little containers that have the days of the week on them.  Lots of people have them and they put their vitamins inside each day and that reminds them to take those vitamins on those days.  It keeps it organized.

In my household, that’s a little bit different. I buy bead bags from the bead department at Walmart. These are two-inch by three-inch bags. They are resealable and reusable. I put them all out on the counter, and then I put all the vitamins in them.

Then I pour them in these little bead bags, and I tape them with some scotch tape on the fronts of the lunch boxes that go out for the day. Every day, everybody may get one or two of these packages, depending on if they’re morning or afternoon vitamins and supplements.

The reason that we do this is so that they are accessible and in front of our minds because if you don’t have them, you’re not going to take them. This is where a lot of people get into trouble, they buy expensive supplements and then they don’t take them. Then they sit in the cabinets and they expire.

What Does it Mean When Medicine Expires?

Medicine Cabinet, Woman and Man with Bottle of Pills in HandWhat does it mean if they expire, and how long after the expiration date can you take them? This is a great question, and the answer is the Food and Drug Administration does not need supplements to have an expiration date.

Supplements are not required to have an expiration date. There are some medications that do need it, but for most supplements, it’s not required. There was military research that was done that showed that 90% out of 100 over the counter prescriptions and supplements were still effective after 15 years after the expiration date.

Now, it depends on what’s inside them and the pH levels of the supplements themselves. Then also if any direct sunlight, oxygen or moisture has come to them.  If they are sealed in airtight containers and they have oxidized containers like they’re blocked, then the sun can’t get in, then they should probably last.

Keep the Original Packaging for Your Containers

Medicine Cabinet, Pharmacist with Bottle of Pills in HandIt is recommended you keep the original packaging for your containers when you store them in your medicine cabinets.  This give you some form of documentation.

Now, the documentation is usually a piece of paper that shows the date that you bought it, what it was and what it’s for. Because there’s a certain reason you take a supplement. You don’t take them for no good reasons.

When and if in the event that you ever have to go to the emergency room and there’s emergency surgery, you can hand the note with all the prescriptions, or the medications, or the supplements to the doctor and they can fast check that against any prescriptions they’re going to give you to make sure that there’s no conflict. You definitely want to make sure that there is documentation of some sort.

I Don’t Recommend Cleaning Their Medicine Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet, Medicine Bottles and PillsAs a house cleaner, I don’t recommend cleaning customer’s medicine cabinets. You can wipe everything down and you can leave everything there, but I recommend that every homeowner do this for themselves.

Then they’ll know what they own, what they have, what the purpose of that particular supplement or prescription is.

That way in the event that they either want to toss it or they want to give that information to their doctor, they have that information on hand.

How to Toss Medicine From the Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet, Garbage TruckSo the next thing is if you have to toss medicine if it’s too old, if you’re uncomfortable taking it or you’re going to get rid of it.  But, how do you do that? Throwing it in the trash is not a good idea, because pets and kids can get in your trash. And they can go through that and then perhaps take them, or overdose on them, or whatever.

Now it is recommended to mix expired prescriptions or supplements that you’re going to toss with expired ground coffee, or cat litter. That way when you mix it up, it’s nasty and nobody will want to eat it.  Then you put it inside a sealed bag, and place it inside your trash.

That way it will be tossed out properly with the trash and it will not get confused and somebody won’t take that from your trash. Because we know that some kids have done crazy things. You want to make sure that you go to all precautions to make sure that this does not get in the hands of the wrong person.

Store Medicines in a Dark Quiet Space

Medicine Cabinet, Man Looking at Bottle of Pills in Medicine CabinetAlways, store your supplements and medicines in a dark, quiet place away from the kitchen and the bathrooms, that way there is no moisture, no sunlight, and it will be kept away from the temptations of kids and whoever goes to your bathroom.

That’s also a place where people go to look. Let’s say that you have a house cleaner, and she goes and looks in there. She’s not going to find that because it’s kept in a different place.

I do recommend you keep your supplements, vitamins and your prescriptions away from other family members. You might even want to keep them behind lock and key so that they are not readily accessible to a teenager who may have a friend that comes over and steals them from your house. I know, that’s happened too.

Make Sure You Protect Your Medicine Cabinets

Medicine Cabinet, Dog in Trash BinYou want to make sure that you protect your medicine cabinets, keep your eye on them, take care of them, and that you use them. Because if you have them, they’re there for a purpose. They’re designed for use.

The medicines, prescriptions and, the supplements that you have, if you don’t take them, they don’t help you. Sitting in a cabinet, out of sight, out of mind does not help you.

There has to be some kind of a system in which you use them, discard them properly, store them properly, and you recycle them on a regular basis.000 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Bar 2020Resources

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