5 Tips for Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinets

Thinking about doing some spring cleaning over the next few weeks? Chances are that cleaning out your medicine cabinet isn’t on your list of projects. But, it should be. Oftentimes, people keep unused medication to have “on call” in case of an emergency for a future need. In actuality, those medications are not intended for future use and also could be expired. With National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinets Day approaching on April 17, now is a great time to take a look at wherever you store your medications and dispose of any that are unwanted, unused, or expired.  

Here are 5 important guidelines for cleaning your cabinets properly. 

  1. Check the Dates: Examine all medications, ointments, supplements, and vitamins in your medicine cabinet or where you keep your medicine. It is important to set aside any medication that has expired and dispose of it properly. Expired medications could be ineffective or toxic, so be aware of expiration dates. 
  2. One Year Out? Toss It Out! As a rule of thumb, discard any prescription medications that are more than one year old. 
  3. Look For Any Discoloration or Ill Odors: Direct sunlight can affect medications dramatically. If any medications have faded, changed color, or have an ill odor, properly dispose of this medication. 
  4. No Name? No Way! Properly dispose of any unmarked prescription medications, ointments, vitamins, and supplements. It is important to always keep medications in their original containers so that you can easily recognize every medication. 
  5. Properly Dispose of Collected Medication: There are many ways to properly dispose of medications. Many people do not realize that throwing medications in a trash bin without treating is not an approved disposal method. Recommended approved methods: 
    1. Use DisposeRx packets to dispose of the medications properly. By using DisposeRx, your medication will be rendered unusable before it gets thrown in the trash.  Follow these instructions to learn how to properly use DisposeRx. 
    2. Use pre-approved collection sites: These sites can be found in many locations throughout your community. To find one near you, visit the DEA Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations locator.