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How to Clean out Your Medicine Chest

Don't put off cleaning your medicine chest any longer when it's so crowded there isn't room for one more bottle of aspirin.


  • Step 1: Empty cabinet Empty your medicine cabinet, placing its contents on a table or counter.
  • Step 2: Clean cabinet Clean the inside, outside, shelves, and doors of the cabinet, using a small amount of household cleaner in water and a sponge or rag.
  • Step 3: Sort contents and wipe them Sort the contents into the basic categories of medicine, skin care, toiletries, and cosmetics. Use your sponge or rag with the cleaner to clean the outside of each item.
  • Step 4: Examine and separate Examine each item and set aside those that are old or are past their expiration date. Throw away expired antibiotics.
  • TIP: Skin care items, makeup, and toiletries degrade over time, so dispose of items a year old or older including items that have never been opened.
  • Step 5: Put contents back in cabinet Put everything back in the cabinet, keeping them sorted by category.
  • Step 6: Dispose of medicine Take special precautions for disposing of drugs and check with your city or state sanitation department for disposal instructions.
  • Step 7: Take special steps to throw out drugs For medicines safe to throw in the trash, add water to pills and flour or kitty litter to liquid medicines. Keep prescriptions in their original containers, tape their lids, place them in the brown paper bag, and dispose of them.
  • FACT: A stream in India, polluted by waste from 90 drug factories in the area, was found to contain enough of an antibiotic to treat a population of 90,000.

You Will Need

  • Basic household cleaner
  • A sponge or rag
  • Flour or kitty litter
  • A black marker
  • Duct or masking tape
  • A brown paper bag
  • Hair elastic or clip

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