Works For Me Wednesday- Check Your Medicine Cabinet

wfmw When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Cause apparently around here it was…..never. Seriously, I did it a few weeks ago and found medicine that had an expiration date of 1997. And threw away practically a garbage bag full of stuff that had expired. It was insane.

I would bet that this is a task that falls to the bottom of your priority list. I wouldn’t have thought about it at all, but I was asked to participate in a round table discussion with Josie Bissett who has partnered with Neosporin to teach parents to check for expired medicines and recycle their medicines.

Let me just pause for a moment and say Josie Bissett….SQUEE!!! That would be Jane from Melrose Place. Jane who influenced me to cut my hair short in the 90s that resulted in a 2 year stint with hair dubbed “the mushroom”. But I don’t blame her, she was my favorite on that show and I just wanted to BE her. And now that I have talked to her (again, squee) I am even more impressed. She is ridiculously down to earth for a Hollywood star and even admitted that motherhood can be so overwhelming some days she can’t find time to shower. Hollywood stars are just like us. Well, except for a lot more money in their bank account and a makeup artist.

Neosporin estimates that 40% of people have expired tubes in their medicine cabinet. I am happy to report that my tube was one of the only things that wasn’t expired because we use a lot of it around here. But the problem with cleaning out the medicine cabinet is that you are left with a bunch of medicines that aren’t necessarily safe to dispose of. So Neosporin is partnering with TerraCycle to teach families how to recycle their tubes in a program (they are releasing the details of their program later on this year).

Thankfully, the Food and Drug Administration has released guidelines to dispose of all your expired drugs safely. Some drug bottles will have instructions on them, but I didn’t find this to be true in my medicines. If no instructions are given, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first

  • Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
  • Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

Also contact your local trash and recycling program as they might have specific instructions for your community. Then I have decided that I need to have a regular schedule to check my medicines. Like my birthday. Because this was seriously a bit of a wake up call for me. It would be really scary to give my kids medicine that had gone bad or completely lost its effectiveness. Seriously, go through your medicine. If you feel so bold share your oldest medicine in the comments. I won’t judge (hello 1997!!)

For more tips, head over to We Are That Family.


  1. Yup… I had some meds that expired in the 90’s… horrifying, isn’t it?

    And, I too had the Bissett haircut. Except it was inspired by Chyna Phillips (of Wilson Phillips fame). I wanted to be her too!
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Mom, It’s for You! =-.

  2. I don’t think I had any that old… maybe 2000 when I cleaned mine out a couple weeks ago. However, my bad is that it’s all in a drawer at knee height. :( Thankfully my 2 year old is pretty good about obeying and staying out of the drawer, but I don’t have a higher shelf anywhere in my bathroom to store stuff.

  3. We cleaned out our medicine cabinet when we moved last year. My husband still complains when he looks for something he thought we had and can’t find it.Being a former health-care worker I am diligent on dates, him, well he learned from his mom and when I moved her we found medicine and food so old it was before expiration dates were required…seriously, can we say ewwwww!
    .-= Mama B´s last blog ..God is Bigger than the Boogie Man =-.

  4. I too had meds that expired in the 90’s! I never thought of using my birthday as a reminder to go through all of our medicine. Great tip. Oh..sunscreen also! It has an expiration date as well, we learned that the hard way.
    .-= Dee´s last blog ..Rub A Way =-.

  5. Connie Corey says:

    Like MamaB, I am pretty vigilant. However, my mil is not – both with meds and food. It scares me.

    Thanks for the good reminder!

  6. Thank you! I’ve been wondering about this. A lot of people flush them, but please don’t; I don’t want to drink (and sure don’t want my children drinking) your medications in my water! I wasn’t sure what was an appropriate way to dispose of these things.
    .-= Rachel R.´s last blog ..Helping Children Purge Artwork (WFMW) =-.

  7. Kelli says:

    This is intriguing! I mean, I clean out our medicine cabinet at least once a year, but the disposal part of it is where I’ve been going wrong. Now that I’m a mom, this is really important information to have! Thanks for sharing!
    I’m hosting an apron giveaway over at my blog so make sure you check it out! Details are in the latest post!
    Kelli @ SustainingCreativity

  8. Funny you should talk about this today. My husband had some guys over on Saturday for a poker game, and as we were cleaning up the house, I noticed how many medicine bottles had made their way to the top of our microwave. I went to put them away and then realized how many expired things I was keeping – including painkillers from my c-section (two years ago)! I dumped those suckers in the trash can – and then shoved them down to the bottom – and then took the trash out to the garage – to make sure nobody accidentally got into them!
    .-= Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog ..Compassion, Twitter and a Thanksgiving Carnival =-.

  9. I SO need to do this. This is a great reminder – and I LOVE the idea of picking a specific day a year to do it.
    .-= Sarah @ Short Stop´s last blog ..9 Kitchen Tools I Love =-.

  10. I don’t think we ever clean our medicine cabinet. I don’t anyway. Then again, there’s nothing in there that really needs to be thrown away. Mostly allergy stuff. And I go through that like nothing.

  11. Oh, love the tip about mixing it with something unappealing! Great idea.

  12. Was just thinking…I know one way to make sure NO ONE gets to them – wrap ’em up in a dirty diaper! That is completely disgusting, but hey, it would totally work!
    .-= Amy Andrews´s last blog ..8 Basic Blogging Tools & Tips =-.

  13. Want to see scary? My parents medicine cabinet has medicine from the nineties, no doubt! Great post!
    .-= Heather @ Green Baby Green Mama´s last blog ..Maclaren stollers recalled over finger amputation alert =-.

  14. I really need to do this again soon.

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