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  1. Women's Health Topics

3 Spring Cleaning Tips


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Spring is the time when many women decide to clean the house and throw out unwanted items. Read these tips before you clean out your kitchen and medicine cabinet.

1. Check the date. Expiration dates matter.

Check the expiration date on your medicine. If your medicine has expired, it may not provide the treatment you need.



  • A Sell by date indicates that a product should not be sold after that date if the buyer is to have it at its best quality.

  • A Use by or Best by date is the maker’s estimate of how long a product will keep at its best quality. They are quality dates only, not safety dates. If stored properly, a food product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality after its Use by or Best by date.


  • The law does not require cosmetics to have an expiration date.

  • Marking the container with the date you open a cosmetic may help you keep track of the age of your cosmetics.




2. Check before you toss.

Some medicines should not be thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet. Check the medicine label or the other information that comes with the medicine for instructions on how to safely get rid of expired or unused medicines.

  • You can take unwanted prescription drugs to a DEA-authorized collection site. Visit the DEA’s website to find a site in your area.

  • Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless the medicine labeling specifically tells you to do so. This list from FDA tells you which medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed.

Follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

  1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds

  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag

  3. Throw the container in your household trash

  4. Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.




3. Check the temperature on your refrigerator.

Chilling stored foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of dangerous bacteria. Set your fridge at 40°F and freezer at 0°F.

Other Tips to Help Keep Your Refrigerator Safe

  • Don’t pack too much food in the fridge or freezer.  Cold air must circulate around refrigerated foods to keep them properly chilled.

  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.  This will help reduce the growth of the Listeria bacteria. It can also help prevent bacteria from spreading from one food to another.

  • Store foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags, and check leftovers daily for spoilage. Check the recommended storage times on this refrigerator and freezer storage chart.


Did You Know: Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion in food each year.


Other Resources from FDA