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, closets, and medicine cabinet.
1. Check the expiration date on your medicines.
If your medicine has expired, it may not provide the treatment you need.
- The expiration date can be found printed on the label or stamped onto the bottle or carton, sometimes following “EXP.”
- Using expired medical products is risky and possibly harmful to your health.
2. Check before you toss or flush medicines.
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. If you cannot get to a prescription drug take back location promptly, there are none near you, and your medicine is on the FDA flush list, your next best option is to immediately flush these potentially dangerous medicines down the toilet.
- Check out the Medication Disposal Q&A for more information about flushing.
- Learn how to properly dispose of old, unused, unwanted, or expired medicine.
Follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
- Throw the container in your household trash
- Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable and then dispose of them.
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.
Did You Know: Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion in food each year.
4. Check to see if your cosmetics are stored properly.
A cosmetic product may go bad if you store it in the wrong way—for example, in a place that is too warm or too moist. The law does not require cosmetics to have an expiration date, but, marking the container with the date you open a cosmetic may help you keep track of the age of your cosmetics.
BONUS TIPS - FOODS
- 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 Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart includes safe storage times for many widely-used foods.
Other Resources from FDA
- Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Shelf Life
- Food Facts for Consumers
- Food Safety: Importance for At-Risk Groups
- Four Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Be Food Safe
- Medication Safety for Women