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The dos and don’ts of storing medicine and vitamins
The dos and don’ts of storing medicine and vitamins

The dos and don’ts of storing medicine and vitamins

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


To store medicine and vitamins in the bathroom or not to store them in the bathroom: that is the question. The medicine cabinet is a staple feature of bathrooms in early 19th century homes, but should we keep our medicine and vitamins there? Doctors and government institutions agree, including the Medline Plus website: Don’t store pharmaceuticals in the bathroom. That is the answer. Read on to find out why. 

According to the FDA, medicine and vitamins need to be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. That’s about the opposite of a common bathroom, where temperatures fluctuate and humidity is high.  


Storage conditions are important because it impacts how well medicine and vitamins work, and because the interaction between the pharmaceutical and heat or moisture can result in toxicity when not stored correctly, according to an article from the International Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical and Biological Research. For example, in a study on Vitamin E products, the potency was reduced by almost 50% after five hours of exposure to sunlight. 


No need to get overwhelmed though. This simple list of dos and don’ts for storing household medicine and vitamins will help clarify: 


  • Find a cool, dark, dry place to store pharmaceuticals, such as in a closet or dresser drawer. 

  • Keep them in their original container and remove the cotton ball, which can hold moisture. 

  • Store them out of reach and sight of children, or somewhere they can be locked up. 

  • Follow the instructions on the label for storage conditions and shelf life. 



  • Keep medicine and vitamins in the refrigerator unless the label specifically instructs refrigerated storage. 

  • Store them in a room with heat and humidity, such as the bathroom or kitchen. 

  • Ignore the instructions on the label regarding shelf life and storage conditions. 

  • Leave them out somewhere easy for a child to grab. Approximately 35,000 young children are sent to the emergency department annually because they got a hold of medicine. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.