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Gert's Dirt: Working toward a clean home

Donna Bellino

for the Lake County News-Chronicle

Beating the busy bathroom blues

0 Talk about it

Other than the obvious reason to “go” there, bathroom visitors shower, shave, apply make-up, pluck, tease, blow-dry, spray, brush teeth and take medications in these small rooms, making it one of the hardest working places in the house. It can also be one of the messiest. Here are some tips to keep your bathroom neat and clean.

Countertop and sink area

• Sort through make-up and toss anything that is unused, has gone out of style or looks spoiled. Here are some guidelines on the shelf life of make-up.

Mascara — three months

Eye pencil — two years

Eye shadow powder — two years

Eye shadow liquid — one year

Lipstick — two years

Blush — two years

Foundation —18 months - two years.

• Remember to always close the lids to keep the germs out of your make up and wash your make-up brushes frequently.

• Place make-up and personal care items in a caddy or bag that can be stowed under the sink or on a closet shelf. Be sure to return the bag or caddy to its place after each use.

• Store your toothbrush out in the open in an upright position. A cup works well for this purpose, but try to have a cup where toothbrushes don’t touch each other. Keep the toothbrush cup at least three feet from the toilet and not too close to the hand washing area. A toothbrush splashed with dirty water can spread germs.

Medicine Cabinet

The medicine cabinet is the worst place to store medication. Medications don’t keep well in heat and moisture. Here are some tips about medication storage.

• Keep medications out of the reachof children. Children can be poisoned with overdoses of vitamins, aspirin or acetaminophen. These are just a few commonly used medicines that people seldom realize can be deadly. Be diligent about keeping antidepressants out of reach of teens.

• Keep medications in their original child-proof containers so they’re inaccessible to little ones and easily identified.

• Always close medicine container and store them in a cool, dark, dry place.

• If a medication has changed color, texture, odor or shape, dispose of it. Dispose of medications by mixing them with coffee grounds or kitty litter before placing them in the trash. You may also take them to your pharmacy for disposal.

• Expired eye drops or liquid suspensions should be discarded.

So what should you keep in the medicine cabinet? A well supplied bathroom cabinet should be stocked with bandages, first aid items, antibacterial ointment and sun screen, with aloe for burn treatment. I keep my contact lens solution there, too. A magnetic strip that has adhesive on one side can be stuck to the inside of your medicine cabinet door. Tweezers, scissors, and nail clippers will be held in place by the magnet and you’ll always know where to find them.

If you don’t have much room for towels or toilet paper, place these items in a basket or on an open shelf.

Get a magazine rack for periodicals and take out expired reading materials when you bring in new issues.

The Shower

I love a shower caddy and they’re available in many sizes, shapes and styles. There’s sure to be one out there to fit your needs and budget. Some fit over the side wall of the shower stall and some over the water spout. Place your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, razors and other necessary items in the caddy for easy access. To keep your shower clean between scrubbing, use a squeegee on the walls and door after each use.

I hope these tips have given you some ideas about making your bathroom a better place for all the things we do there!

Donna Bellino is a nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally Clean!