Many of our daily habits are related to our daily bath or shower. So no wonder we keep all kinds of things we use every day and associate with grooming, cleaning and maintaining our health, in our bathroom.
However, the damp and warm environment of a bathroom isn’t great for many of the items we typically keep in there. That’s not surprising. But wait until you know what these items are—you might need to change your entire morning routine!
What, no medication in the bathroom? But it’s called a “medicine cabinet”!
Heat and humidity can damage your medicine and reduce its effectiveness, or make it go bad before its best-by date. Yes, even typical over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen are damaged by the hot and humid environment of your bathroom.
The alternative? Store your pills in your bedroom in a dresser drawer, in a closer, or in the kitchen far from the stove, the sink, the fridge, or any other heat or humidity source.
If health is your first priority, you should definitely have condoms. However, keeping them in the bathroom is definitely a bad idea.
Heat and humidity can deteriorate condoms—that’s why it’s never recommended to keep them in your back pocket, for example. So why keep them in bathroom? You run the risk of using condoms that can’t protect you against STIs or unwanted pregnancies.
For condoms that work like they’re supposed to, keep them in your night table drawer. They’ll be easier to reach when you need them, anyway!
Razors and razor blades
Here’s one that makes little sense: why shouldn’t I keep my razor in my bathroom? After all, I only use it when I’m in the shower or bath!
Well, if you want to use your razors longer and get a better shave, you’re better off keeping your razors somewhere else. The humidity will oxidize (or rust) the razor blades and dull them.
After each use, you should dry your razor and put it somewhere cool and dry. If you insist on keeping it in the bathroom, you can put it in an airtight plastic bag between uses.
Wait, what? Another common bathroom item that shouldn’t be kept in the bathroom? But where else would I keep my toothbrush?
Think about it. Every time you flush, you expel gross particles from the bowl into the air. Every time you leave a wet toothbrush in the humid environment of the bathroom, you encourage bacteria to grow in it.
Not exactly the clean teeth brushing you expect, right?
The first thing is, you should always put down the toilet lid when you flush. That’s just common sense. But you should also keep your toothbrush away from the bathroom to lower the amount of bacteria that grow there.
Maybe in your bedroom or in the hallway, along with your medication? That way, you can remember to brush your teeth every time you take your daily medication.
Makeup and makeup brushes
The mirror in the bathroom is a very practical reason why we keep our makeup there. But the bathroom is the last place where makeup should remain.
Sure, you can put on your makeup there, but once you’re done, you should move it to a dry, cool place whose temperature is stable. The constant temperature changes as well as the humid environment can break down your makeup (especially liquids and gels) and shorten its shelf life.
Given how expensive makeup is, storing it in a cool, dry place is your best bet.
As for your makeup brushes, it’s the same idea as for toothbrushes: the humid environment can promote the growth of bacteria and fungi. Keep your brushes with your makeup, away from the bathroom.
If you’re a nail polish fanatic, you probably already know this trick: keep your polish bottles in the refrigerator rather than the bathroom. Keeping it at room temperature also works.
The heat of the bathroom will break down your nail polish and make it unusable; the cold fridge makes it last for much longer. However, the cold makes your nail polish thicker; just make sure to shake your polish and leave it to warm up to room temperature before you use it.
Do you keep your favorite earrings in your bathroom? Maybe you should reconsider this habit… especially if your jewelry is made up of real gold, silver, or other precious metals.
As you can imagine, jewelry does not do well in a humid environment. Metals tarnish faster in humid environments than dry ones. So once you’re home and in your PJs, do yourself a favor and put your jewelry back into your jewelry box, which is ideally located in your bedroom.
Perfumes usually sit next to the medicine bottles in the cabinet—but then again, they shouldn’t.
In fact, keeping your perfume in your bathroom actually hastens its oxidization—i.e. oxygen taking the chemicals apart and making your perfume go bad. Usually, a bottle lasts up to two years, but it will last less than that if you keep it in the humid bathroom environment.
Solution? Keep in your bedroom, along with, well, everything else at this point.
You should only bring a towel in the bathroom when you’re headed for a bath or shower, and then leave it to dry somewhere else.
Because towels absorb the humidity in the room and can begin to smell before you’ve even used it, especially if you store them in a cupboard in the bathroom.
The solution? Just bring one in, dry yourself, then hang it to dry somewhere else. And keep your towels in a linen closet away from the bathroom.
Everything in its place
It seems counter-productive to put so many of these things away from your bathroom, where you usually use them. But if you care about the effectiveness of your medication or the lifespan of cosmetics and grooming products, you should follow this advice. Bonus: you’ll save a ton of money on makeup and razor blade replacements!