9 items never to store in a bathroom vanity – according to the experts

The items you didn't know were being damaged by being kept in your bathroom vanity

Bathroom vanity
(Image credit: Future / Aaron Leitz / Future)

Bathroom vanities are one of the best storage options any bathroom has to offer, which is why we end up storing any and all bathroom supplies in them. However, due to the fluctuating temperatures and humidities in bathrooms, there are some items that should never be stored in a bathroom vanity.

More than in any other room, items stored in a bathroom will be exposed to high levels of moisture, which means when organizing a bathroom vanity – and organizing a bathroom generally – you need to consider how the items stored in it will fare.

Our experts have advised the top items that should never be stored in a bathroom vanity to avoid causing them damage and potentially posing a safety hazard.

Items never to store in a bathroom vanity

When organizing a bathroom vanity, there are a few items that homeowners always make the mistake of storing in their vanities.

If bathroom vanities are not moisture-proofed, these bathroom essentials will pay the price, and unfortunately so might you.

1. Medications and supplements

Double bathroom vanity in apartment bathroom with bath and view of city behind

(Image credit: Studio Ashby)

Although bathroom vanities may seem the most suitable place to keep medication and vitamins to keep them on hand for your daily routines, 'Bathrooms often have fluctuating humidity and temperature levels, which can affect the potency and shelf life of medications,' advises Nathaly Vieira founder of Inspire Clean.

If the conditions of your bathroom impact your medication's potency this can be a costly mistake that can have health repercussions, which is why you should never store medication in your bathroom vanity.

Suzanne Butler, Feng Shui & Manifestation Expert from Harmonising Energies Feng Shui suggests, 'It is a much better idea for all medications to be kept in a sealed container away from both the bathroom and little fingers. Keeping them located together also allows you to keep expiry dates in check.’

Nathaly Vieira
Nathaly Vieira

Nathaly Vieira is a professional cleaner and founder of Inspire Clean, a cleaning company full of cleaning tips and advice. Based in the US, the company aims to reach people in the Niagara region, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Mississauga, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo.

2. Perfume and cologne

Space-saving orange bathroom with plastered walls

(Image credit: Beata Heuman / Simon Brown)

Tabatha Farnel, founder of Aroma Authority advises: 'The most common mistake people make when storing fragrances is storing them in the bathroom vanity. While the convenience of having your favorite perfume within arm's reach as you prepare for the day is appealing, storing perfume in a bathroom vanity can have detrimental effects on its quality and longevity.

'The variations in temperature and humidity can cause the delicate chemical balance within your perfume to break down over time, altering its aroma and reducing its shelf life.

Ralph Abundo, Operations Specialist at Canberra Bond Cleaning warns, 'These items can also catch fire and cause the vanity to become discolored or stained.'

'Rather than the bathroom vanity, store your fragrances in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations,' suggests Tabatha Farnel.

Ralph Abundo
Ralph Abundo

Ralph Abundo is the Director of Canberra Bond Cleaning. They understand the importance of clean, working appliances. Their bond-back cleaning services include deep degreasing and sanitizing ovens to meet lease-end inspection standards.

3. Electronics

bathroom with geometric floor and wall tiles

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

As with items not to store in a bathroom cabinet, 'Avoid storing hairdryers, straighteners, or electric razors in your vanity. The moisture and heat can be detrimental to their electronic components,' says Cyble Rizwan, content marketer at Persimmon Design.

Unless electronic items are waterproof they should not even be stored in your bathroom, let alone your bathroom vanity where direct water damage is more likely. This mistake can not only be dangerous but also costly. 

Cyble Rizwan suggests, 'Instead, designate a separate storage area or install a moisture-resistant drawer.'

When designing a bathroom vanity, you can use a high-quality polyurethane sealant on your bathroom vanity drawers to make it moisture resistant. This colorless liquid finish can be found in gloss or matte options. You can find clear polycrylic water-based protective finish on Amazon.

4. Paper products

Dark green bathroom vanity with dark wall behind

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Although it's unavoidable to have toilet roll in your bathroom, paper products don't fare well with moisture, so avoid storing paper items in your bathroom vanity, such as books, toilet rolls and tissues.

Karina Toner at Spekless Cleaning warns, 'Don't store toilet paper or tissue boxes in the bathroom vanity. Keeping them in the vanity poses a risk of the paper products getting wet when using the sink, leaving your paper products more prone to tearing, which can be both inconvenient and wasteful. 

'Keep them in a dry storage area nearby like inside a sealed cabinet for better preservation while still maintaining accessibility.'

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.

5. Makeup and cosmetics

A wood bathroom vanity in a bright bathroom

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

'High humidity can cause makeup to deteriorate faster and become a breeding ground for bacteria,' comments Cyble Rizwan. Humidity will cause products to expire more rapidly and can break down key ingredients, causing makeup to crack or clump.

This is especially true when storing makeup in bathroom vanities with poor ventilation which allows moisture to become trapped. Cyble Rizwan suggests, 'Consider a dedicated makeup organizer or vanity drawer with proper ventilation,' to prevent this being an issue. You can see our guide for the best vanity organizers to guide your choice.

If you still want to keep makeup in your bathroom vanity, we recommend this vanity planet baia beauty bag from Anthropologie to keep makeup stored in a vanity protected.

6. Candles

Bathroom vanity blue tile pattern

(Image credit: Future)

Cyble Rizwan says, 'While they can add ambiance, candles can become soft or misshapen in warm, humid conditions.' Nathaly Vieira adds, 'Humidity can affect the quality and burn time of candles,' which is why we recommend storing them in a cool, dry place, and only bring them out when needed.

7. Jewelry

Bathroom vanity

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Cyble Rizwan, content marketer at Persimmon Design advises, 'While it might be convenient to store jewelry in your vanity, moisture can tarnish metals and damage gemstones over time. Invest in a jewelry organizer or box to keep your precious pieces safe.' We recommend this JOYBOS jewelry box organizer from Amazon to help prevent moisture damage. 

8. Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Bathroom vanity

(Image credit: Future)

'Keeping your toothbrush and toothpaste in the vanity exposes them to germs and bacteria from the sink,' says Angela Rubin, Owner of Hellamaid. The moisture in a bathroom can promote the growth of bacteria on the toothbrush bristles. 

Instead, store toothbrushes in an upright position in a clean, dry area. Angela Rubin suggests, 'A covered toothbrush holder on the countertop is a more hygienic choice.'

Angela Rubin
Angela Rubin

Hellamaid is an award-winning cleaning company in Canada that's been featured on multiple global media brands.

9. Items that can cause mold or mildew

Parveen Garg from Ola Clean warns, 'Bathrooms are often humid, which can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Avoid storing items like wet towels and clothes in your bathroom vanity.' 

Let items dry fully before storing them in your bathroom vanity, otherwise this can damage the items as well as your bathroom vanity and its contents. Suzanne Butler adds, 'Ensuring that towels are 100% dry before putting them away prevents musty smells and avoids creating a damp environment both energetically and physically.'


How to protect your bathroom vanity from moisture?

Sealants can be used to prevent moisture and humidity from damaging the items in your bathroom vanity drawers and cabinets. Sealants with waterproofing properties include polyurethane, varnish, and lacquer which can be brushed on sprayed into sanded wood.

How to ensure your bathroom vanity remains sanitary?

Other items that typically reside in a vanity or bathroom storage in general, can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold if not taken care of regularly. Suzanne Butler, Feng Shui & Manifestation Expert says, 'Tweezers, nail clippers, and especially facial deplaning tools should be disinfected on a regular basis and stored away from humidity. A small container placed in a drawer for these items is a perfect solution and you won’t be constantly rummaging looking for the implement you need.'

Remember, it's important to consider the specific conditions of your bathroom and the storage options available when deciding where to keep certain items. Ensuring your bathroom and vanity are well-ventilated is key to keeping the majority of items in good condition, but where possible avoid storing perishable and valuable items that are not moisture and humidity-resistant.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.