The cupboard under the bathroom sink is both an asset and a pain-in-the-asset. It is a peculiar mix of helpful and yet not always practical storage space. If you are anything like me, for the longest time I could never quite decide what I should and should not store there. So, let me help you out with a list of the best stuff to store under the bathroom sink and a list of things you should NEVER put there.
Things to Store Under the Bathroom Sink
1. Cleaning Products and Equipment
I find it helpful to keep the necessary cleaning products in the bathroom. This is also because there are some products that are almost exclusively used in the bathroom, so why not keep them there?
If your cleaning supplies are just under the sink this makes it simple and you are also more likely to use them regularly.
If you are wondering what types of products to store under the sink, then you can stock your choice of:
- Toilet cleaner.
- Sink and/or surface cleaner.
- Drain cleaner.
- Mirror cleaner.
How mirrors end up with marks all the time, I’ll never know. But this does mean that there are benefits to being able to quickly clean it when you notice all the marks and water streaks. It makes those mirror selfies a lot more professional!
Drain cleaner is a treasure to be hoarded in the bathroom. Anyone who lives with longer hair (or who lives with someone with longer hair), will know how that stuff sticks around. And it always seems to clog the drain suddenly. Everything is fine and then wham! Imminent risk of flooding. It helps if a clean drain is only a cupboard door away.
2. Toiletry Spares or Infrequently Used Toiletries
Toiletries are the most frequent item to come across under the bathroom sink. These are the items that don’t warrant a space out in the open because of frequent use.
But for the items and products that you don’t use every day or are spares for your regular routines, then you won’t be caught out by having them out of reach.
It can also be a good place to safely store skincare products. Facial serums are often light-sensitive and should be stored away from constant light. Moreover, these expensive products often come in breakable glass bottles that you don’t really want to have knocked off a counter.
Items and extras such as hand soap, body wash, tide pens, lotions, and contact lenses and solution can easily and conveniently be stored under the sink.
3. Menstrual Products
Menstruation is largely dealt with in the bathroom. Thus, this is the prime location for all of the products as well. Panty pads, menstrual cups and their cleaning kit, tampons, and probably that tide pen are important items in a bathroom cabinet.
Under the sink helps keep them within easy access, but off the surfaces as they are only used for a few days every month.
Another point to this is that most women store period products under the sink, and this means that your friends and family who are having an emergency toilet break will be able to find what they need.
4. Spare Toilet Paper Rolls
Spare toilet rolls are not something you want getting damp, however, that is trumped by the desire to have toilet paper available when the current roll finishes!
Under the sink is a good spot to keep a few extra rolls on hand, even with the risk of the humid environment and potential risk of sink troubles.
My bathroom vanity has a very similar set-up to the one pictured below, and I think that it is a great solution. We keep the extra toilet paper rolls in the drawer, which is in a separate compartment to the sink pipes. So, even if there are leaks, the toilet rolls are safe.
5. Towels, Cloths and Bathmats
Towels, washcloths, sponges, loofas, and bathmats are the foundations of a bathroom. So, it makes sense to keep them in the bathroom. And under the sink could be a good place to keep them.
You get to store them where you need them and there is no back-and-forth for new linens.
The thing with items such as towels, is that should your sink leak they can just be popped in a washing machine and the problem is sorted.
However, if your bathroom suffers from mold and mildew (here is a guide to mold prevention) then I would reconsider storing these things here as they are susceptible to that.
6. Small Trash Bin
Trash bins are very useful in a bathroom. Especially for ladies during menstruation, but there are often bits and pieces to do away with. Clumps of hair, wax strips, razor blades, packaging, empty toothpaste tubes, and a host of other things all need trashing.
You might even consider putting a small recycling bin under the sink for those empty product bottles and cardboard toilet rolls that need recycling.
7. Candles and Torches
I think we’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of your bath/shower (perhaps halfway through shaving your legs or face) and uh oh…the lights go out.
Having candles and torches in the bathroom has immediate benefits for that type of situation.
Perhaps you like to use candles for air refreshing purposes as well. Not only for supplying more pleasant odors, but also for those relaxing baths. In that case, it is also convenient to have your vanilla and sandalwood candles on hand. Don’t forget the matches or lighter though!
8. Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
Sunscreen and insect repellant are handy to have in the bathroom. This means that as you are getting ready to go out you can easily access them especially as you are getting ready, or as the last stop on your way out.
I think it is a helpful place to keep them as these items tend to not have a clearly definable “spot” alongside other categories of product.
9. Underwear and Slippers
After a shower, underwear and slippers are probably the items you would most regret forgetting to bring into the bathroom. So, if you are not the type to rock the towel wrap to the closet, why not consider keeping them in the bathroom?
I sometimes wonder at how hygienic it is to keep a toothbrush out on the counter around a toilet and within the splash zone of the sink.
Maybe it would be better to keep it in a cupboard, which would put a few barriers between the toothbrush and undesirable particles and germs.
Just be careful if you use an electric toothbrush, as you will need to make sure the electrical contact does not end up sitting in a puddle of water if you have some issues with your sink and piping. It might be okay to keep the toothbrush in there as it is designed for wet situations, however, I would consider an alternative location for the charging cable that can be damaged.
Ensure Sink is Properly Installed
If your bathroom sink is not installed properly, for example, if there is a gap between the countertop and the undermount sink, then water can easily get into the bathroom cupboard affecting what can and cannot be stored there. So, make sure that the sink is watertight before packing anything into the bathroom cabinets.
Things NOT to Store Under the Bathroom Sink
1. Electrical Equipment
I would not recommend storing your non-waterproof electric appliances in the bathroom due to the damp and humid environment.
Appliances like hairdryers, flat irons, any sort of light therapy machine for skincare, and electric razors and their chargers, should not be stored under the sink.
Not only can the moisture in a bathroom cause damage to these items, but there is the risk that your sink could leak without your knowledge. If the latter is the case, your appliance can break, and it would be hazardous if you unknowingly still tried to use it!
Some electric razors might be safe to keep in there, but I would check the manufacturer’s recommendations first.
2. Magazines and Books
Under the bathroom sink is not the best place to keep books and magazines. These items are very sensitive to moisture. Even the damp from regular bathroom steam will cause damage.
Not only do water and your books and magazines not mix well, but you would be taking up valuable space under the sink. This space can be better utilized for items and products that you need more immediately within reach in the bathroom.
The most important point here is that as per most directions on medication packaging: medications should be stored in a cool, dry place. The bathroom qualifies as neither and so should not be used to store your medications.
Medications should not be kept in such an easily accessible area as under the sink. This is especially true if you have young children and pets or receive frequent visits from friends and family with young children or pets.
Medications should be kept at a higher level, where there is less risk of inappropriate access.
Your medication is also at risk if there is a problem with your sink or pipes and it leaks into the cupboard.
4. Bath Bombs and Bath Salts
Bath bombs and bath salts are activated by moisture, and while you only use them in the bathroom, storing them under the sink is not the best place.
It is not actually recommended that these be stored in a bathroom at all.
If your sink leaks, you will have quite a mess to sort out, and even the general damp state of a bathroom after a shower is enough to compromise your bath bombs and bath salts.
In addition, you will be risking the growth of bacteria on these products as well if they are constantly encountering moisture.
If you store them in an airtight container, then this will not be a problem and you can keep them wherever you would like to.
Makeup should be stored at room temperature. This means that you should not store your makeup under the sink, or in the bathroom at all.
The moisture, heat, and significant temperature changes that routinely occur in a bathroom can be damaging to your makeup products and compromise the hygiene of your products and tools.
You really don’t want to find your favorite bronzer has got damp and is now clumping. Nor do you want to find that the wet environment has changed the color or texture of any of your products.
This would also encourage the growth of bacteria on brushes, sponges, and powders. It could compromise the preservation agents in your makeup that help to keep it safe for use during the product’s shelf life. You do not want to put that on your face!
You might like to take your jewelry off or put it on directly before or after a shower, but don’t give in to the temptation to store your jewelry below your bathroom sink.
Jewelry should ideally be stored somewhere that is both dry and cool. By storing your jewelry in the bathroom, it will tarnish faster. This is because of the temperature fluctuations and humidity that promote the oxidization process.
Even though jewelry is generally sensitive to light for tarnishing, making the dark under-sink cupboard look like a good spot, there are other places outside of the bathroom that don’t involve the risk of water damage and wear.
Perfume is another item that should be kept out of the bathroom. It should be stored at room temperature.
The heat and humidity in the bathroom expedite oxidization and disturb the delicate balance of chemistry in your perfume formula. What this means is that your perfume will not survive long and the scent will spoil or sour.
While this list is pretty universal, depending on your vanity and factors like, whether it is attached to the bathroom wall or not, will also influence what you should and shouldn’t store under the bathroom sink.
Related article: Pros and Cons of a Rectangular Bathroom Sink