Why Do Some Old Houses Have Slits in the Medicine Cabinet?

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Take a second to look inside your medicine cabinet. If there's a slit within the cabinet, your home ​might​ have a pile of old razor blades inside the wall. Yikes.


During the early 20th century, people would primarily use safety razors — instead of the plastic razors with replaceable blade cartridges that are used today — to fulfill their shaving needs at home. In 1903, Gillette released the first safety razor, which the brand describes as a "thin, strong, sharp double-edge blade attached to a reusable handle."

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While the safety razor provided a more home-based shaving experience, there was a significant problem: What were people supposed to do with the used blades? Due to the sharpness of the blades and potential contamination, it wouldn't make sense to throw them in the trash. That's why, according to ​Reader's Digest​, the back of the medicine cabinet gained a slit for razor blade disposal during the 1950s.


In other words, the razor blades were being disposed of within the house's walls.

Thankfully, there are now other ways to dispose of razor blades. For instance, safety razor brands like Albatross have a take-back program for used blades that can be upcycled. Terracycle has a similar initiative in collaboration with Gillette and Venus. Plus, your town might even have a razor blade disposal program so that you're not just tossing the blades into the garbage where they could potentially hurt someone.

So if you have a slit in your medicine cabinet, you might just have some razor blades lying inside your wall.



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