Accidentally Put Insulin In The Washing Machine

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not insulin that has been put through the washer is still safe to use.

Question

I washed a bottle of Novolog insulin (punctured by needle only once) in the cold water cycle by accident because it was in my pocket. Is it still ok to use? I do not see any discoloration or cloudiness to the insulin

Asked by vfarmer On Mar 21, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Mar 24, 2018

There is no way to know if the Novolog is safe and effective to still use without actual testing of that particular vial or cartridge.  For this reason, the Novolog needs to be discarded and a new vial or cartridge used.  


If it is not time for a refill of your Novolog under insurance, there are a couple of things that you can do that may help with the cost of a replacement medication. 

  • Contact your prescription drug insurance to see if your plan has a refill too soon override.  Many plans build into their plan design an override for the pharmacy in cases where patients are going on vacation or the medication has been lost or stolen.  Often, there is a limit to how many times this override can be requested of available. Patients will still be responsible for their copay.
  • If you do not have drug insurance or no override is available to you, contact your doctor's office to see if they have any samples of Novolog or a coupon.  Many drug manufacturers offer coupons for their products that can help cover the cost of the medication.
  • Check to see if you qualify for Novolog's Cornerstones4Care program.  This program offers patient education and cost savings to qualified patients.


Since there is no way to verify the safety of the Novolog bottle that went through the washing machine, it is best to dispose of the medication.  

About the Pharmacist

Ms. Jennifer Hauder RPh

Jennifer Hauder is a registered pharmacist in the state of Illinois. She has over 10 years experience as a pharmacist in the retail and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) settings. She became a pharmacist due to her interest in healthcare and the opportunity to help others with their healthcare needs. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and two black labs Lucky and Charms.

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