Tampons in a toilet

Can You Flush Tampons Down the Toilet?

All the ladies have been there – the tempting convenience of getting rid of a used tampon by just flushing it down the toilet seems like the quickest and easiest solution. But, can you flush tampons down the toilet? Doing something like that is not recommended. To learn more, keep reading: 


Flushing or Throwing it Away? 

Those who prefer to dispose of tampons by throwing them into their “porcelain thrones” and flushing them down typically do so because they’re concerned with the unpleasant smell a used tampon may leave when it ends up in the trash bin. 

This is particularly true when one has to use a public restroom, where the trash bins rarely have liners – no ladies really want to leave an unpleasant smell (and sight) behind themselves. In such cases, flushing the tampon may seem like the best option. 

However, once we take into account the number of potential issues such an action could cause, we come to a conclusion that flushing tampons – whether at home or in public restrooms – may not be the best way to dispose of these menstrual products. 

The most obvious problem is the fact that tampons can easily cause clogging in the pipeworks. And clogging the toilet won’t only give you a headache but it also may force you to reach deep into your pocket if you want to have this issue solved as quickly as possible. 

If you are also asking yourself if you can flush dental floss or cat litter down the toilet, the answer is also no. The same goes for baby wipes.

Tampons and Clogged Toilets

Woman removing tampons from a toilet

A lot of ladies think they can flush down as many tampons as they want as long as they don’t have a septic system. If you don’t know what a septic system is, that would be a single and separate sewer system owned by the homeowner. But if your pipework is a part of a larger sewer system, that means that the only people responsible for it are the ones in the government. 

A vast majority of septic systems are not capable of dealing with a lot of sanitary waste. For that matter, it’s crucial that you never flush used tampons down your toilet. However, that’s something you should avoid doing even if your home’s pipework is connected to the local sewer system. 

The reason behind that is quite simple: tampons don’t break down. While you may think that this can’t be said for biodegradable tampons, the truth is that even those take a lot of time to disintegrate, much more so than toilet paper. In other words, these menstrual products never break down while they’re traveling through the pipework. 

As you already know, the purpose of a tampon is to absorb liquid and expand, which is precisely what turns into one of the worst items you could flush down your toilet. So, to sum it up, tampons can create severe issues in the pipework and the septic system. But did you know that they’re also very bad for the environment? 

If they don’t get stuck in the sewage pipes, tampons can easily end up in oceans, lakes, rivers, creeks, and streams. Often, they will be fully intact and will take a long time to break down, harming the environment in the process. 

So, How Should I Dispose of Tampons Then?

Garbage can in a bathroom

The answer to this question is as simple as it can be – just throw your used tampons into the garbage bin. 

Many public restrooms have special tampon disposal bins inside stalls. But in case there isn’t one – or if you’re not in a public restroom – take some toilet paper, wrap your tampon with it, and throw the entire thing into the first trash bin you bump into. 

The Alternatives to Tampons 

In case you’re not really a fan of tampons (or waste), consider the following, more sustainable alternatives: 

Menstrual Cups 

Made out of flexible and comfortable medical-grade silicone, these bell-shaped devices are very effective when it comes to the collection of menstrual fluids. Menstrual cups have to be emptied every 4 to 12 hours, and their contents can be simply flushed down the toilet. 

Reusable Pads 

Another wonderful alternative, the reusable pads are made out of reusable hemp, bamboo, or cotton, and are used just like standard pads. A few of these can easily get you through the day – all you need is a small, disposable bag. With proper care, they can last for years. 

Period-Proof Panties 

For light flows, period-proof panties are the best solution out there. They are extremely convenient and comfortable, and can also serve as additional protection for different female hygiene products. Super-absorbent training shorts should also be mentioned – these are capable of holding two tampons’ worth of menstrual fluid. 

The Conclusion 

Even though you can flush tampons down your toilet, that’s something you definitely shouldn’t do. Not only can these simple menstrual products clog sewage pipes, but also harm the environment once they end up in waterways and oceans.

Instead of flushing them, toss your tampons into the trash – or use one of the more sustainable alternatives listed above.

Now, when it comes to flushing pills down the toilet, the answer is not so straightforward.

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