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FAQ: Can you flush tampons?

Read this before you use your next tampon

Lots of girls have been asking about this issue especially after this story about a girl’s tampon not flushing was posted.

You have probably read it it on a box of tampons before, telling you it’s safe to flush used tampon but this is clearly not the case!

flush tampons

WRONG!

You CANNOT flush tampons down the toilet!

This type of misinformation is a home and business owner’s nightmare. It is very expensive and it is NOT easy to fix.

Unlike toilet paper, tampons DO NOT break down in water. In fact, they are made to do they exact opposite. Made of cotton, rayon, and other fibres that are meant to expand and absorb liquids, tampons do an excellent job at staying put in wet slippery places.

Tampons do not immediately clog up your toilet after one flush so it may seem like they are safe to flush. Instead, flushed tampons build up over time. Once one gets stuck, it becomes easier for other tampons and non-flushables to get snagged and clog up the pipes.

This is why you see so many posters in public washrooms reminding patrons to throw away their tampons in the trash.

do not flush tampons
Remember tampons aren’t meant to be flushed!

Flushing tampons not only risks clogging up your toilet and pipes but also pipes further up the system and this costs the water authorities billions per year to fix. As you can imagine, this is not an easy or fun job to fix. Just think of the poor guy that has to go down the sewer to clean up flushed tampons!

So what makes a tampon “flushable”?
To be considered “flushable”, the tampon must pass the Brunelle Flushability Test. This test is completed in a laboratory with a modern toilet where a tampon is flushed to see if it passed the U-bend. If it passes through then it is considered “flushable”.

However, even if a tampon passes the U-bend, this test does not account for the rest of the pipes the tampon passes through which is where most tampons get stuck.

Tampon companies may say their tampons are flushable for convenience but more and more tampon companies are taking back those statements and encouraging users to properly dispose their tampons in the trash instead.

Can I flush tampons if I have a septic tank?
No, tampons do no biodegrade in septic tanks. They just accumulate at the bottom and can cause septic tank problems which again can be expensive to fix.

The RIGHT way to dispose of used tampons
It’s the same way you dispose of used pads. You can properly dispose your applicator and used tampon in the trash bin or feminine hygiene disposal bin.

I like to wrap my used tampon back inside the wrapper or in toilet paper before throwing it away. I don’t have a lid on my garbage can and I share my bathroom with others so wrapping it up is a courteous thing to do.

If you’re in a public washroom, please remember that someone else is cleaning up after you. Be respectful and dispose of your used tampons properly.

Have you ever flushed a tampon?

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About Dedy Wong

Dedy lives in Vancouver, BC and is a 2014 graduate of the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Psychology. She is the blogger, writer, photographer, and tester for all the reviews and articles on the blog.Her menstrual cycle is around 35 to 40 days long and she has tried just about everything from menstrual cups to reusable pads.

33 comments

  1. Oh no! I’ve been using tamping for just a little over three years and my mother told me to flush them. Just discovered this article, after I clogged a toilet at a party.

  2. I’ve flushed tampons down the toilet most of my life, in most of the places I’ve lived, and only about three times in over 30 years has it ever clogged anything. (All of which were WHOPPERS, I must add…I’m being billed for the current one to the tune of having to pay about half of the homeowner’s cost to repair the basement of his house which flooded because no one noticed for about a week that the toilet was backed up). THREE TIMES. In about thirty years. And all of those times it’s been in either areas with lousy crappy piping and/or it’s always Tampax brand and OB brand both of which have some kind of netting on the outside that they call “fluid-lock” which prevents their being biodegraded. The landlord in Montreal pointed that one out when he looked at the wadded-up mess himself. So, yeah, tampons have been flushable all my life and I started needing the foul things back in the 80’s.

    Now today, maybe these girls and women are growing up with some kind of modern-day MATERIAL that they’re being made out of, which is different than “the tampons of the eighties” so maybe there’s that, too. I was raised never to flush PADS which is obvious. But even my mother said that while you SHOULDN’T flush tampons if you’re somewhere where you’re not sure of the plumbing, they CAN go down and indeed they always DID in the house I grew up in so when I go to these places where, like I said, the plumbing is substandard (to California suburbia of the 70s and the 80s) as they say “old habits die hard” and I instinctively let the thing drop in the toilet and unless it actually doesn’t GO down, I don’t think twice about it.

    Until someone’s plumbing bill shows up, that is.

    Now I’m ordering “stop your periods” drugs to be sent to me overseas here because that’s CHEAPER than having to pay someone’s plumbing bill. I can’t remember to throw the foul things in the trash because it’s not the way I was raised so better not to flood and clot in the first damned place, no NEED for them, no need to have them or deal with DISPOSING of them.

    But back to the original point: Playtex ones (more expensive) go through plumbing systems better than the other brands.

  3. Very glad that I’m through that stage of my life now, but I will say that me and my two girls flushed many of those throughout the years and they never clogged. Toothbrushes did and my granddaughter flushing a husk of a corn on the cob did. Hahaha

    • Yeah, me too. It depends on where you live and the quality of the pipes and plumbing system. People who live in cheaper areas of the country have lousy drainage systems built a certain way and they’re hell-bent on thinking that “tampons shouldn’t be flushed.” Hell, there are whole countries where no one says that. Also, it’s certain BRANDS that don’t have that “fluid-lock” covering on the tampon, which CAN be flushed and no one thinks anything of it.

  4. I just started using a Menstrual Cup (Diva Cup), it’s a reusable cup that collects your mentrual blood for about 12 hours, then you pull it out, clean it and put it right back in. Saves money, the environment (and your plumbing!) and I find it a lot cleaner and more convenient. I only have to deal with it twice a day so I can make sure I’m home, in my own bathroom. Never changing a tampon in a public bathroom is a HUGE bonus. It takes me a little longer to put in than a tampon, but considering I only do it twice a day, it’s totally worth it.

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