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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


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.


  1. I never used to flush my tampons until one day my room mate found my used tampon in our bathroom rubbish bin and cracked it at me and told me i meant to flush it! I was so embarrassed that I’ve do e it ever since until my bf said I wasn’t meant to so I found this site.. Im so glad it did!!

  2. For those of you, like me, who don’t like looking at bloody tissue in the garbage or using a whole roll of TP, I have a suggestion. I use the little doggie doo-doo bags. You can buy them at most grocery stores or pet supply stores. They come in rolls and are usually a darker color, to hide the doggie doo of course. I just use a little toilet paper and them throw it in one of the little bags and toss it in the trash. No one will be the wiser!

  3. I actually got in a debate with my hubby over this. He was positive that you don’t flush them. And I, the wonderfully stubborn wife, insisted that it was ok. I told him that he doesn’t know because he is a man going by hearsay. I however have used tampon since i stayed having my periods. Asset last i know now before i had to call a plumber. (But this it’s still or little secret)

  4. I learned a very expensive lesson today. DO NOT FLUSH ANY TAMPONS! I am living in a different house now, and the wastewater drain pipes were clogged. I couldn’t understand why, as I thought I was careful about what was going down there. Well, $500 dollars later I found out that it was my tampons that clogged up the lines. To my horror when I went to the basement to ask the plumber what he snaked out of there to cause the whole house water back up… he tells me female parts, and I look down and see used tampons on the basement floor yhat was stuck to the snake he pulled out of the pipes. I could have died from shame. I will never flush another tampon down the toilet again. It was humiliating and expensive! I’ve been flushing them all my live, but the plumbing in my new house must not be able to accommodate all those cotton plugs.

    Don’t do it… take it from me. I wish I had discovered this website before and saved myself $500! :(

    • Hi DarklySky!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story!! Lots of people think it’s okay to flush them because they’ve flushed it before and it was “fine” but they do build up over time! Tampons are meant to expand and stay in wet places. They’re definitely not made for flushing!


  5. OMG! I’m 50 yo and did not know you couldn’t flush tampons. Good thing I rarely use them. I will try to avoid them now, when possible. I think it is disgusting to wrap blood-soaked cotton…eeew… At least pads have a plastic liner keeping it clean for wrapping.

  6. I am interested in developing backlinks on incomtinence panties and I am wondering if you or any health blogger can assist me in this?

  7. I accidentally flushed one last night, totally tired and I wanted to know if flushing one by accident can be harmful?

    • Hi Anon,

      One should be fine. Flushing tampons becomes a problem when you continually flush them resulting in a build up of tampons that can clog your pipes. Hope that helps!


  8. Oh wow…I’m 36 and stumbled across this site. I’ve been flushing tampons my entire period life!! Never ever was told this!! Thanks so much!!

  9. Never flushed them; when I was younger and we used to rent a house, the landlord tried to get mad at my mom about flushing tampons. The thing was that she never used them! My aunt may have contributed though, she lived with us at the time and I remember playing with her box of tampons once when I found them, haha.

  10. Help! I’ve been looking for answers everywhere but all I see is “don’t flush them, wrap them in toilet paper.”…BUT since blood is a liquid, it just soaks through the toilet paper as well & leaves red tissue in the garbage pail. I know at home this is fine as you can empty your own garbage as much as you’d like. But how about when you are a guest in someone’s house??? Especially if it’s not just a friend/family member that you can be honest with & even take out their trash. Please respond because I will be at a very formal event in someone’s home right when I’ll get my next period.

  11. I think it is stupid that they can’t be flushed. For a girl like me, with a heavy flow…do you know how much tissue has to be wrapped around that thing(…that may have been a littleTMI). Ughhhh…It’s good to know not to flush them now that my bf just bought a house, but it is such a hassle not to. )-:

    • I also have a really heavy flow. I just save my toilet paper rolls all month and then when I’m on the rag, I wrap my used tampon a few times in t.p. and then tuck it into the t.p. roll. It doesn’t leak out because of the cardboard. I even fold the edges of the t.p. roll to make sure nothing falls out. ;)

    • I usually stick them back into the empty wrapper that the new tampon and applicator came in. Then wrap it all in some toilet paper.

  12. I used to flush them all the time, it’s what I was taught and what the packaging says. A month or so ago we had to pay to have our plumbing fixed and after they cleared the pipes out, they found TONS of used tampons. It was so embarrassing. They don’t go down, they just pile up and clog everything up. I know now but wish the packaging did NOT say they were flushable if it’s not a good idea!

  13. SAME. my sisters and i clogged the toilet. we had to get a plumber in and it was so embarassing. he lectured my mom about flushing “those things”. They’re NOT meant to be flushed!!!

  14. Ughhhh my mom told me to stop flushing them down the toilet. She got me a little garbage can now tho.

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