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FAQ: Can you flush tampons?

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.

9 comments

  1. 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!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. )-:

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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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