Can You Flush Tampons?

For many years, there has always been a debate on whether it is okay to flush tampons or other feminine hygiene products or not. And over the years, brands such as Tampax or Kotex have also made their feminine hygiene products more environmentally friendly by using biodegradable materials or the ones that are reusable. But the question remains, can you flush tampons down the toilet?

To Flush or Not to Flush Tampons

Flushing tampons down the toilet can create damage to the plumbing system, which can affect the sewage and harm septic systems. This can result in very costly repairs and can even have a negative impact on health. Tampons cannot be processed by wastewater treatment facilities, so flushing these items down is really not a good idea.

The only contents that you can flush are pee, poop, toilet paper, and there should be nothing else than those. This rule should apply everywhere and anywhere, so whether you are in public restrooms or your own home, only flush the content mentioned. So even if your tampons or your pads are flushable, never flush them down as they can clog the toilet and the sewer.

Used tampons and other sanitary products should have proper disposal at all times. One way to dispose of a used tampon is to wrap it in toilet paper and throw it in the garbage, or you can also put it in a small bag before throwing it in the trash. The bottom line is to never toss these kinds of products in the toilet as they could damage the plumbing in the bathroom.

Reasons for Not Flushing Tampons or Other Sanitary Products

Flushing tampons down the toilet should not become a habit even if it seems to be the easiest way to dispose of these products because the effects of clogged septic systems eventually affect everyone most especially the environment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends a used tampon and other feminine hygiene products be disposed of into lined garbage cans to avoid contaminating other contents. OSHA also believes that these products are not regulated waste and that they do not provoke pathogens that are blood-borne as well.

Though these feminine products are made from cotton which is an absorptive material, they are still not meant to be flushed down the toilet. Even popular brands, including Tampax, prohibit flushing these products because when flushed, these tampons have become saturated with fluid that gets tangled up in the pipes. When this happens, it can also impact the entire community because when it clogs the sewer systems, it can lead to the spillage of the sewer into the streets and worse, down through other waterways which then becomes an environmental issue.

Can you flush tampons down the toilet should not really be a question anymore, because we already know what happens when you flush a tampon. And it does not just affect you but the rest of the public as well, more so, the environment.

What Can Be Flushed and What Not

The only waste that you can flush is toilet paper, pee, and poop, and disposal for all other types of waste should be in the garbage bin. The toilet paper is flushable because it is designed to break down quickly in the sewer, unlike a tampon which does not break down immediately.

Wipes and facial tissues though they may be labeled as flushable should also be thrown in the trash can as they do not break down easily as well. Women should think carefully before flushing tampons down because the repair for the damage that it can create can cost as much as over $10,000.

Aside from tampons, pads, or other products that you use during your period, another thing that you should never flush down in the toilet or the kitchen sink is the grease. This is something that you should also dispose carefully of as it also clogs the plumbing.

So for waste such as a tampon, pads, wipes, facial tissue, floss, paper towel, condoms, disposable diapers, cotton swab, and the like, proper disposal for these would be to throw them in the trash bin. Tampons produced by companies such as Tampax and Kotex are biodegradable but even so, these brands do not suggest their products to be flushed down because it takes as long as about six months for them to biodegrade and only takes a few hours to get tangled up in the sewer.

Proper disposal for tampons according to Tampax is to wrap the tampon in toilet paper and then toss them in the garbage instead of flushing them down as they damage the wastewater treatment infrastructure and mess up sources of water such as rivers, streams, and oceans.

If you cannot help but flush tampons during your period, why not consider using something that is reusable, like a menstrual cup or period panties? This way, you are not only being environmental- friendly, but you are also avoiding costly damage to your plumbing.

Aside from tampons, applicators should also be disposed of the right way, and this is done by also wrapping them in bathroom paper and throwing them in the garbage. If you want some convenience, Tampax may have applicators with wrappers that come with a seal. These are easy to use and dispose of.

A tampon applicator is also not recyclable which then means that they should also not go down the drain. Because a tampon and other products like this can clog the system and contaminate waterways, they should never be flushed down at any time.

Other sewer systems may have choppers or grinders to assist the waste through the sewer system, but when they grind a tampon, tiny plastic pieces are produced, which can easily pass through water sources and eventually contaminate clean waterways.

If you still want to use tampons during your period, do not forget to never flush a tampon and also try to use less plastic waste and prevent clogging the system by using a tampon that does not have an applicator.

Try to use the biodegradable ones if not, choose something that can be reused as these will not cause harm to the public, most especially the environment. You may check the web to watch other related sites with news or see other media to learn more about using tampons and how to dispose of them the right way.

As for the question, can you flush tampons, now that you know the consequences when you let these tampons go down the drain, the answer is up to you.


Stefanie is the owner of ThankYourSkin. A self-proclaimed beauty and skincare junkie, she is all about helping people find the best products for their skin.

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