Can you flush tampons down the toilet?

The instructions on your box of tampons may say you can dispose of them in the toilet, but can you flush tampons down the toilet?


Have you ever thought about why public toilets have signs asking you not to flush feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary towels down the toilet? It's because they don't want you blocking up their sewerage system which will cost them time and money to fix. Unfortunately, many women flush tampons down the toilet without a second thought about what happens to them. Tampons are designed to absorb blood and expand to fit your vagina so no blood can leak out. So if you flush tampons down the toilet, they will expand width-wise and length-wise. Tampons don't break down. Eventually a fatty ball of them will accumulate blocking drains which then have to be unblocked by hand. If this happens at home, you have the disgusting job of trying to remove the blockage or paying someone else to do this for you.

Can you flush tampon applicators down the toilet?

Some tampons have cardboard applicators and the box says they're degradable or flushable. This isn't true so even if the tampon has a cardboard applicator, you should never flush it down the toilet as it can cause blockages. Wrap it up in the tampon wrapper or some toilet paper and put it in the sanitary bin. Since Tampax started making plastic applicators for some ridiculous reason, I've seen many of them washed up on beaches. Those that don't make it to the beach are probably floating around our oceans or, even worse, have been mistaken as food by marine animals. Be even greener by not buying tampons with plastic applicators, if possible, such as Natracare tampons.

How to dispose of tampons

Tampons and applicators should be wrapped up and put in the bin.  You can wrap the used tampon in a sheet of toilet paper and the used applicator can go back in the original wrapper. Either put a bin in the bathroom and put your waste in there or I prefer to put mine in the kitchen bin. Some people recommend using nappy bags to wrap up sanitary waste in but toilet paper is the cheaper and greener option. If you're worried about the smell you could put a few drops of essential oil in the bin or sprinkle in some bicarbonate of soda. (Read: Bicarbonate of soda – the wonder product for your green cleaning cupboard)

Can you flush tampons with a septic tank?

No, don't flush tampons if you have a septic tank system.

So can you flush tampons down the toilet?

No, the only things that should ever be flushed down the toilet are the three Ps – pee, poo and paper. For everything else, wrap it and bin it.

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