Why You Should Never Flush Tampons Down The Toilet

Never Flush Tampons Down The Toilet. Ever.

Ladies who use tampons: this is an important post that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on sewer or septic tank repair. Our advice is simple. Never flush tampons down the toilet. Ever.

Don’t Do It Even If the Tampon Box Says You Can

For some reason, tampon companies frequently market their tampons as “flushable”. While many tampons will usually go down the toilet without causing a clog, your tampon company does not know what is best for your plumbing or sewer line. At Terry’s Plumbing, we do–and we can tell you this is bad advice. Here’s why.

Tampons Can Take a Long Time to Biodegrade

Toilet paper breaks up quickly–within a matter of minutes–which is why it’s safe to flush down the toilet. It’s a relatively rare event that toilet paper becomes caught in a pipe or sewer line, but when it does, it doesn’t stay that way for long.

Tampons are another story. Tampons have two qualities that make them unsuitable for flushing:

  • Durability: Tampons are specifically designed to be reliable and dependable–and not to break down while in use. While tampons will biodegrade given enough time, it can take up to 6 months, according to some sources. That’s too long! A tampon caught in your sewer pipe for more than a few hours can cause a backup of household waste that could go right back into your house.
  • Expandability: Tampons get bigger when they absorb liquids, and that includes toilet water. They’re designed to be this way; it’s what prevents them from falling out while in use. Unfortunately, this quality is also what makes tampons a plague on your sewer lines.

Tampons That Make It Through The Sewers Cause Other Problems

The truth is, a lot of people flush tampons down the toilet, and a lot of those tampons end up at wastewater treatment facilities where they’re put through a complex and expensive filtration system. Eventually, those tampons are completely removed from the water and they’re sent to a dump–the same place they would have ended up in if you had simply thrown them away in the first place.

So to recap: flushing a large wad of tough, expandable cotton down your toilet is a bad idea. Doing so can clog your sewer or your toilet. And even if the tampon makes it through your sewer system, the filtration and cleansing system that removes tampons and other trash from residential wastewater is costly and inefficient.

What’s the Safe Way to Dispose of Tampons?


Many women use the traditional “wrap the tampon in toilet paper and put it in the trash” method for disposing of tampons. Using a covered wastebasket is a good idea for hiding the waste from view.

For those of you who really want to disguise the tampons before throwing them away, disposable bags for sanitary napkins and tampons (creatively called “sanitary napkin disposable bags”) are designed to disguise the scent and appearance of the tampon, so you can throw away your tampons without seeing little bits of them poking out through the toilet paper.

Of course, you could be reading this blog post because a flushed tampon has already caused a backup in your house–in which case, you need a good plumber. Residents of the Pittsburgh area can contact Terry’s Plumbing. We can handle all your plumbing needs, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

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