Menstrual Products

Q&A: Some people think that tampons will clog your toilet if you flush them. I don't believe it, but I'd like to be sure. Can flushing tampons be dangerous?

In the words of a very wise plumber who once fixed my toilet when it was clogged: “There is nothing worse for your pipes than a tampon. Don’t flush ‘em – ever.” So while I don’t pretend to be a plumbing expert, I do know there is nothing I like less than having to deal with a backed-up, overflowing toilet. And while I wish I could just flush tampons away, it is easy enough to wrap them in toilet paper and throw them in the trash. I suggest you do the same – and promise you that whoever owns the toilet you’re using will appreciate it!

I have to be honest, I’m a tampon flusher myself. That being said, I was once mortified when I flushed one at someone else’s house and the toilet overflowed. I don’t do that anymore! Check the package and see if your tampons are biodegradable; most plumbers agree that these are okay to flush. Many plumbers say that they don’t recommend flushing the non-biodegradable tampons.

Some old toilets or plumbing systems are tricky and can get clogged easily – not just by tampons, but by toilet paper or because a lot of people are using them. In general, newer plumbing can handle tampons being flushed. However if you’re in an old house or there is a sign specifically asking you not to flush tampons (which you’ll see in public bathrooms sometimes…perhaps because that place has had a plumbing problem before) then it’s best to respect the owners’ wishes. In that case, you can just wrap your tampon in toilet paper before throwing it away in the trash.