Can you flush tampons?

Can you flush tampons down the toilet? Don't get clogged up with questions — take a look at our FAQ breakdown on tampon disposal.

Updated

stylish bathroom with toilet

Key facts

  • You should never flush tampons down the toilet.
  • Even tampon companies advise against flushing tampons.
  • Tampons can cause issues in waste processing plants and septic systems.
  • Dispose of tampons in a bin.
  • Alternatively, switch to reusable options such as menstrual cups.

We all know that sanitary towels should not be flushed down the toilet, but tampons are a bit of a grey area. Do you flush tampons down the toilet? Many of us do for convenience! However, did you know that regularly flushing tampons down the toilet can cause blockages in your toilet? Plus, it's very bad for the environment: sewers in the UK are not built to deal with tampons and they sometimes end up in rivers and water systems! Here we’ll show you why it's not a good idea to flush tampons down the toilet and suggest alternative, hygienic ways to dispose of them.

Worried about how to discreetly dispose of a used tampon? Try investing in small, dark, and biodegradable bags to keep in your handbag to wrap and carry it to the bin.

Can you flush tampons according to the manufacturers?

Should you flush tampons if the manufacturers say it’s ok? The best place to look for the answers is to go directly to the source. Even companies that produce tampons state that their products should not be flushed, so the answer is simply ‘no’. For more frequently asked questions and answers, read on.

Can you flush tampons down the toilet? And other FAQs answered

If you’re looking for the answer to questions like “can you put tampons down the toilet?” we’ve got you covered right here.

1. Why shouldn’t I flush my tampon? Tampons are not biodegradable. This means they will not break down once they make it into the sewers or wastewater plants. They can cause damage to septic systems, as well as major issues as they cannot be process alongside the 3 ps (pee, poo and paper!) at the wastewater plants.

2. What do tampons do to the environment? Even the more expensive, biodegradable options can take a minimum of several months to break down. This means it won’t happen before your tampon hits the sewers or treatment plants. It can contaminate the environment and cause sewage blockages. In the U.K the estimated 1.4bn flushed tampons contribute to £88m we spend yearly on unblocking our sewer systems.

3. Where can I dispose of my used tampons? Sadly, tampons are not yet recyclable either, so your best option is to pop them in the bin! Most public loos will have sanitary waste bins in the cubicle. We recommend you have a small bin in your bathroom at home too! Alternatively, wrap the tampon in some tissue, and carry it to the nearest bin.

4. Are there other options and alternatives to tampons? Instead of using tampons, which need disposing of, why not go green and switch to a reusable option? From cloth sanitary towels to period pants to menstrual cups, there are options to suit everybody! Don’t worry about using them either, we have more advice such as how to clean a menstrual cup right here at Cleanipedia!

So, now you have all the information you need to stay well informed about using tampons! As well as answering questions like, “can tampons be flushed?” we’ve also shown you why you shouldn’t and offered alternatives.

Originally published