It may seem convenient, but flushing tampons down the toilet is a very bad idea. It may feel easier and more hygienic than having a trash can full of used tampons, but flushing sanitary products can clog up your toilet drains.
Unclogging a toilet clogged with tampons is an unpleasant job but it is possible. If you are currently unable to flush your toilet because it is blocked up with used tampons, keep reading this article to find the solution to your problem.
- 1 Why Do Tampons Clog Toilets?
- 2 How To Unclog A Toilet Clogged With Tampons?
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
Why Do Tampons Clog Toilets?
As we all know, the purpose of a tampon is to absorb blood when a person is having a period. Tampons need to be reliably absorbent and they need to gently expand inside the body to prevent any leaks. Their design means tampons are effective and popular sanitary products but they are not suitable for flushing down the toilet.
When you flush a tampon instead of chucking it in the trash, it will absorb water inside the toilet and grow in size. This may not cause a problem immediately, but tampons can expand to almost ten times their original size.
Now think about having a whole menstrual cycle’s worth of tampons trapped in your plumbing system, it is no wonder your toilet is blocked!
Tampons are commonly made from rayon and cotton. These fibers are two of the most naturally absorbent on the planet and while this is great when you’re on your period, it is bad news for your toilet pipes.
You will know if there are tampons clogging up the toilet pipes as you will not be able to flush the toilet. When the drains are clogged, flushing the toilet will cause the toilet bowl to fill with water – with the waste still there – and not disappear down and out of sight as normal.
You may also notice an unpleasant smell emanating from the blocked pipes and the plumbing system may be making unusual gurgling sounds.
How To Unclog A Toilet Clogged With Tampons?
We all make mistakes and if this is your first period, you may not have known tampons are not flushable.
In the future, remember the safest way to dispose of any sanitary products – tampons, applicators, and pads – is to wrap them up and put them in your household garbage or a trash can if you are using a public restroom.
Back to the pressing matter at hand, your toilet is blocked with tampons? Firstly, don’t panic. It is possible to unblock tampons from toilet pipes. Secondly, there are different methods you can use to solve this problem and we share them both in this article.
Essentials Needed To Unblock Toilet Clogged With Tampons
Before you begin trying to unblock the toilet, you will need a few essential items to help you complete the task:
- Long rubber gloves
- Plumber’s snake
- Adjustable wrench
Once you have all of the above items ready, you can begin the easy (albeit kind of gross!) task of removing the blocked tampons from the toilet.
Removing Tampons From Toilet Pipes By Hand
This first method requires the least amount of tools but is arguably the grossest way to remove tampons from a blocked toilet. Get your gloves on tight and let’s get started:
Step 1 – Put on a pair of gloves. If you have them, use long rubber gloves that cover all of your forearms, up to your elbow.
Step 2 – Firstly, you need to remove as much water as possible from the toilet bowl before you can remove the tampons. Use a cup to remove the water from the toilet and dump it into a bucket.
Step 3 – If you can not remove all the water from the toilet bowl, place a sponge into the toilet and allow it to absorb the remaining liquid.
Step 4 – Once all the water has been removed, you will now need to use your adjustable wrench to remove the bolts that hold the toilet bowl in place. Once the bolts are removed, carefully pull the toilet bowl away and put it out of your way so you can have enough space to complete the rest of your task.
Step 5 – Check those gloves are on tight, it is now time for the stomach-turning part! Place your hand into the exposed drain pipe and try to locate the tampon or tampons. Once you have removed them, immediately dispose of them into a garbage bag.
Step 6 – Now your toilet is free of tampons, you can reattach the toilet bowl using the bolts and adjustable wrench.
Removing Tampons From Toilet Pipes With Tools
Don’t like the sound of sticking your hand down into the toilet drain? We don’t blame you! Luckily, there is a tool called a plumber’s snake that can be very useful when trying to remove tampons from a blocked toilet.
Step 1 – Wearing protective rubber gloves, remove as much water as possible from the toilet bowl. If you don’t have the time to use a cup and bucket, there are vacuum cleaners specifically designed to suck up liquids. The toilet bowl needs to be empty to make the next part of your task easier.
Step 2 – Now that the toilet bowl is empty, it is time to remove it from the rest of the toilet. Unscrew all of the bolts holding the toilet bowl in place using an adjustable wrench. Once the toilet bowl is removed, carefully place it nearby but out of your immediate workspace.
Step 3 – It is now time to use your plumber’s snake. Carefully insert the tool into the toilet drain opening and push it down. When you feel resistance, you have likely discovered the tampons that are causing you all of this trouble.
Step 4 – Rotate the plumber’s snake from side to side, twisting it around so the hooks can get a hold of the tampons causing the blockage. It can take a little while for the plumber’s snake to do its job, just keep trying until it gets ahold of the tampons.
Step 5 – If you notice the resistance increase as you try to rotate the plumber’s snake, this means it has caught hold of the tampon and it is time to remove that blockage once and for all. Carefully pull the plumber’s snake out of the drain and dispose of the tampon.
Step 6 – Reinsert the plumber’s snake to see if there are any other tampons or anything else still down there that may continue to cause the drain to block. If you find them, they can be removed using the steps above.
Step 7 – Sometimes a blockage is so bad that the tampons can not be removed with a plumber’s snake. However, you may be able to damage and begin to break down the tampons using the tool, this could potentially free up enough space to allow you to flush the toilet (you will still likely need to seek professional plumbing repairs in the near future).
Step 8 – Now the blockage has been cleared, all you need to do is reattach the toilet bowl.
If after attempting the two methods above you are still unable to remove the tampons clogged in the toilet, you will need to call a plumber. Blocked toilets are unhygienic and cause a huge inconvenience to your daily life at home.
How do you properly dispose of a tampon?
Whether you are using tampons with a plastic applicator, a cardboard applicator, or no applicator at all, you can not dispose of any of them down the toilet. The best way to dispose of a tampon is to wrap it up in toilet paper and toss it in the trash.
You don’t need any special disposal bags but there are such products on the market if you’d feel happier putting them in a plastic bag than wrapped up in toilet paper. Flushing tampons may seem convenient in the short term, but tampons can quickly clog your drains and lead to costly repairs in the future.
How long does it take for a tampon to clog a toilet?
A tampon can clog your toilet in just a matter of hours. Tampons expand when they absorb any liquid, so if one gets trapped in the toilet drain, it is not going to take long before it starts causing problems.
A trapped tampon can make it difficult to flush human waste and toilet paper away, which can cause a backup in the toilet. Just one flushed tampon can block your toilet in a very short space of time so it is always best practice to just pop your used tampons into the trash can.
Will Drano dissolve a tampon?
Tampons are designed to remain intact when they get wet. To offer people with periods optimum protection, tampons need to stay intact when in use. However, this also means they are difficult to dissolve and break down once they have been disposed of.
You can try to use drain cleaners like Drano to dissolve a tampon trapped in a drain but it is not likely to work. If there are tampons clogging up your toilet drains, try using one of the methods shared in this article to solve the problem.
Can you flush Tampax down the toilet?
You can not flush Tampax tampons down the toilet as they can easily clog your home sewage system. Tampax clearly states on their website and on their packaging that tampons should not be flushed down the toilet.
Can I flush one tampon down the toilet?
You should avoid flushing tampons down the toilet, even if it is just one. Tampons absorb water and are able to expand up to 10 times their original size. Even flushing just one tampon can clog toilet pipes and lead to a backup of human waste.
Tampons should never be flushed down the toilet. Sanitary products are designed to be absorbent and tampons can absorb water in the pipes and expand in size.
If you flush tampons down the toilet they can easily cause a big problem for your drains. In this article, we have shared two simple methods you can use to try and unclog a toilet clogged with tampons. To save you the work in the future, remember to always dispose of your tampons by wrapping them in toilet paper and tossing them into the trash.