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Toilets vs. Tampons: Friends or Foes?

Ben Franklin Plumbing Van - Trusted plumbing services phoenix AZ
Ben Franklin Plumbing Van
Licensed • Insured

Every woman wants to know, “Can I safely flush tampons down the toilet?” Our friends at Tampax have “flushable” tampons implying you can… so what’s the truth? Plumbers know it depends on your toilet, your sewer lines, and if applicable, your septic tank condition.



A number of toilet issues can cause a troubled flush. Let’s start with the tank to ensure you get a full flush. The most common problem is the flapper usually damaged by poor water quality. To test it, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait 10-15 minutes…if the color seeps into the bowl (without flushing) it’s time to change it.  Next consideration is a toilet’s output. The larger the trapway the bigger the object it can handle. The Kohler Cimarron and the Toto Gmax Flushing system are the best tampon friendly toilets available. No worries from these bowls each with a wide 3” flush valve and enlarged trap way.


Sewer Line:

Roots and grease are enemies in a sewer line. Roots remain buried even after the flora and fauna have been removed, so buying a home that’s nothing but all rock landscaping in the front yard doesn’t guarantee a root free sewer line. Even your neighbor’s trees can infiltrate your sewer pipe. Grease caused clogs often manifest themselves in toilet overflows too. For no-hassles, and to confidently know your sewer line is clear, have a professional Camera the line. This is a good idea for new homebuyers as inspectors only look for obvious symptoms.

Sometimes the pitch of your line causes backups … a sign of improper installation. Some older neighborhoods here in Arizona like Sun City, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, and Mesa may have the old Orangeburg pipe from the 1940s and early 50s. You probably should replace this ASAP as it is a ticking time bomb for leaks.

Septic Systems:

Septic problems are usually caused by too much non-organic material and/or not maintaining the organic material consumption. Use monthly treatments of BioBen to eat all the organic contents…whether you eat organic foods or not (LOL). If you do regularly flush tampons into a septic system you’ll probably need to have it pumped out more frequently (every 3-4 years instead of 5, since tampons are NOT organic waste).

Avoid Clogs:

Plumbers will tell you if you don’t want problems, never flush anything you don’t have to down the toilet. This includes toilet bowl cleaners that have the flushable brush and paper towels.  Ben Franklin Plumbing techs have pulled out many items that claim they are flushable and some that aren’t including tampons, baby wipes, cotton swabs, & sanitary napkins.

You may see signs hanging in commercial locations saying don’t flush feminine hygiene products, please listen to them … they are putting this sign up from experience. They may have toilet or sewer line problems at their facility and don’t want to have puddles in their public restrooms. Don’t ignore the posted signs.

When you have trouble diagnosing your plumbing system issues we’re here to help.  Oh, make sure the tampon says it is flushable to begin with…not all are.