It’s an age-old question that’s been around for as long as we’ve been using tampons: are we supposed to flush our tampons down the toilet or throw them away in the garbage bin? According to Scary Mommy, the debate over getting rid of tampons has gotten really heated and there are a lot of differing opinions.
If you take a brief look into the very opinionated world of the Internet, you’ll find that any menstruating person who uses tampons regularly has their own belief — and they hold onto that belief very strongly. Let’s take a look at what some people are saying.
Okay, so it sounds like people are pretty split when it comes to the disposal of a tampon. It gets even more confusing when you look at what companies like Kotex and Playtex say. For example, the first instruction Playtex gives to their tampon users is to flush the used tampon down the toilet. On the other hand, Kotex advises you “wrap it in some toilet paper (or put it in a bag) and place it in the bin or sanitary disposal unit.”
Lucky for us, the Good Housekeeping Institute fired back with some answers. You might not love hearing this, but experts say that tampons are not supposed to be flushed down the toilet. In fact, you should keep your used tampons far away from the toilet bowl and instead dispose of them responsibly in the bin.
Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Director of the Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab, told GoodHousekeeping.com that even though companies like Playtex and Kotex have differing opinions, it’s best not to flush your tampon at all.
“One way or another, [tampons] all generate waste and burden the environment like anything else. Common sense tells me not to flush them,” Dr. Aral said.
As gross as it might seem to those of us who are used to flushing tampons, we’d be much better off wrapping our bloody tampons in a little bit of toilet paper and safely tucking it away in the garbage can.
If you have pets or a small child running around the house, you might want to consider keeping them away from your bathroom bin. That’s an accident nobody deserves to clean up.