Are you a tampon flusher or flinger?
If Buzzfeed articles and Reddit threads are anything to go by, there seems to be some confusion about whether tampons can or should be flushed down the toilet. And if you don’t flush them, what do you do with them? Fling them straight in the bin? Wrap them in wasteful swathes of toilet paper? Leave them to dry out in a special drawer ready for your boyfriend to find and then tell the entire internet about it later?
Given that people aren’t usually falling over themselves to discuss this issue over lunch, we’ve decided to step in and do some demystifying. Here’s the breakdown:
DO NOT flush your tampon down the toilet.
We’re not here to shame you. If you’ve been flushing tampons until now, you wouldn’t be the only one. In fact one of Callaly’s very own people, who shall remain nameless, has flushed tampons her whole life despite her mum making an actual sign for the loo saying not to do that because it clogged the septic tank. Why? Because she (OK, I) thought the sign only applied to applicators, not the actual used tampons, which I filed in the same category as poos in my mind. Why didn’t that sign – or many similar ones I’ve seen in public loos ever since – get through to me? I’m really not sure, but now I’ve been educated I will certainly not be flushing any more tampons down the loo.
Tampons are really bad for our sewage systems.
Along with oil, baby wipes and other bathroom detritus, tampons find each other in sewage networks, romantically entwine strings and unite into giant fatbergs the size of several buses that lurk underneath our cities, wreaking havoc with the waterworks. No, I’m not making that up. And if you’re not linked up to the mains sewage system, just ask my mum what tampons can do to a septic tank.
Tampons find each other in sewage networks, romantically entwine strings and unite into giant fatbergs.
Tampliners wrap themselves.
Instead of flushing your tampons down the loo, wrap them up and put them in the bin. You can use toilet paper, a biodegradable bag like Fab Little Bag, or if you use Callaly tampliners, they will neatly wrap themselves as you remove them and you can simply pop them straight into the bin. Tampliners are 95% biodegradable.
Keep your bathroom fresh.
Our internet research suggests that some people flush tampons because they don’t want to leave used femcare products hanging around in their bathroom. One way to keep things smelling fresh and treat yourself to a bit of luxury is a scented candle. Our favourites are from Zara Home, Beauty Pie or, for a real treat, Neom. It’s a nice excuse to get yourself something indulgent but if you’re not feeling that flush (sorry), a bowl filled with white vinegar or baking soda also works well to neutralise smells.
So next time you’re about to flush your tampon, just remember the fatberg. If that’s not enough to put you off, we don’t know what is.