Can You Flush Pads Down The Toilet?

Menstrual pads are a type of sanitary pad that is worn by someone with a menstrual period. They are designed to absorb the menstrual flow from the vagina. They come in different shapes, sizes, and absorbency levels.

The toilet is one of the greatest unfelt luxuries in our daily lives. That ingratitude is shown when we see that people often dispose of their sanitary pads by flushing them down the toilet. This practice has been on the rise in recent years. The dangers of flushing sanitary pads down the toilet are not just limited to clogging toilets, but also to sewer blockages and sewage overflows.

Can You Flush Pads Down The Toilet?

The answer to this question is a resounding NO! All kinds of sanitary pads cannot be flushed down the toilet. Because most of them are made of delicate material that cannot be dissolved easily and should not be let into the sewage system. If you want to discard them, wrap them in a paper towel, put them in a plastic bag, and throw the whole thing in the garbage.

Tampons and sanitary pads are often wrapped in plastic, and almost all types have been deemed safe for the environment by most governments. However, it’s not a good idea to flush them down the toilet. This is because the water pressure from a toilet can only push them back up into your home plumbing system and cause annoying clogs.

throw used pads in trashcan, not in toilet
Image from VENUS

Is There an Alternative Way to Dispose of My Used Pad?

It is important to dispose of your pads and tampons properly after use to avoid environmental damage and health hazards. The most common and safest method is disposal in the trash.

Because, unlike flushing where the pad grows from a minor inconvenience into a serious problem, tossing the used pad in the trash actually takes care of the issue and is more environmentally friendly. After being collected from your trash bin, they will later be dumped in a landfill which will not fully degrade them, but they will mostly decompose given a long enough period of time.

You can throw your used pads with one of the following methods:

  • Cover them with paper towels or toilet paper. And throw it in the trashcan.
  • Use a special disposal bag before tossing them in the trash.
  • Throw them in the compost bin, if you have one.

Should Sanitary Pads be Washed Before Disposal?

There are two camps in the argument of whether or not to wash sanitary pads before disposal. One camp says that washing sanitary pads will help to reduce the risk of infection and promote healthy menstruation. The other camp argues that it is a waste of time and water and that the sanitary pad is not a breeding ground for bacteria.

While there are still no clear answers as to which side is right. If you have the time to spare and access to water, then it doesn’t hurt to wash your used pad.

Why You Should Never Ever Flush Pads Down the Toilet?

Pads are made of plastic fibers and some women wear them for up to 12 hours. This means that the pads can take a long time to break down in the environment.

What people don’t seem to quite understand is that pads and tampons are not biodegradable, so they should be thrown in the trash. The plastic and cotton they’re made of don’t break down in water. This means that pads and tampons can cause a clog in your toilet or sewer pipes because they wrap around the pipes as a hair tie does to your hair. This can cause sewage to back up into your home or office through sink drains and toilets.

Another factor to consider is that the average person uses about 10-12 pounds (4-5 kilograms) of toilet paper per day, and a single sanitary pad weighs about four ounces (100 grams). When people flush these items down their toilets, they are adding a significant amount to the total weight that goes through the sewer system every day.

How Long Does it Take for Sanitary Pads to Decompose?

Sanitary pads are made from a variety of materials. Some of the most common include cotton, rayon, and polyester. These materials are not biodegradable.

The decomposition rates depend on the composition of the sanitary pad and where it is disposed of. In general, it takes about 12 to 18 months for a sanitary pad to partially decompose in a landfill. But it can take anywhere from 500 years to a millennium for most period products to fully break down.

What Should I Do if I Accidentally Flushed a Pad Down the Toilet?

You shouldn’t really panic if you accidentally flushed your pad down the toilet as it’s usually fixable without too much damage.

man turning off the water supply valve to prevent water from flowing
Image from Speake’s Plumbing

The first thing that you should do is turn off the water supply valve located on your toilet’s tank. This will prevent any more water from flowing through your pipes and into your toilet bowl. Next, if there are any other people in your home, make sure to tell them not to use the toilet while you get it fixed. Then you should try to unclog it using a plunger to push the pad down the toilet and then flush it. Or you can use a drain snake to remove the clog from the pipe.

If you have tried using both methods and you still cannot unclog your toilet, then you should contact a plumber for help. How much to be worried about flushing a pad down the toilet is circumstantial, as it depends on how big is the toilet bowl and the size of the pad or tampon.


Just because you can flush pads and tampons down the toilet, doesn’t mean you should. If you flush these pads down the toilet, they will clog it and cause problems for other people who use it. This can be a problem for your neighbors or even people who live in your building. Plus, there is always a chance that someone could get hurt if they were to go fishing for a pad in the pipes.

We hope that this article has been able to convince you of why you should never ever flush pads down the toilet. If not, we hope that we have at least made you think twice before doing it again.

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