How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Tampons

Few things are worse than dealing with an overflowing toilet that is completely blocked and is not draining as it should. The disgusting water that pours onto the bathroom floor combined with the rancid smell do not help the situation either. It hurts more if you know the source of blockage is something as small as a tampon and that the situation would have been arrested before it escalated.

female tampons on a pink background

How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Tampons?

A toilet clogged with tampons can be unclogged in these easy steps:

  • Pull every tampon out of the toilet manually as soon as possible before they become unreachable.
  • Flush the toilet to see how easily the water goes down, establishing if the clog has eased.
  • Use a drain snake to dislodge the clog by pulling the tampons out of the pipes.
  • Unseat the toilet so you can probe beneath it with better access and remove any reachable tampon.

These steps have been arranged according to the severity of the clog, and you don’t need to move to the next one if you can unclog the toilet in the initial stages. We shall highlight what to look out for and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Read on for more information.


Unclogging a Toilet Clogged with Tampons

Because the job is bound to be messy, you should wear protective attire. For example, put on long rubber gloves before you start the work.

Take Out What You Can

Your safest bet is to retrieve the tampon(s) out of the toilet manually. In so doing, you can rest easy knowing they will not get stuck somewhere else down the drain and cause even worse damage.

If you are unable to reach the tampon(s) using your hands, employ tools that are capable of winding their way down the toilet drain to where the tampon(s) may be lodged.

Resist the urge to use a plunger when dealing with tampon clogs, as it will most likely push them further down the drain beyond your reach, where the clog will be denser and harder to undo.

Clear the Toilet

Flush the toilet or add water in the bowl and observe how long it takes to go down the drain and if it settles at the usual spot. If the clog has not been removed, the toilet bowl may fill to the brim, and you need to have a bucket on standby to transfer the water.

The pressure from the weight of the water may push the tampons down the drain and dislodge them, solving your problem instantly.

While this is a quick fix, there is a chance you will be transferring the problem further down the line. The repercussions are less severe if you are using biodegradable tampons and it’s a septic system. If the tampon makes it to the septic tank, it won’t present any other problem.

Snaking the Tampons Out of the Toilet

If the water level is not going down, it means the clog is steadfast, and you need to prod it with a drain cleaning tool such as a toilet snake. When using a snake, be gentle so that you don’t break the tampon(s) into pieces because the pieces are harder to handle and can still clog your pipes. Instead, try to pull them out by hooking them and winding them around the drain snake.

Unseating the Toilet

The idea behind this is to get better access to the drainpipe because it was not possible to unclog it from inside the toilet bowl. You can retrieve the tampons manually if you can reach them once the toilet has been removed or use the drain snake to fetch them.

Ensure to replace the wax ring while reassembling the toilet to curb leakages. Seek professional help if you are not confident about this step because it requires some experience to execute perfectly.

Cleaning with cider vinegar

Our Parting Shot

Having to be around poop areas for prolonged periods for any reason will make anyone rethink their tampon disposal choices, especially if there is a chance they could have prevented this outcome. Once you find yourself in a position where you have to snake the toilet fishing for tampons, you will religiously use the garbage option as your disposal method.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to monitor what everyone else is doing in the bathroom, which is why you should provide a disposal bin in your bathroom for this purpose. (There are discrete sanitary tampon disposal bags that you can have on you just in case you find yourself in a strange bathroom without disposal bins. They will enable you to carry the used tampon from the bathroom to the waste bin).

This lurking possibility of your toilet being used for tampon disposal is also the reason we still felt the need to take you through what you should do when faced with a clogged toilet nonetheless.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does It Take for Tampons to Clog a Toilet?

This duration is dependent on a number of variables and could be anything between hours to months. A single tampon may pass through the system entirely or allow effluent to pass through even as it soaks the fluid and becomes bigger.

If you keep disposing of tampons in the toilet, they will eventually pile up in the pipes and clog them. Other disposables might also get snagged on a stuck tampon, hastening the clogging process.

Will One Tampon Clog a Toilet?

One tampon can easily clog a toilet. This is because they are inherently small but have been made to absorb and hold liquid due to their role. As a result, the toilet is filled with liquid, making a tampon expand up to 10 times its initial size.

They mostly don’t break down like toilet paper, and the biodegradable ones need time because they are much thicker, which is scarcely available between flushing them down the toilet and clogging the drain.

The probability of a tampon causing a clog increases with the duration it stays in your toilet or drain. You need to take it out at the earliest opportunity before it expands or accumulates in your pipes. They will not dissolve or disintegrate as you wish.

Every time you feel like you have gotten away with it because you flushed a single tampon down the toilet and it didn’t clog the pipes immediately, picture everything else you flush after it getting snagged on it as it expands and collecting in your pipes. You will be setting yourself up to call the plumber for a clogged sewer line, and it is never cheap when the damage is extensive.

What Happens If You Flush a Tampon?

Your regular wastewater treatment facilities cannot process tampons and are harmful to septic systems and the environment in general. A reasonable number are made from non-biodegradable cotton, which is not broken down by bacteria in the septic tank, so they will keep piling up. They also frequently get entangled in protrusions like stray roots inside the sewer lines, leading to pile-ups and clogging.

There are, however, brands that offer organic tampons that are biodegradable, making them safe for septic systems. You have no guarantees that the tampons will make it to the septic tanks, however.

You still risk clogging your toilet if you throw them in there because they will not have enough time to break down and the environment in the drainpipe is not conducive for this process. If your waste goes into a sewage system, the risk is even higher as you don’t know what is being thrown in there by other users.

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