Menstruation is a natural thing for every woman who has attained puberty and hasn’t reached menopause. It’s a way to know that a woman can still get pregnant. If a woman gets to menopause, monthly bleeding or menstruation stops. It then means that the woman can’t get pregnant.
On the flip side, you’ll no longer require pads. Women use these absorbent materials to catch menstrual blood. And there are diverse brands of pads out there.
But then, how women should dispose of pads has been a subject of debate for quite a long while. While some claim that flushing pads down the toilet is safe, others have a contrary view.
The truth is, flushing pads down the toilet is quick. The question is, should women continue doing it?
In this article, we will discuss things you need to know about disposing of pads. So, grab a seat, and read from start to finish.
Are Pads Flushable?
No, pads aren’t flushable. These include tampons, wipes, maxi pads, and other related products. Although there’s a brand that claims its pads are flushable, women are advised to take caution. Please don’t dispose of anything other than toilet paper and body fluid unless you’re 100% sure they’re flushable. Otherwise, you may require the service of a plumber.
Now, why are sanitary pads not flushable? Sanitary pad manufacturers incorporate plastic fibers into their pads. The plastic helps to keep pads from collapsing into tiny pieces like tissue paper when flushed.
So, pads behave differently than tissue papers, thanks to the plastic woven into their fabrics. Thus, if you flush pads, they could end up in your sewer and then the ocean. But that can only happen if it makes it out of your toilet.
We all know that plastic materials are troublesome and happen to be the biggest challenge that humans face.
So, pads aren’t flushable. They are not like toilet paper that disintegrates from the moment you flush them.
A Handy Tip: Many brands have started claiming that they have produced flushable wipes, which would be quite an invention. But the question is, are these pads truly flushable as claimed? This is a precise observation. Flushable pads are meant to absorb fluid or bloodstains. They are also placed under the female underwear.
As a result, there’s a chance that they would take some beating while one moves around with the pads on. Due to this and the absorption of fluid, pads need to be stronger than toilet paper and paper towels.
So, even if you’re using the so-called flushable pads, you may have to use more water to get them flushed. Otherwise, they would end up clogging your plumbing. Perhaps, they might disintegrate when they spend some time in the sewer, soaked in the water down there.
Can You Flush Cotton Pads?
This is a strict No from our side as they are definitely not safe to flush. They do not break down and instead clog your pipes and drains. The clogged drains and pipes will require maintenance, which means you need to hire a plumber to unclog the drains.
To be on the safer side, refrain from flushing cotton pads down the toilet. This will save you some money that you might need to pay to the plumber who will unclog the drain.
What To Do If You Accidentally Flush a Pad?
Even though the campaign about the need to stop flushing sanitary pads down the toilet has gained momentum over the years, people are still doing it. But then, no one would advise you to stop flushing pads when you have plumbing issues as a result.
However, if you accidentally flush a pad down your toilet, don’t panic! There are ways you can resolve this before. Instead of beating yourself up, or getting angry at yourself, consider using these techniques to fix the mess you created.
1. Try to use a hanger
This method is helpful if the sanitary pad hasn’t left the toilet. If you tried flushing the first time and the pad didn’t move, don’t try flushing again. Just get a hanger, have it hooked to the pad, and pull it out.
By the way, count yourself lucky that the pad hasn’t left the toilet. If not, you would have been sweating to unclog your toilet by now.
2. Use hot water and soap or shampoo
This one is simple. You can use shampoo or liquid soap, whichever one you have. Firstly, pour the liquid soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl. Then pour some hot water into the bowl, as well. The water should be boiling. So, allow it to reach boiling point.
What is the aim? The hot water would make the pipe a bit bigger, allowing items stuck in it to pass through with ease. Then the liquid soap or shampoo would make water slippery so that things stuck in the toilet bowl can pass through, even without you flushing with much water.
Now, wait for a couple of hours, and ensure no one uses the toilet during this period. 2 to 4 hours is enough time to wait. Then flush the toilet, as usual.
Will this process work all the time? No! It might not work sometimes. In this case, you would have to try out other methods. There’s no point in repeating the process.
3. Use the plunger
If you don’t have a plunger, please get one. It’s not something you should be thinking of borrowing from your neighbor. But if you don’t have and need it, go ahead and borrow.
It would help if you had a plunger because not all plumbing issues require the service of a professional plumber. You could do some yourself with a plunger or the tools necessary to bring your plumbing apart.
So, if you feel the pad you mistakenly flushed hasn’t left the toilet bowl, use your plunger to apply some pressure and force it down.
4. Try using a toilet auger
This tool should also be on your list of tools to have in your home and for your plumbing’s sake. It’s one of the most valuable tools for unclogging toilets.
This tool is called the plumbing snake or water closet auger. It can move through the toilet drain and remove whatever is blocking it from working fine. You can use the auger to hook the pad blocking the drain and retrieve it.
5. Flush with enough water
You can try flushing the toilet with enough water. Here’s how it’s done. Fill a bowl with water, raise it high, and pour it into the toilet. The force from the water can push move the pad away from the toilet drain.
Can Pads Clog The Toilet?
Yes, they can. When you flush pads down your toilet, expect this to happen. Gradually, all the pads you’re flushing are clumping together. So, it’s only a matter of time before they finally block your pipe.
The problem with pads is that water doesn’t disintegrate them. Otherwise, they won’t help absorb fluid or blood. No matter of flushing can disintegrate pads stuck in your drain. And if they have clumped together to form a large ball, you have to get a plumber to unclog your toilet.
How Can You Safely Dispose of Pads?
It’s essential for girls who have started menstruating to dispose of their used sanitary pads the right way. The same goes for women. The right way isn’t to throw the sanitary pads in the toilet, whether disposable or not. You can dispose of them quickly in other ways.
Here’s how to dispose of used sanitary pads safely.
1. Roll it up and bin it
This process is straightforward. All one needs to do is take off the pad, roll it up to prevent blood stains from coming off then bin it. You can even decide to wrap the pad with tissue paper to make it look need. Just use enough tissue paper anyway.
You can throw the pad in the refuse bin outside the house after wrapping it neatly. Don’t worry, no one would find it.
A Handy Tip: If you don’t have toilet paper, you can wrap the pad with old newspaper.
2. Use menstrual cups
If you’re environmentally conscious, you can seek other environment-friendly options besides using pads. You can get menstrual cups. These are reusable, safe, and would serve you for a long time.
So, if you can get menstrual cups, you won’t be bothered about how to dispose of sanitary pads.
3. Dispose of the pad in your bathroom bin
If you have a wrapper, then fine. Just wrap the pad and throw it in the container in your bathroom. But, please, make sure you cover the bin completely. Otherwise, it could start smelling after a while.
If you have been flushing your sanitary pads in the toilet, it’s time to put an end to it. It’s wrong to do that. Why? As we explained, it could clog your toilet and cause you to spend handsomely hiring a plumber.
However, you can do certain things to unclog your pipe if you mistakenly flushed your sanitary pad. We highlighted the various steps you can take in this article.
That said because a pad is labeled “flushable” doesn’t mean it would disintegrate like tissue papers. It won’t. So, even if a pad is labeled flushable, think twice before you flush it down the toilet. Flushable pads are not so flushable. Keep that in mind.