Can You Flush Tampons Down In an RV or Camper Toilet? (Facts You Should Know)

Can You Flush Tampons Down an RV Toilet

RV toilets are convenient to have on a road trip but must be tended to carefully to ensure the tanks can break down the waste until it is time to empty them.

Because these tanks are not incredibly large and use simpler systems to be lightweight and easy to use, what you flush down the toilet matters.

Preventing blockages and premature fill-ups allows for fewer trips to the dump.

Can you flush tampons down In an RV or Camper toilet? Technically it is possible to flush tampons in an RV or Camper toilet. However, you should not flush tampons or other feminine products down an RV toilet as they do not break down easily and could either block your tank or contribute to the presence of odors.

Only urine, feces, water, and RV-approved toilet paper should be flushed down an RV toilet. It is necessary to use toilet paper that breaks down easily, proving the sensitivity of the tank.

Being mindful of the items you are flushing down in an RV toilet will put less stress on the septic system and prevent clogging.

Running into problems on a trip can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive if enough damage is done.

Let this article be your guide to disposing of tampons while using an RV and how to take care of your RV septic tank system best.

Why You Should Not Flush Tampons Down in an RV or Camper Toilet

Tampons are designed with absorption in mind, and their ability to hold liquid without breaking down is what makes them so effective.

If you were to put a tampon in water, you would see it expand to absorb water and then stay in place.

This is the exact opposite of what you want items put into an RV septic tank to be doing. Using items that break down easily is key for the RV tank to function correctly.

It is common for many sewage systems outside of an RV to ask you not to flush feminine products down the toilet. Not only do tampons fill the tank and not break down easily, but they can also clog the piping system (septic system or not).

Blocking the piping with items that cannot break down may force you to remove them yourself or have to hire a plumber to fix the problem.

If you do flush tampons in RV toilet and notice a blockage, consider checking out this video below for steps to remove.

Can You Flush Tampons?

When working with tampon removal, plungers and snakes could make the problem worse (Source: Fast Plumbers). You can avoid these problems by taking proper precautions in using your RV toilet.

When tampons, solid toilet paper, and other items are flushed down in an RV toilet, the buildup of solid material creates blockages and prevents proper flow and function of the toilet.

Can You Flush Tampons Down The Toilet: Alternatives

Tampons ideally should not be flushed down any toilet system, so alternative disposal is recommended for all toilet systems.

You should wrap used tampons in toilet paper or disposable bags and then throw them in the trash (Source: Tampax).

The best alternatives to flushing a tampon down in an RV or Camper toilet include:

  • Trash can: Wrap it up in paper (bring some plastic bags for ease) and put it in the trash you can empty at stops. Specifically in an RV, with many campsites and rest stops available, you should be able to throw them away promptly.
  • Menstrual cups: Used as an environmentally friendly alternative to tampons, this period solution only requires emptying the cup, which can be done in the toilet, and rinsing (Source: Health Line). There is no disposal required for this method.
  • Cloth alternatives: Cloth pads or underwear that has great absorption can be used instead of a tampon. This is typically reserved for light flow days in the menstrual cycle. 

Because tampons and other items that cannot be broken down into compost at a sewage facility go to the landfill anyway, throwing away your tampon in the trash puts it in the same place (Source: Live Science).

Remember, a tampon applicator should never be flushed down a toilet as this plastic can seriously damage a plumbing system.

can you flush tampons down the toilet
can you flush tampons down the toilet?

Good habits of not flushing your tampon down any toilet are even more important for septic systems that are more sensitive to the buildup of material and potential blockages.

How Does an RV Septic System Work?

Understanding the flow of an RV septic system will further illustrate why you should be careful what you flush down the toilet.

With the use of tanks, all your plumbing is filtered, and once it is full, it needs to be disposed of at dumpsites.

Three tanks allow an RV plumbing system to run:

  • Fresh water tank: This is the water that comes out of the taps and can be safely used for your washing needs. Fill stations at RV campsites will have access to fresh water for easy refilling.
  • Gray water tank: This tank is filled with the water that goes down sink and shower drains. It is called gray water because it isn’t clean, but it is not quite on the same level as toilet waste. Some older RVs may not have a gray tank. Because the piping can be thin for this water system (doesn’t need to move solids), avoid putting food waste down the drain that could risk building up.
  • Black water tank: This is the tank that holds all of your toilet waste, including toilet paper (but hopefully not your tampons). Keeping products other than waste to a minimum is crucial to ensure the tanks can fill properly and not accumulate solid matter (Source: USA Today).

Keeping these tanks in good condition is important for long-lasting use.

Make sure you are aware of the fill level (which is usually gauged by sensors in newer RVs) so that you can empty your tank when necessary.

Related reading: Where to Properly Dump Portable Toilet Waste?

Best Practices for Using an RV Toilet

There are some key tips you should follow to keep the RV toilet and black water tank in ideal condition:

  • Degradable toilet paper: Even more important than flushing tampons, the type of toilet paper has a significant impact on your RV toilet. Use 1-ply paper or types that will easily break down. This will prevent most of the blockages that are experienced in RV toilets.
  • Only flush waste: Hopefully, this article has shown that only waste and minimal toilet paper should be flushed down your RV toilet. It prevents the need to empty frequently and will keep your system in better condition!
  • Chemical applications: Adding treatments to the black water tank will help to sanitize the tank after dumping, help break down buildup easier, and help with odors. This is an important component of maintaining your RV tanks.
  • Flush often: Putting water down the toilet frequently will keep anything that may have gotten caught in the tank moving and keep the system running smoothly. Make sure there is enough water in the bowl (more may need to be added) before flushing to avoid strain on the system.

Related reading:Is Charmin Toilet Paper safe for RV? – What You Need To Know

Beyond emptying your tanks whenever needed, maintaining the tank with these preventative measures will extend the life of your tanks.

Rising problems not only get the way of your adventures, but they can be costly if a replacement or professional intervention is needed for solutions. 

Can you flush tampons down the toilet? Proper RV toilet operation >> Check Out the video below:

Tampons In RV Toilet

In Conclusion

Keeping tampons and other solids out of the RV toilet is the best way to prevent damage and get the longest life from your RV septic system.

While it may require an extra step and a little more inconvenience, but it beats having to deal with the aftermath of clogged black water tanks.

Jessica Gilmour

Jessica is co-founder of RV and Playa and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the Beach- and RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since December 2017, Jessica playful writing style helps make learning about RV a bit more interesting. Nothing is as freeing as being on the beach (Playa), lacing your feet with the sand, having the water lap your legs and becoming one with nature.

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