So you accidentally flushed your tampons down the toilet and clogged it, and now you are left with the hard task of unclogging it. While you can employ different methods, like using a plumber’s snake, you can opt to use chemicals to dissolve tampons.
The chemicals that can dissolve tampons include sulfuric acid and Drano chemical. Although these chemicals are effective in eliminating blockages caused by tampons, be careful when using them because they are toxic and can harm your plumbing system.
Flushing tampons is not an everyday occurrence, but you should know how to handle the situation should it happen. This post examines the chemicals that can dissolve tampons and offers a step-by-step guide for getting rid of blockages caused by tampons.
Ingredients Used To Make Tampons
Before looking at the chemicals you can use to dissolve tampons, it’s good to have a clear picture of their makeup. It will make you understand why they resist decomposition by some chemicals and why the drain cleaners discussed in this post are almost the only ones that stand a chance against these menstrual products.
Tampons hardly decompose owing to their composition. Here are some elements that contribute to that:
1. Rayon (Artificial Silk)
It is a synthetic compound containing natural cellulose used to make ultra-absorbent menstrual products. Experts regard artificial silk as a soluble substance but caution women against over-relying on tampons manufactured from this product, citing exposure to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
2. Bisphenol-A (BPA)
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an industrial byproduct of plastic manufacturing and is added to multiple commercial products, such as baby bottles, food containers, and many more. With time, hygiene companies incorporated the product to manufacture menstrual products like tampons.
Although BPA makes quality menstrual products, you should know their health implications. Reports suggest it causes infertility, obesity, breast cancer, and diabetes.
Dioxin is a synthetic chemical compound produced in chlorine processing plants. It found its way into tampon manufacturing, but most companies scaled down production of dioxin menstrual products because of health-related problems associated with them.
Studies have faulted dioxin tampons for hormonal disturbances, cancer, and skin-related issues.
Most tampon-making plants employ cotton because of its high absorbency. Experts also recommend it because it has zero side effects on your skin.
However, the ultra-absorbency also makes it difficult to dissolve since it expands when placed in a liquid.
Chemicals To Dissolve Tampons
Tampons are made of rayon, BPA, Dioxin, or cotton. When in contact with fluids, these products remain intact and expand up to ten times their original size.
As much as this quality makes them good menstrual products, they pose a considerable risk to your toilet and drainage systems. It is because they don’t dissolve easily, an attribute that makes them unfriendly to the environment.
It is arduous to dissolve tampons using chemicals, but the ones discussed below come in handy to relieve the stress from these menstrual products.
1. Drano Chemical
As mentioned earlier, tampon manufacturers employ rayon, bisphenol-A (BPA), dioxin, cotton, and other synthetic, non-biodegradable chemicals. It makes the product resist breaking down from multiple chemicals.
Drano is a chemical recommended to eliminate blockages lodged in the plumbing system, including those caused by tampons. The chemical doesn’t break down the menstrual product completely, but it will make it flushable.
Pros Of Drano Chemical
- Drano disintegrates tampons.
- You can use it to clear other clogs.
- It can dissolve other organic matter.
Cons Of Drano Chemical
- It contains toxins and other harsh chemicals that could burn your skin.
- The chemical can damage your plumbing system and create additional problems, such as leaking and cracked toilet bowls.
- It is unfriendly to the environment.
2. Sulfuric Acid
Sulfuric acid is a concentrated acid that disintegrates most metals and oxidizes, sulfonates, and dehydrates organic compounds. Some households use it to clean toilets and clear clogs.
Since some tampons comprise cotton, you can use 70% concentrated sulfuric acid to break it down. It is because the drain cleaner dissolves cotton fibers, and since tampons fall into that category, you will get desired results.
However, exercise utmost caution when using sulfuric acid because it is toxic and can cause severe burns.
Pros Of Sulfuric Acid
- The chemical can dissolve cotton tampons.
- It is easy to use.
- The drain cleaner dissolves several clogs within a short time.
- It is septic and sewer safe.
Cons of Sulfuric Acid
- It is toxic.
- The acid can cause severe burns.
- Sulfuric acid can harm toilet fixtures made from porcelain.
- The chemical generates heat that softens plumbing systems.
How Do You Unclog a Toilet With A Tampon In?
The following steps will help you clear a toilet blocked by tampons:
- Insert a plumber’s snake through the opening of the toilet drain.
- Push the snake into the waste pipe until it meets resistance.
- Turn the handle clockwise, so the hooks on the threaded end get hold of the tampon.
- Pull out the snake with the tampon. If you don’t succeed, try again.
- If the plumber’s snake cannot yield the required results, hand-pull the tampon out.
- If the tampon sticks in the upper areas of your drain pipe, cut off the water supply to the toilet.
- Flush the toilet to drain the tank and use a cup to empty the toilet bowl.
- Use a sponge or an absorbent cloth to soak the remaining water.
- Disconnect the tubing linking the toilet bowl and the tank.
- Unscrew the bolts anchoring the bowl in place with an adjustable wrench, then get a buddy to help you lift the toilet and place it aside. Place the fixture on a rag or plastic sheet.
- Use a sponge to dry the water lingering in the toilet bowl.
- Using your hands, reach inside the trap and take out the trapped tampon.
- If you still cannot unclog the tampon, examine the connection between the toilet drain and the main waste pipe for a tampon adhering to the inside of this area.
- Pull the clog out by hand or plumber’s snake. Alternatively, use tongs or a long screwdriver.
- Peel away old wax from the flange with a putty knife and replace the wax ring.
- Replace the toilet bowl and secure it to the ground using the bolts you loosened.
- Reattach the pipe connecting the toilet tank and the bowl.
- Open the cutoff valve you previously closed and flush your toilet to ensure drainage.
- If the procedure doesn’t yield desired results, seek professional help.
FAQS on Chemicals To Dissolve Tampons
How Long Does it Take A Tampon To Decompose?
Tampons can remain in place for up to 800 years before decomposing. It makes them hazardous to the environment. It explains why individuals place them in landfills.
Can A Tampon Unclog Itself?
Tampons pose a significant risk to your plumbing system because of their inability to break down.
How Long Does It Take For A Tampon To Dissolve In Water?
Some reports suggest tampons can endure six months in water before breaking down. A tampon clogging the drainage system for a couple of hours will induce a backlog of domestic waste that could get back into your apartment.
Final Remarks On Chemicals To Dissolve Tampons
Tampons are mostly made from rayon, cotton, dioxin, and bisphenol-A (BPA). These ingredients are highly absorbent and make tampons expand when in contact with water and other liquids.
The chemical composition also makes these products withstand the test of biodegradation from multiple chemicals. However, chemicals like Drano and 70% concentrated sulfuric acid can break down tampons and make them flushable.