21 Unusual Uses for Tampons and Sanitary Pads

Avoid Plastics and Toxins in Feminine Hygiene Products

Many of us have been there: the protective covering on the tampons in our purse or stuffed under the bathroom sink have torn and the contents have begun to unravel. The sanitary napkins we've carried around for months or jammed into a suitcase or the glove compartment have been compromised. Perhaps we bought the wrong size or type and we don't want them to go to waste, or we got some free samples that don't quite work for us.

Maybe-just maybe-each and every one of these wayward, forgotten, or slightly battered tampons or sanitary pads can be put to work-by doing something else other than what they were designed to do. Tampons and sanitary pads are expensive; they required resources to manufacture them; they deserve to be utilized in some fashion.

Also read about sanitary pads and tampons: a history

How to re-purpose tampons and sanitary pads

If you have a full or nearly full box of unused and unwanted tampons or sanitary pads, you may want to donate them to a women's shelter. Call the facilities in your area to inquire about their needs.

As for the remaining sanitary items, there are dozens of ways you can put them to good use. Here are just 19 of them; we would love to hear your ideas as well.

Read about a tampon experiment

  • Emergency bandage. For a cut or abrasion, pull apart a sanitary napkin and use it to absorb blood and hold on the wound.
  • Nosebleed stoppers. Gently insert a tampon into the bleeding nostril.
  • Tinder. Both tampons and sanitary napkins can be pulled apart and used as tinder when building a fire when camping or even in your own back yard BBQ.
  • Nail polish remover. If you are out of cotton balls, pull apart a sanitary pad or tampon.
  • Toe separators. You can use individual tampons between your toes when you paint them.
  • Spill cleanup. A sanitary pad can be an effective tool for absorbing spills.
  • Painting tool. Use a sanitary pad for sponge painting.
  • Pest deterrents. Hang tampons from tomato stakes to scare away deer and other pests from your garden.
  • Head cooler. Does your child have a fever or are you feeling hot? Dampen a sanitary pad, place it in the freezer for a short time, and place on your forehead.
  • Ear cleaner. Tampons can be dampened and used to clean out your dog's ears.
  • Test tube cleaners. Tampons are the perfect size for cleaning out test tubes.
  • Eye soother. Cut a sanitary pad in half, soak in witch hazel or green tea, squeeze it out, and place over your puffy eyes to reduce swelling.
  • Essential oil diffuser. Soak a tampon in your favorite essential oil and then suspend it in the area you want to treat.
  • Cat toy. Roll a tampon in catnip and let your kitty have fun!
  • Packing material. Sanitary pads can be helpful when packing up glassware for moving.
  • Ice pack. Soak a sanitary pad in water, freeze, and place in a plastic baggy to use as an ice pack.
  • Potty training accessory. For those who keep a training potty in the car, also keep a sanitary pad for soaking up the liquid until you find a place to properly dispose of your trash.
  • Pipe protector. If you have pipes that form condensation, wrap a sanitary pad around them to collect the water.
  • Hair curlers. Use both tampons and rolled up sanitary pads for hair curlers.
  • Keep spare tampons and/or sanitary pads in your glove compartment, purse, camping gear, first aid kit, and backpack. You never know when you may need one!
  • Or make Halloween decor with them.

[Editor's Note: Our favorite brand of natural and organic pads and tampons is made by Natracare.]


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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.