Tampons are often relegated to the hidden pouches of pocketbooks or slipped surreptitiously up sleeves, out of the prying, judgemental eyes of polite society.
But aside from stopping the flow of a lady’s menstrual cycle, tampons have many practical uses for both women and men. In fact, they could even save your life.
Here are some of the many ways people are thinking outside the (tampon) box to devise novel life-saving uses for tampons.
Because tampons are sterile and highly absorbent, you can use them as bandages to stop bleeding from wounds. In fact, US Army medics have reportedly used them since the Vietnam War.
On and off the battlefield, they’re also good for packing bloody noses or sopping up blood from a knocked out tooth. They can even plug bullet holes, though this should be used as a last resort, as this article on In the Rabbit Hole points out. If blood dries and clots around the tampon, it can get “glued in place” so that when a doctor tries to remove it, it could further damage the wound.
Spending the night in a noisy hotel? Stick some tampons in your ear!
If you’re stuck in the wilderness and need to start a fire without any tinder, use a tampon! You can fluff up the tampon fibres to make a nice big ball of cotton, then split it into three to four bundles of tinder that will easily spark into a flame. Add Vaseline to the fibres to make the fire burn longer.
If you need to clean up a spill in a pinch, throw some tampons on it. It will soak it right up.
If you’re inside a burning building and happen to have a ton of tampons lying around, you can douse them with water and shove them into the cracks of a door or window to momentarily stop smoke from coming into a room. You’d probably need a lot of tampons for this, but worth a shot.
Makeshift water filter
Stuck in the woods and the only water source is filthy pond water? You can push a tampon into the neck of a water bottle and use it as a crude filter as a last resort. While it won’t filter out any nasty microscopic bugs, chemicals, or heavy metals, it will catch any visible sediments and floating particulates. You can them boil the water to sterilize it and kill germs.
Create a filter by cutting off the bottom of a plastic bottle, turning the top upside down like a funnel, and sticking a fluffed-up tampon into the neck of the bottle. Pour the water through the tampon and it will clear out the sediment.
Make an improvised hunting tool by fashioning the cotton fibres to the end of a large spear or using the plastic applicator and your lungs to propel a finned toothpick projectile forward for fun.
Plug a leak
A tampon can serve as a quick fix for an area with a small leak. They’re even supposed to work well for last-minute plugs for a boat with a hole in it.
Soak tampons in your favourite eye-boosting serum, such as witch hazel, vitamin E and honey, cucumber and lemon juice, and place over your eyes.
Make a candle wick by rolling up tampon fibres, dipping them in a shallow basin full of olive oil, and lighting one end on fire.
Dip a tampon into paint and you have an instant paint brush. Unfurl and twist for a thinner tip.
Use the string as a cord to tie sticks and twigs together to make a fort or animal trap. Most tampon strings are about four to six inches long. You can tie them all together to make one long string, or use individual shorter strings for small fasteners.