Tampon in a Gas Tank: What REALLY Happens?! (Explained)

Tampons are feminine items designed to absorb the menstrual periods. It’s a small thing, but it can absorb a lot of fluid by expanding. Thus, it can be worrisome to think about its effect if it goes inside our vehicles. So you may ask:

If you put a tampon in a gas tank, what really happens? If you put a tampon in a gas tank, it can absorb quite an amount of fuel. But, unfortunately, doing so can also expand its size, gaining the potential to clog your fuel lines. If it happens, your engine may starve due to lack of fuel and will stall. Thus, you need to take it out as soon as possible.

Tampons can absorb a lot of liquid, and so the same thing can happen to your fuel when you put a single tampon in it. These feminine items are so small that they can get inside the tank without issues. However, once they absorb liquid, they can expand and can clog your fuel lines. 

In this article, you’ll read all the possible effects of tampons on a gas tank. This way, you can understand all the risks involved and how you can deal with them if it ever happens to your gas tank or your vehicle.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Tampon in a Gas Tank

What happens if you put tampons in a gas tank?

If you put tampons in a gas tank, you risk the engine clogging that can force it to stop or stall. But, in general, tampons are so tiny when they are dry. Thus, a piece or two might get in your tank without problems. 

However, once it touches your fuel, it can absorb a significant amount and expand its size. Since this item is super absorbent, it can cause clogging to your tank if you don’t take it out soon.

The clogging can starve the engine, eventually forcing it to shut down or stall. Once the engine dies, the pump will release pressure and the tampon. Then, it will start again but will still cause stalling after a short while.

In general, having a tampon in a gas tank has no harmful effects, but you still need to take it out as it can cause problems.

Short term effects

A tampon getting inside a gas tank won’t cause any harm to the engine since it doesn’t contain anything hazardous. Still, since it can cause clogging in the fuel lines, you’ll experience several issues if you don’t take it out.

As mentioned earlier, the tampon is a super-absorbent thing, and it can absorb a lot of fuel. But, at the same time, it can also expand its size from a tiny thing to an enormous cloth.

While it won’t damage your engine, the clogging it can cause can lead to problems such as engine stalling. For this reason, you must take out the tampon as soon as possible.

Long term effects

The only long-term effect of tampons can occur if you don’t take them out. However, since tampons cause clogging, it can force your engine to stall as it blocks the fuel lines.

In general, you can’t drive with frequent stalling, and so you’ll need to have it fixed as soon as possible, or it will start becoming an annoyance.

Can a tampon in a gas tank damage an engine?

A tampon will not cause significant harm to your engine since it doesn’t contain any hazardous components. In most cases, it can result in mechanical failure only.

Now, since tampons are cloth-like items, they won’t dissolve in gasoline, and it means they won’t cause contamination.

However, they can cause clogging, as mentioned earlier. So while it’s not worrisome, it can be annoying if the engine starts stalling. 

If you have a newer model car, it’s not even likely that it can cause clogging. Modern in-tank gasoline pumps have massive pre-filter screen fill on the bottom of your gas tank. Two petrol-soaked tampons will not stop fuel flow since these pre-filter screens have a wide surface.

Now, while it can’t damage an engine, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to remove it. So, in general, you still need to remove these tampons, although it’s not something urgent. 

You can schedule a time to drain the tank and take it out. You’ll be able to reach anything within the tank once you’ve removed the sender unit and gasoline pump.

How many tampons in a gas tank will ruin it?

A piece or two of tampons are already enough to cause stalling, but it won’t likely damage your engine. As mentioned earlier, tampons don’t dissolve in fuel. Thus, you won’t contaminate your fuel if you have tampons in the tank.

Now, while a tampon won’t damage an engine, you still need to remove it from your tank. It is because these items can cause clogging, as mentioned earlier. While it’s not something quite a bother, it can be annoying if the engine starts dying because of such. 

In short, you need to take out the tampon by taking the whole tank out and flushing it out of the system.

Tampons in Gas Tank

Can you tell if someone put a tampon in your gas tank?

In general, you can’t tell if someone put a tampon in your gas tank unless it causes issues such as stalling or disabling.

As mentioned earlier, the only possible issue that a tampon can cause is clogging in the fuel lines. It can be a problem in old model cars, but it’s not likely to happen with modern cars.

The clogging can cause your engine to starve out of gasoline, causing it to stop or stall. Of course, as soon as your engine stalls, you need to check out your gas tank for such a thing.

Once you realized that a tampon is clogging your engine, you may want to take it out as well. However, if it doesn’t get in the way, you can simply schedule a cleaning of your gas tank.

How to get the tampon out of a gas tank?

A fuel additive may not work with a tampon, so you need to flush it out by taking the entire tank out. 

If ever your gas tank got a tampon stuck in it, you’ll need to take it out by removing the entire gas tank from the vehicle.

It might seem like a lot of work and entirely unnecessary. However, you’ll need to schedule it. Otherwise, the tampon would float around your gas tank and start causing issues.

You may set a time to drain and remove the tank. As soon as you’ve removed the sender unit and fuel pump, you can take out anything within the tank.


In a nutshell, don’t put a tampon in a gas tank. When a tampon reaches a gas tank, it may absorb a significant amount of fuel. It can also grow its size. As a result, it can potentially clog your gasoline lines. Your engine may starve due to a lack of gasoline and stall if this occurs. As a result, you must remove it as quickly as possible.

In short, a tampon in a gas tank may or may not cause issues. Whatever effect it may bring, it’s not problematic to be urgent. Still, you need to schedule a gas tank clean-up so you can get rid of such an item. In the end, you don’t want a tampon floating in your gas tank.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more