35 Survival Uses of Tampons (Feminine Pads to the Rescue)

Tampons- can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Of course, you can choose not to live with them if your anatomy does not consist of a vagina. Tampons have actually made people’s life much easier as it takes away the hassle of wearing a bulky sanitary napkin.

However, situations may arise where a tampon just might be able to save your life, big time. Whether this situation arises during a hiking trip, while exploring the great outdoors in general or in the middle of the apocalypse- a tampon can help you find your way out. Mind you, we dare not exaggerate, nor do we refer to strictly menstrual situations.

One might be surprised to know that tampons can, in fact, come in handy whether or not you are menstruating. There are many unusual and surprising uses of the tampon.  One should never underestimate the power of a common tampon as it happens to be an FDA Class II medical equipment.

Going back in history, it has had its extensive use as early as World War I in medical emergencies. Many of today’s armies are using these super absorbent, ingenious little things in their survival kits.

In fact, it is not uncommon to see medics at the battlefield keep tampons in their kits. Hence, there is no reason to think that tampons are used exclusively for that time of the month; rather, they might have their use in your next big adventure.

One of the major reasons for tampons being such handy survival kit equipment is that they are made of cotton. Cotton happens to be super absorbent, flammable and soft. On the other hand, its compact size makes it convenient enough to be lodged in small spaces.

Hence, not only can it soak up any kind of liquid, it can also conveniently fit into the tiniest of places and catch fire when doused with something flammable. Its plastic casing and packet can also be used for many purposes during an emergency situation.

Overall, tampons are deceptively durable and can absorb almost every liquid in seconds. Besides, the plastic casing keeps moisture away from it when stored inside. Every bit of help counts when we are fighting for survival in the outdoors, hence carrying a tampon can prove to be a wise decision.

We have compiled a plethora of uses of tampons so that you don’t have to suffer for the want of an essential object during an emergency. Worry not; tampons have got you covered whether it is your period or period of emergency.

  1. Bandage on large wounds

The sole purpose of a tampon is to absorb, it has been originally manufactured to do exactly that. As tampons are made out of cotton, they happen to be super absorbent. They can soak up any kind of fluid such as blood, pus or simply water.

If there are no proper bandages in your kit or you are just out of luck, a tampon can help with the dressing of wounds. Simply put one or more tampons, depending on the size of the wound, on top of it and secure the bandage with the strings of the tampons. This makeshift bandage can soak all the blood and discharge from the wound and help keep it clean for an extended period of time.

  1. Compression Bandage

Things can escalate rather quickly when you have a gaping wound. In this situation, you need something to stop the bleeding and keep the area from being infected at the same time. Tampons are great for this purpose because they can be lodged into the smallest of spaces, such as tiny bullet wounds.

Not only will the tampon soak up the liquids from the inside, they will help stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the blood capillaries. Simply put the tampon in the gaping wound in this case. This is a great hack to stop the bleeding from wounds and keeping the injured area clean too becomes easily.

  1. Crude Water Filter

For outdoor survival, the availability of pure water is essential. An excellent water filter can be made by using a tampon in the absence of charcoal, sand or coffee filter. You simply need an empty bottle and use the narrow neck of it to lodge the tampon in. Push the tampon into the neck of the bottle, poke a tiny hole in its cap and shut the bottle.

You can then cut the bottom of the bottle and pour the dirty water in, keeping the bottle upside down over a container. The water will filter itself out through the tiny hole in the bottle cap. While this kind of a crude filter will not completely filter out heavy metals, chemicals or biological impurities, it can definitely get rid of floating particles and sediments. If you have other filter materials such as fabric, coffee filter, sand or charcoal, you can use the tampon filter as the first phase before the water goes through any of the other stages.

This will drastically increase the efficacy and life of your main filter. You can also use this filter before actually boiling your water if you have the facility to do so outdoors. This filter can also draw water up from ditches and creeks to some extent.

  1. Crude Survival Straw Filter

This might get a little awkward, but when going gets tough, the tough get going. In the absence of a proper filter, some situations just demand that you have some water to survive. In such situations, you can use a tampon as a straw filter to get somewhat cleaner water from any ditches you might be having around you.

This survival straw can be made out of the plastic casing and cotton of the tampon. Simply tear a little bit of cotton off the tampon and put it back into its plastic casing. A little bit can be left sticking out in order to make the housing pieces wedge together firmly. This method will not completely purify the water from the ditch to remove impurities like chemical, heavy metal or biological threats.

However, it can remove some heavier particulates and sediments from the water. This can be used as a last resort if you have no other methods of water purifications available. Simply wrap the straw filter with a duct tape to get a firm hold on the cotton threads inside.

  1. Firestarter or tinder

One of the main advantages of using a tampon as a fire starter is that it is made out of cotton. Cotton is excellent as fire tinder as it catches fire almost readily. When the dry fibers of cotton in a tampon are taken out, you can hit them with a flame or spark to produce a steady fire.

A single tampon can easily be split up and used three to four times as fire tinder. You can flower out the fibers, tear them apart and douse them with something flammable. Petroleum jelly or Chap Stick is great for this purpose, this would make the fire even steadier and the tinder will be of better quality.

It’s of utmost importance to keep some fire starting material on you while camping. Lighting a fire will be much easier in the absence of matches if you are using a tampon’s cotton parts to do it. Combined with the flammable petroleum jelly, the tampon fire tinder is an unstoppable and unbeatable fire starting tool.

  1. Candlewick

In order to get a source of light in dark places, a tampon can be used in many different ways. One of them is using the string of a tampon as a candle wick. You can make an improvised candle with ingredients such as pine sap, wax or rendered animal fat as fuel. As a container, anything made out of wood, tin or even mussel shell can be used.

After the tampon string has soaked some of the fat, the candle can burn steadily for around thirty minutes or so. This improvised candle can be a great source of light when everything is dark and danger lurks all around. Well, it may not be as dramatic, but having some source of light after sundown is always a good idea to keep prowling animals away.

  1. Torch

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Using a tampon as a mini torch is another ingenious way to get a source of light in dark places, such as caves. For this, you can flower out the top part of the tampon while keeping the bottom still rolled. Use a lighter or anything to start a fire and make the top part catch fire.

Carry this tiny torch around to navigate in dark places, but be careful not to burn your fingers! You can see in dark caves and such using this torch. A source of light is always important when you are out in the wilds and can practically see nothing after dark. Therefore, this tampon torch can prevent you from bumping into uneven cave surfaces at night. This is a makeshift torch that would not last you a long time in the outdoors, but in an emergency, something is better than nothing.

  1. Emergency cordage

This is where we can make use of even the string in the tampon. Tampon string is actually a twisted cotton cord, which is again made up of some four to six-inch pieces of twine. Even though the amount is very small, you can use it as cordage to tie things, make tiny traps and other handy things to use in your survival journey.

Cordage comes extremely handy for any kind of repair work in emergency situations, such as fixing small overhead holes in your tent. This will prevent rainwater and pests from coming inside your tent and will help fix any other item that requires cordage to be fixed.

  1. Fletcher for blow darts

41330 / Pixabay

In a do-or-die situation, food is going to be hard to come by. Therefore, you might have to hunt your food to survive in the wild. Blow darts have been serving as hunting tools since time immemorial. From the tribes in New Guinea to the Native Americans, blowguns and darts have been used to shoot down game for thousands of years.

These darts are both deadly hunting weapons that also make the least noise. Historically, natural cotton was used in the fletching of blow darts. The cotton in a tampon can definitely do this job of preparing cotton fletched darts for a blowgun. In order to make it, use the tampon string to put it into place on a bamboo skewer like a stick.

Small game such as lizards and birds can be shot using these cotton tampon fletched blow darts soundlessly.  A tampon fletched dart will practically help you to go back to nature. Not only do darts give you the thrill of hunting and gathering, it also makes your transition easier in the wild.

  1. Blow tube for burning coal containers

When you are out in the wilderness in survival mode, every bit of help you can get counts. Even a simple container can help you to dramatically make things easier for you. Different items can be carried in a watertight container. Besides they can be used for carrying and boiling water, cooking your meals and storing leftover food for the next day.

For obvious reasons, it is not easy to find naturally watertight containers. In a tree stump or log, some hot coals can be burnt to form a cavity, which can be used as an improvised container for these purposes. When you are burning the hot coals in the tree stump, the plastic applicator that comes with the tampon can be very handy as a blow tube.

Blowing air through this tube towards the coals will make the heat much more intense, and the process of burning the tree stump will be much faster. Around thirty minutes are needed to make a large cavity by using the tampon applicator made blow tube. This cavity will be enough to hold at least two cups of water.

You can use the still hot, leftover coals to boil and purify water instantly in your newly formed container. This can be done by adding some heated stones from a fire into the container.

  1. Waterproof matchstick and fire tinder case

We can put even the casing of the tampon to good use as it can keep things waterproof for an extended period of time. Wet and damp places are not great for keeping your essential fire starting tools, hence having fire starters readily available at the time of need is a challenge.

A dry sack can be made using the waterproof packet or sleeve that the tampon comes in. In this package, any kind of moisture sensitive items such as matchsticks, fire tinder or cigarette lighters can be kept. In order to secure the items inside, the top of the package should be tied with the tampon string like a tiny purse.

This is a great waterproof casing for fire starter items and things that simply need to be kept dry. Plastic casing that comes with the tampon has other great uses too, such as a survival straw mentioned previously. Wet terrain and rainwater will be able to cause no harm to your fire starters and you can start a fire whenever you like.

  1. Fishing Bobber

Of course, you have to source food from the water! Fishing can be a challenge, but fishing with both a hook and a fishing bobber can be really effective and fast. This method is even better when you have access to live bait such as worms.

You can use any kind of thorn as a fish hook, some braided fishing line and the bobber should be made of, that’s right- a tampon. This survival fishing rig can help you catch fish better. The bobber is to be made with the package or sleeve of the tampon.

Fold the package over and tie the top of it to create a tiny balloon-like bubble that will float along with the live bait you are using. If you see that the tampon packet not keeping water out, and then use some of the tampon cotton inside. The bobber would then float better, which is now ready for tying with your fishing line. This would help you to catch your own fish in the wild and make the task much easier with the fishing bobber you made.

  1. Gloves, slippers, and socks

Let us bring another weird product to the table, shall we? Presenting- the condom! This lightweight item can definitely be put to some good use in a survival scenario. Used in combination with some tampons, you can create some gloves, slippers, and socks for use in a cold climate. Simply blow up the condom put some of the pulled- apart cotton from the tampon inside the condom and turn it into any kind of glove, slipper or sock.

This combination can also be used for storage of certain items. The cotton padding adds in warmth, much needed in cold weather when normal clothing articles are not accessible. These makeshift gloves, socks and slippers would also be prone to becoming less damp because of the tampons being so absorbent.

  1. To fill in cracks

Suppose you are in a building that has caught fire and you are engulfed from all sides. All you have between yourself and the fire is a door. In such a situation, if you have access to sanitary napkins or tampons, you can use them in an ingenious way to buy you some time before you can think of your next step of escape.

Fill in cracks of doors and windows by lodging the tampons under the gaps. If you have water nearby, use that water to make them expand. Tampons can expand to almost double their size when they absorb any kind of water or moisture. Therefore, the cracks will be filled up effectively no matter what kind of situation you are in. This method can also be used in order to prevent leaks; the super-absorbent tampon will soak all the liquid right up.


  1. To clean pipes and tubes

bstad / Pixabay

As we have previously mentioned, tampons can be lodged in the smallest of places with ease. Hence, we can use them to clean narrow tubes or pipes in order to unclog them and remove dirt.  Simply put the tampon inside of a pipe or tube and add water from outside. The tampon will expand and fill up space inside the tube or cavity. The function of the tampon will be like that of a bottle brush which goes deep inside these tubes and will clean them up.

  1. For mouth injuries

For toothaches and mouth injuries, there may often be bleeding. Discomfort, pain, and diseases are a lot of trouble in a survival situation where every moment counts; hence we have to be able to make the most of the damage control equipment we have in order to get us back to shape.

We can bite down on a tampon after a tooth extraction or use as padding for dental injuries. Firm and dry, tampons can soak up the blood and pus, also providing a stilt-like support in order to stop the blood. Hence, tampons are excellent for mouth injuries.

  1. Brush or applicator

Nietjuh / Pixabay

If you need to work with glue, paint, silicone or grease, you might run a risk of harming your skin in an emergency situation. In order to avoid that and make up for the availability of any brush applicators, tampons with their soft, cottony surface can be used.

Simply hold the back of the tampon, take the front part apart and use glue using that top that has been flowered apart. This applicator will come really handy when an adverse situation arises.

  1. To stop spills

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Accidents happen and they happen unannounced. If you have spilled something accidentally, you need to act fast and do something to effectively stop the spillage. Toxic materials such as gasoline, if spilled, can make matters from bad to worse as they are extremely flammable.

Super absorbent tampons are very handy in this case as it helps absorb the spillage. Lodge them against the leak or spill and then wait for the tampon to soak up the spilled liquid.

  1. Crude toothbrush

Oral hygiene, no matter where you are, is important. Using a tampon in the absence of a toothbrush might feel awkward at times, but it is a very effective little toothbrush for our days of desperation.

In case of a tampon toothbrush, the smaller the better as it can reach stubborn nooks and crannies of our mouth. If you have access to salt, put some on the tampon and rub your teeth with salt to clean your mouth and teeth.

  1. Earplugs

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It can be very painful to our ears in case of any loud noises, such as gunshots. Using tampons as earplugs block the loud sound and protect our ear from permanent damage. Hence, tampon earplugs are great for cancellation of the noise.

Also, if you are in an area infested with bugs, you can make good use of the earplugs to keep the critters from crawling in. Tampon earplugs are excellent deterrents for bugs.

  1. For nose injuries

We can effectively stop nosebleeds and phlegm with the help of tampons, or at least provide some kind of comfortable sensation to your nose. You can use the small one so that it fits into your nose better. It will put pressure on the blood vessel gently in order to stop the bleeding; hence tampons can be great for nose injuries on the inside. This can effectively stop a nosebleed before it gets worse.

  1. Cleaning Ears

NDE / Pixabay

If personal hygiene is important to you, tampons can be used in order to clean our ears too. Using the same principle, you can put some water on the tampon and make it expand inside your ear. You can also wait for the tampon to soak any kind of moisture that might have gone inside your ears.

  1. As a sponge

pascalhelmer / Pixabay

Keeping clean in a survival situation is important, hence using tampons as sponges we can stay clean for longer. The tampon, expanding when it comes in contact with water, will serve as an excellent sponge to clean yourself using water. Hence, tampons can be excellent sponges for personal hygiene.

  1. Emergency toilet

jarmoluk / Pixabay

When you need to use the toilet urgently, you might want to use a tampon to avoid contaminating your surroundings. Place one or more than one of these inside a plastic bag, do your business on it and let the cotton absorb the liquid waste.

If you have access to a solar still, this liquid can be evaporated or purified for other uses as well. Hence, tampons are great for all your outdoor sanitation needs.

  1. Bottle cork or seal

Couleur / Pixabay

In order to seal a bottle, a tampon can be used as a bottle plug or cork if you have nothing else around you. It will prevent the liquid inside the bottle from evaporating in situation where every drop counts.

A tampon bottle cork will also prevent impurities and pests such as mosquitoes, flies etc. from getting inside the bottle. It is to be mentioned that stagnant waters are a breeding place of mosquitoes.  In fact, a tampon can be a great seal for any kind of container. You can also cut up some tampons and use them for a container with a larger opening.

  1. Emergency compress

Meditations / Pixabay

Similar to the use of compression bandages, tampons can be used for giving hot or cold compresses if somebody is injured and depending on their needs. One can also cut a tampon in half, spread it out and allow it to cover a larger area.

As it has cotton inside, it can be used to substitute cotton applicators to apply alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and various ointments to the place of injury. One has to make sure that the tampons are stored and sealed in their original waterproof packaging. It is important that these tampons remain dry and sterile before this kind of uses.

  1. Insulation for cold weather

jill111 / Pixabay

Being out in the cold weather can be a huge challenge especially if you lack the proper gear. In these situations, having some tampons handy can provide a lot of much needed additional warmth.

Add a few into your socks or gloves for insulation. Making sure that your shoes, gloves and socks are dry; add the tampons in after cutting them in half or spreading the cotton around. This will add warmth in the absence of proper gear for cold weather.

  1. As a Wind Tracker

Antranias / Pixabay

Holding a tampon by its string, one can easily find out the direction of the wind blowing. This is indeed an effective method for wind tracking when you are outdoors, because it will come in handy when you have to set up a tent or shelter. When you have checked the wind direction beforehand, there will be less chances of your shelter being vulnerable to wind.

This will also be effective when you need to stay away from animals on the prowl that might pick up your scent. For shooters, checking the wind direction is important to understand how the wind will affect your shot outdoors. Before shooting a firearm, you can quickly check the wind direction with the tampon.

  1. Gardening Tool

loilamtan / Pixabay

If you are staying without a roof above your head in the wilderness for an extended period of time, you need to be able to grow a few things by yourself too. The cotton in the tampons can be used so that the seeds you have can begin to sprout.

Slice the tampon out and use the pieces of cotton to retain moisture in the seeds. This would help them to germinate easily while you are travelling or foraging for supplies. You can try to grow some plants and food items if you are staying somewhere for an extended period of time. This is essential for a survival situation if it is for a long term.

  1. Molotov Cocktail

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

Nope, this is not some kind of beverage. After the successful release of the tampon fletched darts comes its sequel- the Molotov cocktail. This is a great weapon that you can create with a tampon. For this, you need some gas or lamp oil, a glass bottle and of course, a tampon.

First of all, fill the bottle with the fuel liquid you have, plug the bottle shut with the tampon making sure that the string is on the outside. You’ll then have to secure it by taping it in place. When you need to hit a target, simply throw your Molotov cocktail at it and watch things burn.

  1. Animal Trap

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Remember the cordage you obtained from the tampon? Use those strings in order to make an ingenious animal trap. Known as a Pauite Deadfall Trap, it can be made with a heavy piece of wood stilted against two sticks tied together with the tampon strings.

When an animal walks into the trap, it gets caught in the string or makes the sticks move. The heavy wood piece comes crashing down on the animal, potentially trapping, squashing or killing it. This can help you sometimes catch small game and keep pests such as rodents away from your campsite. This effective Pauite Deadfall Trap can be made out of a simple tampon string! Who would have known?

  1. To patch a hole in a tent

RobertSedlakCz / Pixabay

If you are staying outdoors in a tent, sleeping is going to be difficult if you have a hole in it. Not only do the bugs and mosquitoes find their way in through the holes, rainy nights can also prove to be difficult in such a situation.

In order to fix it, take the cotton part of the tampon apart and lay it flat against the hole of the tent. Secure that part with a piece of duct tape or a safety pin that you might be having. This will prevent the bugs from getting in and patch the hole in your tent.

Safety pins too have many uses in outdoor emergency survival situations. Carrying that in your kit can also give you an edge when used paired with tampon strings to mend objects.

  1. Applying Ointment

In an emergency situation and when someone is injured, it can be rather difficult to dress wounds and apply ointment. We do need a clean item in order to apply the ointment, because our hands might carry germs that can make the wound infected.

Using the tampon cotton as an applicator can solve this problem. Bunching it up to the perfect size, you can apply the ointment and ensure a sanitary, clean way of dressing wounds without running the risk of infection.

  1. Blister Control

If you have been walking all day in rough terrain, you might get blisters on your feet due to the friction between your skin surface and shoes. This is also common with ill-fitting footwear or shoes that have not been properly broken in.

The discomfort you feel from wearing these shoes can be because of the blisters. One really does not need the extra discomfort, pain and irritation while on a mission to survive. Moreover, a painful blister will make you move much slower than you actually can.

This can slow you down immensely if you are travelling in a group, besides there is the added hassle of getting an infection if a blister is not treated. If you don’t have access to better shoes or proper blister care, you might want to use the tampon in your emergency kit.

Cover the blister with a tampon and secure it with a band aid, or a piece of tape. This will shield your foot from blisters and help you to be on the move.

  1. Bore Cleaner

voltamax / Pixabay

As stated above, tampons are excellent to lodge in small spaces and can fit in any small tube that you want to clean. This is of utmost importance for your firearms when you have to worry about self defense and sourcing food.

If you have run out of cleaning patches, using a tampon can be an alternative way to clean your gun. Tampons can usually fit comfortably in a 12-gauge shotgun barrel. For other calibers, you can simply rip off the smaller cotton wads from the tampon and use them on the guns.

Simply use the tampon like a cleaning patch and run it through the barrel a few times. You can dip the tampon in the lubricating and cleaning solution if you have it. With another piece of tampon, you can also clean the chamber and the breach.

Keeping your gun clean in an emergency situation ensures your safety in the wild from any kind of threat.


EME / Pixabay

All these uses prove that you must carry some tampons with you in your survival kit for the great outdoors. Tampons are great absorbents, fire tinders, bandages, cleaning agents and especially good for making primitive tools such as blow dark fletchers or torches.

You probably would not be able to recall this huge list of uses at a time of need, but you can always remember bits and pieces of the information you absorb. This would help you to improvise and keep a cool head during an emergency situation.

geralt / Pixabay

Even the tiniest of objects can come in handy when you have to be in seriously tough conditions. Tampons are no different- they are sneaky little things that have many unusual uses, as we discussed. A tiny tampon can make a world of difference in a situation of dire need.

Therefore, we all need to keep at least some tampon handy in case of sudden emergencies and unforeseen situations. We never know how a simple tampon can be put to use!


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