I was very tempted to leave this page blank. I mean, do you really want to know anything about toilet paper?
It’s one of life’s necessities (except for the four billion people in the world who don’t use it) that we don’t really think about.
Yet, a survey that asked what people would choose to take on a desert island revealed that 49 percent would take toilet paper over food.
It’s a multi-billion dollar business that helps us clean up our business.
HOW TO HANG YOUR TOILET PAPER
The other day I was changing a toilet paper roll. I started to walk away when I turned back, took it off its little holder and unsealed the end part. Then I ensured it was facing the ‘right’ way – with the paper for use at the front.
Why? Because I would be told in no uncertain terms by one of the Goddesses that I hadn’t done it right. 🙂
This has happened before. It is often followed by “Don’t worry Grandy, I’ve fixed it for you.”
Her mother has obviously taught her how to replace a roll so it is most convenient for use. She’s doing a much better job than I did with my kids as I couldn’t even get my sons to change the rolls, let alone have them facing a certain way.
In fact, you are considered more intelligent if you hang your paper so you can pull it from the bottom, so they are definitely onto something. I have to admit, before my Goddess’s admonishments, I had never really given it any thought. Hope that doesn’t make me dumb.
More than $100,000 US dollars was spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind. According to this important research, three out of four people have the flap in the front.
It had me thinking about the paper, though. We take so much in life for granted without giving it a second’s thought.
TOILET PAPER HISTORY
The first use of toilet paper can be traced back to the 6th century AD in China, with mass production occurring in the 14th century.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the modern form was commercially produced.
It was recorded in 589 AD that the scholar-official Yan Zhitui wrote this in reference to toilet paper;
Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.
This is in contrast to Koji Suzuki, a Japanese horror novelist best known for writing The Ring. He had an entire novel, The Drop 1.2.3., printed on a single roll of toilet paper. 100 percent recycled paper was used.
Records show that in 1393, during the Ming Dynasty, an annual supply of 720,000 sheets of toilet paper was produced for the general use of the Imperial Court of the capital of Nanjing.
Imperial Bureau of Supplies recorded that for the Hongwu Emperor’s Imperial Family there were 15,000 sheets of special soft-fabric toilet paper produced, each sheet perfumed.
OTHER FORMS OF TOILET PAPER
Those not lucky enough to have access to paper used wool, lace, or hemp, if they could afford it.
Other people used all manner of plant matter, such as leaves and moss, or their hands, to clean.
In Ancient Rome some people used sponges stuck to the end of sticks. These would be placed in a bucket of vinegar to be reused.
These days more than seven million rolls of toilet paper are sold each year in the United States alone.
There is even a National Toilet Paper Day (August 26).
It wasn’t until 1935 that a manufacturer was able to offer ‘splinter-free toilet paper’. Ouch.
Coloured paper, to match your toilet, was popular in the States until the 1940s.
Novelty toilet paper can still be bought, sporting patterns for Christmas and Halloween, as well as the most popular patterns – Sudoku puzzles, a money print version, and glow in the dark paper.
An Australian manufacturer claims to have a 24 carat gold toilet paper roll (3 ply) for sale. It comes hand delivered with a bottle of champagne and a horrific price tag.
Toilet paper can come in 1 ply to 6 ply – when multiple sheets are back to back. The more ply, the softer, thicker and stronger the paper.
In the average house, an average toilet paper roll will last about five days.
Toilet paper uses shorter fibres than facial tissue paper or writing paper, so it decomposes faster.
Using toilet paper as a barrier between your body and the seat actually increases your chances of getting the germs, like E. Coli, that spray around everything within six feet when a toilet is flushed.
This is because toilet seats are specially designed so they won’t hold germs, And toilet paper is not. In fact, toilet paper’s fibres are the perfect breeding ground for germs.
Research has shown that toilet roll dispensers are the dirtiest item surrounding toilets.
ARE YOU A FOLDER OR A SCRUNCHER?
Another vital question, which is popular on the internet; are you a scruncher or a folder?
According to some, how you use toilet paper can say a lot about your personality.
If you are a scruncher, you are determined to get the job done quickly while offering maximum protection for your fingers. This could mean you are spontaneous, outgoing and fun.
Folders are seen as clean, sensible and efficient and organised – and tend to use less paper.
FLUSHING TREES AND BLUSHING GIRLS
It takes one tree to produce about 45 kg (100 pounds) of toilet paper.
Global toilet paper production consumes nearly 30,000 trees daily. That’s 10 million per year.
A startling statistic when you consider between 70 and 75 percent of the world population do not use toilet paper. Some consider it unsanitary while some do not have the resources or plumbing to cope.
Thankfully, manufacturers now offer recycled toilet paper. That’s recycled from other paper sources, not reused toilet paper – yuk!
During Desert Storm, the US Army used coloured toilet paper to camouflage their tanks.
A contest to make wedding dresses is sponsored by Charmin. The winner receives $2000.
Hotels often fold the end piece of toilet paper to show the bathroom has been cleaned. The first piece is often folded into a point but the practice has started to fire up imaginations creating a whole new craft – toilegami, or toilet paper origami.
This has inspired creatives to fold the paper into hearts, fans, and flowers and many other wonderful shapes.
There is even a machine, invented in Japan, that will automatically fold the first sheet of toilet paper into a triangle at the push of a button.
I remember the days when I was a young adolescent and made my mother write toilet paper in code when she sent me shopping because the words embarrassed me. It wasn’t a very clever code – TP – but it stopped me from blushing should a stranger read my list. How crazy are adolescents?
Anyway, Mum will be so proud I’ve written a whole post on the subject.
Hope you enjoyed my TP trivia. Stay tuned, next month I’ll be writing about toilets in honour of World Toilet Day (November 19). 🙂
Happy wiping and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.