gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids


toilet paper picture


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.



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.

toilet paper picture

It had me thinking about the paper, though. We take so much in life for granted without giving it a second’s thought.




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.


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 picture

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.


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.


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.








  1. Yes, for toilet paper is one of those things we take for granted and yet not something used in all countries. I do like it when I see the folded toilet paper in hotels, I feel special somehow and started doing that at home.

    • I like the little fold at the end of the paper too, Teresa, though I’m not doing it at home yet. Still trying to remember to put the roll on the ‘right’ way. 🙂

  2. This article was fascinating. Seriously. Who knew all of this about toilet paper!?! I like my toilet paper facing the front (the RIGHT way – lol).
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…What Kind of Life Do You Want To Create?My Profile

    • Hahaha, smart choice, Tandy.The more I researched this the more fascinated I became with something I had never given thought to before.

  3. Tami,

    Is there no end to your creative thoughts? Most impressed with your expose on toilet paper. It’s been a rough day, and I’m totally buying into your wonderment and enlightenment. Thank you for making my day end on a high note.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Brain concussions are more dangerous for womenMy Profile

    • Joyce, your lovely words are music to my ears. Sometimes I’m astounded by what I choose to write about, but knowing that it has made someone’s day a little cheerier makes it all worthwhile. 🙂

  4. Tamuria this is a great post. It kept a smile on my face. Never thought reading about the history of toilet paper would be so interesting. Thank you for being different and unpredictable!

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Lydia. I knew it was a strange subject to focus on but I became so excited when I learned all that trivia that I just had to share it. Great to know it made you smile.

  5. Thanks for sharing this information and history about toilet paper. I knew some of it but not the history.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…24 Useful Items For Your Family’s Organized CarMy Profile

    • Happy to share Sabrina. There is so much we take for granted and give no thought to and amazingly I found the information quite interesting.

  6. Okay, I’m laughing! Who knew you could find so much on toilet paper! So my issue is . . . no matter which way I hang it, the new puppy (and there’s always a new puppy!) grabs the end and runs around the house , streaming toilet paper gleefully behind her!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…Do You Even Know Why Being A Feminist Matters?My Profile

    • Hahaha, that puts the cutest picture in my head, Susan, but I guess it’s not always so adorable when you have to clean the mess. Maybe if you put your toilet paper on the ‘wrong’ way it will be harder for them to grab onto.

  7. This was so much fun to read. Loved all the fascinating facts. Many years ago I attended a lecture in which the speaker was chronicling her trip to Europe by showing us the differences in toilet paper from country to country. She got lots of laughs😊
    Alene Geed recently posted…The Secret Life of a Metal & Hammer HoarderMy Profile

    • That lecture would have been interesting and funny, Alene. Amazing how much information there is about something we rarely give thought to.

  8. Who knew there was so much to know? Only you, dear Gleeful Granddiva! Very fun post, and a wonderful vindication about my ‘rightness’ about how to hang the roll – how lovely! Thank you!
    Reba Linker recently posted…ZPoint Therapy: Interview with Grant ConnollyMy Profile

  9. Hi Tamuria,
    Very interesting and informative! So much I did not know about toilet paper, thank you for sharing 🙂
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…How To Create Blog Post Openings That Will Really Hook Your ReadersMy Profile

    • I had no idea there was such a lot of information about toilet paper until I started researching, Joan. I’m glad you found it interesting.

  10. Tamuria,
    Great article and love the creativity of toilet paper. A different way of thinking of using this with my son. Good article.

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