Top 10 Interesting and Fun Facts About Toilet Paper
Toilet Paper on a Roll
Unusual Fun Facts - About Toilet Paper!
Toilet paper is used every day by most people in America. Understandably, it isn't something that we tend to talk about.
But, as with almost anything, when you start to think about it you realize that it is really interesting.
Here are ten of the most unusual and fun facts about toilet paper - and there's a poll at the end so you can join in!
1. Who Invented Toilet Paper?
Well, it was the Chinese who invented paper, so it is little surprise to discover that they were the first to use it in their personal hygiene practices.
The earliest recorded use of paper as a toiletry comes from China in the sixth century AD but it only became really popular from the fourteenth century when the Imperial Court of the Ming Dynasty started having it manufactured for the purpose.
In 1393 the Court ordered no fewer than 720, 000 sheets to be made to keep the royal seat clean. The astonishing thing is that each sheet measured the equivalent of 60 cm by 90 cm. That's nearly 26,000 square miles of paper!
The Emperor Hong Wu was particularly delicate in his habits and ordered 15, 000 sheets to be made especially soft and perfumed for his personal use.
Ancient Roman Latrine
2. So What Did Folks Use Before Toilet Paper?
Well, what you used for your personal bathroom needs before the invention of toilet paper depended to some degree on your social status and your geographical location.
If you were wealthy, then you might use wool, or a soft - and washable - rag. The Ancient Romans used sponges on sticks and then soaked in water.
If you were not so well off, then the most common thing to do was simply to grab a fistful of grass, leaves or straw to do what needed to be done.
In some parts of the world, going to the toilet always meant just going to the nearest river or stream and letting the current carry the waste away. Any wiping was done just by hand. That is why in India and some parts of the Middle East it is considered offensive to eat or pass food at table with your left hand - because that's the one that you would use in the river.
In many European countries today, the use of toilet paper is considered dirty and unhygienic. In these countries the most common practice is a thorough, soapy wash and rinse afterwards using a 'bidet.' This is a sort of low basin with hot water tap and soap that you sit on and is usually placed next to the toilet for convenience.
Bidet - The Paper Free Option
3. How Many Sheets on a Roll of Toilet Paper?
In fact, the number of sheets on a roll varies depending on the manufacturer and the type of paper being used. It also depends on if it is one-ply or two-ply.
One-ply has a single layer of paper per sheet. Two-ply has a double layer for added strength and softness.
The average number of sheets per roll can vary enormously from as few as two hundred up to a thousand. In general, there will be more sheets if it is one-ply and fewer if it is two-ply. Why not check your own rolls to find out what you've got?
This is because you are paying for the same amount of paper in each case and so the cost is the same - but you get fewer sheets for your money!
That said, there are no hard and fast rules. Some budget suppliers will produce loosely rolled paper with only two hundred sheets wrapped around each tube. At the other end of the scale there are huge rolls with thousands of sheets that are produced for use in public conveniences.
How to Make a Decorative Wreath from Toilet Rolls!
4. How Many Sheets Does One Person Use?
A survey conducted by the toilet paper manufacturer, Charmin, showed that the average U.S. citizen uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper per day.
That's three hundred ninety-nine sheets per week, one thousand, nine hundred ninety-six sheets per month, nineteen thousand one hundred fifty-two sheets per year and a staggering one million, five hundred thirty-two thousand, one hundred sixty sheets if you live to be 80 years old!
An average household will flush away nearly eighty thousand sheets a year.
And that doesn't include the paper that is used for other purposes such as blowing noses, cleaning spectacles and so on.
That's a heck of a lot of paper!
Inside a Toilet Paper Factory
5. Novelty Toilet Paper
Most folk know that, while white is still the most popular toilet paper throughout the world, there are other colors available - such as soft pink or peach. Some toilet paper is also moistened or perfumed.
But did you ever come across 'novelty' toilet paper before?
Some of the most popular novelty toilet papers include
- camouflage paper - so you can blend in when you need to go in the jungle.
- sudoku paper - for those that like to solve math puzzles in the bathroom.
- $100 bill paper - for those with more money than sense.
- and my personal favorite: glow in the dark toilet paper - very handy for nighttime emergencies!
These novelty toilet papers cost a few cents more than regular paper but they work just the same. ;)
6. The World's Largest Toilet Roll
The largest ever toilet roll was made by the manufacturer Charmin and measured a monstrous eight feet high and had a diameter of more than nine feet. The roll was made to celebrate World Toilet Paper Day (I know; it was news to me, too!) and was verified by the World Record Academy.
The giant toilet roll was made out of 1,000,000 square feet of toilet paper - that's the equivalent to 95, 000 regular toilet rolls!
Now you know.
Now you know.
7. Toilet Paper Wedding Dress
This was a surprise to me!
There have actually been hundreds of wedding dresses made out of toilet paper - and many of them have really been worn to actual weddings.
It turns out that toilet paper can be a very adaptable and resilient material with special qualities that make it an interesting challenge for dressmakers to use.
There is even an annual competition in New York for the best wedding dress made from toilet paper. The prize is a lot of publicity for the designer and $2000.
In the following video, a group of design students work together to respond to the challenge to make a dress out of bathroom paper. See what you think of how they got on!
The Toilet Paper Dress Challenge
8. Toilet Paper in Space
It may not be something that you thought about before but even astronauts need the bathroom.
The toilets that they use are different to earth toilets because there is only a very small pull of gravity (known as microgravity) and so a special vacuum and suction device is used for disposal of the voided matter. But toilet paper is still the wipe of choice for American astronauts when using the facilities in The International Space Station.
The paper is disposed of in special, sealed containers where it is compressed and destroyed on return to earth.
There is Toilet Paper on the International Space Station
9. Toilet Paper as Entertainment for Cats
I guess anyone who has a cat, or has ever had a cat, will be familiar with this one.
But for those of you who don't already know, be assured that cats believe toilet paper is a special toy installed in the bathroom for them to play with.
Cats know that they need never be bored at home. In any idle moment there is always a quick trip to the bathroom to do what the little fella in the following video does...
Cat Plays With Toilet Roll
10. Toilet Paper Doesn't Have to be Cheap
Most of us, even if we favor a 'luxury' toilet paper still think of it as a fairly affordable item on the shopping list.
But what most of us think of as luxury paper may as well be nothing in terms of class and style compared to the crème de la crème of luxury toilet tissues used by multi-millionaires, movie stars and offered for use in the bathrooms of only the most exclusive hotels. That is Renova.
This super-soft, strong and extra absorbent paper comes in a range of distinctive, classy colors that ooze a sense of wealth.
This stuff is really only for people who can afford to flush dollar bills away!
The End of the Roll...Time for a Poll!
I hope you've enjoyed this look at some fun facts about toilet paper.
I wonder how many other everyday items there are that we take for granted that are so interesting and used in such unusual and creative ways.
I bet there are many.
Just before you go, don't forget to take a minute to answer the poll!