The Great Toilet Paper Debate: Should It Be Under or Over?

Updated on December 5, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about interesting things.

Over or Under?
Over or Under?

Some things will forever be up for a debate. There are some things people have been debating for centuries without the two sides agreeing. The question keeps coming up about which came first the chicken or the egg.

Another popular debate is about the right way to put toilet paper on the roll. There are some "under the roll" people, and then there are some "over the roll" people.

Personal Preference

The choice of over or under is a personal preference. Whenever the habit is formed, it is hard to break it. People prefer doing what they have been used to doing.

It is not an issue when a person lives alone or has his own bathroom. It becomes a problem when a family cannot decide if the loose ends of the paper should go over the top or under the roll.

Advice for Germophobes

Germophobes should put the toilet paper on the roll so that the sheets come over the top, according to numerous studies, That way decreases germ exposure.

According to Inc. magazine, the over way prevents dirty hands from reaching underneath and leaving bacteria on the sheets they do not remove. People who use the over method are less likely to touch sheets they do not take. If they reach underneath the roll, they will surely touch sheets that are left behind for the next person.

According to Surveys

According to bath and kitchen specialists, surveys show that 60 to 70 percent of United States residents prefer over the roll instead of under the roll.

Even though hotels, cruise ships, bus stations, airport bathrooms, office buildings, and public places have an option, they often choose to put the toilet paper in the over position.

Arguments for the Over Method

There are more arguments for using the over method than for using the under method. In surveys, people cite the following reasons for thinking the over method is the best way for them.

  • Over reduces the risk of accidentally touching sheets that are not taken.
  • When people use the over the roll method they avoid brushing the wall or cabinet.
  • It is easier to see the sheets that are being taken.
  • It is easier to grasp sheets.
  • Some say patterned toilet paper looks better when it is in the over position.

Arguments for the Under Method

There are fewer people who use the under method than people who use the over method. People cite using the under method for just a couple of reasons.

  • The under method provides a tidier appearance when the toilet paper is plain. That is not the case with patterned paper.
  • When the paper is in the under position, it reduces the chance that a toddler, dog or cat will unroll the toilet paper as seen in the photo above.

Ways to Compromise

While the debate continues, families have come up with ways to compromise so everyone will be happy.

One family admits that there is such an argument among the parents and children that they do not use a toilet paper holder at all. They put rolls of toilet paper in a large basket near the toilet. Members of the family simply pick up a roll and take the number of sheets they want to use. This is not an ideal situation, but it cuts down on the arguments.

Another way to handle the debate is for members of the family is to allow the person who uses the last sheet on the old roll to replace the roll with the method of his choice. Therefore, everyone gets a chance to use his individual method.

Instructions According to the Toilet Paper Roll Patent

According to MAXIM, there are two types of people in the world. There are the normal people who hang toilet paper in the “over” position. Then there are others who hang it in the “under” position.

Many toilet paper users, and hopefully that's all people, do not know that in 1891 the toilet paper roll was patented. The directions state that the end of the roll should be hanging off the exterior.

Personalities Based on the Over and Under Method

It might be surprising to know that there is a Toilet Paper Personality Test designed by Dr. Gilda Carle, a psychotherapist and consultant for Cottonelle. The results show that those who use the over method are more dominant and are more likely to succeed in careers that impact the world. People who use the under method are more submissive. Those who don't care are the ones who don't like conflicts. Therefore, they stay neutral.

Some over-the-roll-people feel so strongly about the orientation of their toilet paper, that they actually admitted to flipping the roll over if they come across an under toilet paper roll at someone's house.

It seems that there are more people who prefer the over the roll method than those who prefer the under the roll method.

Which method do you prefer for your toilet paper?

See results

Toilet Paper Trivia

In a book about Simon Cowell's life, the author claims the English reality television judge and producer insists that only black toilet paper is in all the bathrooms in his London and Los Angeles homes. Each roll of 100 sheets cost the millionaire $13.07.

In the 2011 movie The Help, Viola Davis' character was allowed only a few sheets at a time. The roll was marked so her employee would know exactly how many sheets she used.

People in a household uses an average of 8 sheets each time they use the toilet. That's 57 sheets per day and 20,805 each year.

In some prisons, inmates are given only one roll of toilet paper a week. It is up to them how to make it last the entire week.


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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Larry, that's a good idea about finding the end. Thanks for reading and commenting about the toilet paper debate.

    • lpwilsonwriting profile image

      Lawrence P Wilson 

      23 months ago from Green Bay WI

      Not that I would ever change a roll that was not "over". That would be a control issue for sure, or neurotic. It's just easier to find the end.



    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Eman, yes that is a great idea to be careful if you have young children.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      23 months ago from Egypt

      Thanks for more information. I was not interested in how to put the toilet tissue, but after reading this article I will care more so that my children do not act like the picture in the article.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      23 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Margaret for more information. You are an amazing writer with plenty of life experiences which we are fortunate to benefit from because you provide clear and interesting facts to read.

      May your day be peaceful and rewarding,

      Much respect and admiration,


    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Tim, I remember times when people here in the South had to put coins in the public bathroom door to use it. In 1997 when I went on a seminary trip to the Middle East, we had to take our own toilet paper.

      It is amazing what people debate. I am like you. I am just glad toilet paper is available when it is needed.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      23 months ago from U.S.A.

      I must live in the "I don't care" category. I'm all about functionality. What's important to me is that it is there. I remember reading in China people are charged for toilet paper when they go to public bathrooms.

      It's interesting about the people preferring the "over" method being more dominant. But all of your information here is things to think about.

      Thanks, Margaret for an informative, well written, and rewarding article.

      Much respect,


    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Let me be the first to comment on my own article. I might be in the minority, but I prefer the under the roll method. I make sure I am the one who changes the roll in my house.


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