Toilet paper orientation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Toilet paper when used with toilet roll holder with a horizontal axle parallel to the wall has two possible orientations: the toilet paper may hang over (in front) or under (behind) the roll. The choice is largely a matter of personal preference, dictated by habit. In surveys of American consumers and of bath and kitchen specialists, 60–70% of respondents prefer over.
Despite its being an apparently trivial topic, people often hold strong opinions on the matter. Advice columnist Ann Landers said that the subject was the most controversial issue in her column’s history. Defenders of either position cite advantages ranging from aesthetics, hospitality, and cleanliness to paper conservation and the ease of detaching individual squares. Celebrities and experts are found on both sides. The reasons behind each person’s choice have been analyzed by several studies with theories ranging from age, sex, socioeconomic status to political philosophy. It has even been suggested that preference for under may correlate with ownership of a recreational vehicle or a cat.
Solutions range from compromise, to using separate dispensers or separate bathrooms entirely. One man advocates a plan under which his country will standardize on a single forced orientation, and at least one inventor hopes to popularize a new kind of toilet roll holder which swivels from one orientation to the other.
The main reasons given by people to explain why they hang their toilet paper a given way are ease of grabbing and habit. Some particular advantages cited for each orientation include:
Over reduces the risk of accidentally brushing the wall or cabinet with one’s knuckles, potentially transferring grime and germs.
Over makes it easier to visually locate and to grasp the loose end.
Over gives hotels, cruise ships, office buildings, public places and homeowners with guest bathrooms the option to fold over the last sheet to show that the room has been cleaned.
Over is generally the intended direction of viewing for the manufacturer’s branding, so patterned toilet paper looks better this way.
Under provides a tidier appearance, in that the loose end can be more hidden from view.
Under reduces the risk that a toddler or a house pet, such as a dog or cat, will completely unroll the toilet paper when batting at the roll.
Under in a recreational vehicle may reduce unrolling during driving.