It’s something we use every single day, and yet most of us probably never even think about it until we run out. But just like every other innovation since the dark ages (sliced bread and horseless carriages included) TP has a story, and there’s a lot about this everyday wonder you probably never knew. Here are our top 21 facts about toilet paper that you definitely didn’t know:
1. Packaged toilet paper wasn’t sold in the United States until 1857 (see #10 to find out what people used before toilet paper). Joseph Gayetty is the man who introduced packaged toilet paper to America. And he wanted credit, so he had his name printed on every sheet.
2. The first recorded use of toilet paper was in 6th century China.
3. The Chinese government was mass producing it by the 14th century.
4. About four billion people in the world do not use toilet paper (that’s nearly 75 percent of the world’s population) because it’s too expensive and they do not have sufficient plumbing.
5. Throughout history, what you used to wipe depended on your economic status. Wealthy Romans employed wool soaked in rose water, and French royalty used lace.
6. The first “splinter free” toilet paper toilet wasn’t manufactured until 1935 (ouch!). Up until this point, it was very common to have splinters in the toilet paper due to the techniques used in production.
7. Americans use an average of 8.6 sheets of toilet paper each time they go to the restroom.
8. The average person in the United States uses 100 rolls of toilet paper per year and the average household flushes about 80,000 sheets annually.
9. It takes 30,000 trees every day to fulfill the global demand of toilet paper.
10. What was used before toilet paper? People turned to hay, corncobs, sticks, stones, sand, moss, hemp, wool, and fruit peels, among other items.
11. There used to be a museum in Madison, Wisconsin dedicated solely to toilet paper – at one time showcasing more than 3,000 toilet paper rolls from around the world.
12. An average of 666 rolls are used every day at the Pentagon.
13. TV personality Johnny Carson caused a toilet paper shortage in 1973 when he joked on his show that the item was in short supply. Everyone ran out to buy up as many rolls as they could, leaving stores with empty shelves.
14. Seven percent of Americans admit to stealing toilet paper rolls from hotels.
15. Japanese horror novelist Koji Suzuki wrote an entire novel printed on a single roll of toilet paper.
16. The “Toilet Paper Tax,” introduced and passed by Bill Clinton in 1996, charges 6 cents per roll purchased and is still in effect today.
17. Bidets are the preferred cleaning method to toilet paper in most Western European countries.
18. Toilet paper nicknames include bum wad, TP, loo paper, bog rolls, and tissue.
19. In 1928, the Hoberg Paper Company created Charmin, which was the first company to advertise their toilet paper’s softness over its purpose.
20. When asked what they’d bring if they were stuck on a deserted island, 49 percent of people said they’d bring TP before food.
21. The world’s largest toilet paper roll was made by Charmin to celebrate World Toilet Paper Day (yes, it’s a thing) and measured eight feet high with a diameter of more than nine feet.
22. Renova, a TP brand made in Portugal, is the most expensive toilet paper in the world, costing $3 per roll. It’s three-ply, perfumed, comes in red, black, blue, and green, and is a favorite among celebrities like Beyoncé and Kris Jenner.
23. Colored toilet paper was manufactured in the United States for 40 years and Scott was the last company to stop making it in 2004.
24. Toilet paper and facial tissues aren’t the same thing, although they feel similar. TP is specifically made to decompose within seconds of getting wet, allowing it to easily dissolve in septic systems.
25. August 26 is National Toilet Paper Day, deemed so to commemorate the first time it was ever sold on a roll (August 26, 1871).
Now that you are a toilet paper fact expert, you might want to stock up on it! Shop ReStockIt to find great deals on jumbo, coreless, and regular toilet paper individually and in bulk.