Amazing Facts About Toilet Paper

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Who knew toilet paper could be so fascinating? Despite its everyday presence in our lives, it’s a product that holds many intriguing secrets. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the surprising and often bizarre world of toilet paper – from its historical origins to the funny trivia that surrounds it today.

Ready for a roll ride into the unknown?

Key Takeaways

  • Toilet paper started in China and was used first by royal people.
  • The first toilet paper for sale was made of hemp by Joseph Gayetty.
  • People once fought about the right way to hang toilet paper until Seth Wheeler’s patent ended the fight.
  • Colored toilet paper was a trend in the 1950s but is not popular now due to health worries.
  • A roll of toilet paper worth $1.3 million exists, it is made entirely from gold!
  • In parts of Europe, bidets are preferred over using toilet papers.
  • The U.S uses more toilet paper than any other country with an average person using 57 squares daily.
  • Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest is held every year where people make wedding dresses out of only tissue papers.

The Unexpected History of Toilet Paper

While toilet paper seems a modern necessity, its roots trace back to China in the 6th century where it was used exclusively by royalty. The wild turn of history brought hemp-based toilet paper into commercial production, opening avenues for common people.

Yet believe it or not, there was a time when even these rolls came with dreaded splinters!

Toilet paper Photo Credit: Alexas_Fotos Pixabay
Modern Toilet paper Rolls

Originated in China

China gave the world toilet paper. The people of China used it as early as the 6th century, during the Tang Dynasty Later, in the year 1393, even royal folks in Nanjing started using it. During the Ming Dynasty, the toilet paper was perfumed, and produced in giant sheets measuring 2 feet by 3 feet! Can you believe they went through 720,000 sheets in just one year? And that’s how we got our start with this everyday item.

The first commercially available toilet paper was made from hemp

In 1857, toilet paper in the U.S. started to be sold in packs. The man behind this was Joseph Gayetty from New York. He made the first commercially available toilet paper using hemp.

Charmin Ultra Soft Cushiony Touch Toilet Paper, 24 Family Mega Rolls (Equal to 123 Regular Rolls)
Charmin Ultra Soft Cushiony Touch Toilet Paper. Click here to purchase.

This amazing product bore his name as ‘Gayetty’s Medicated Paper‘. Hemp did a good job then because it is strong and soft.

Over time, other types of materials have been used to make toilet paper too. Now, most companies use both new and recycled papers instead of just using hemp like Gayetty did long ago.

Toilet paper used to have splinters

Old toilet paper was not as nice as it is now. In fact, it used to be hard and had wood splinters in it! Northern Tissue changed all that in 1935. They brought out their “Splinter Free” toilet paper for the first time then.

This made using toilet paper a lot more comfortable.

Video: The history of Toilet Paper

Interesting Facts about Toilet Paper

A patent solved the age-old debate on the correct way to hang toilet paper. In the 1950s, colored toilet paper was a huge trend and brought a pop of color into bathrooms. Believe it or not, one toilet paper roll was worth an astonishing $1.3 million! With creativity at its finest, an entire novella found its way onto sheets of this everyday necessity.

The debate on the proper way to hang the roll was solved by a patent

There used to be a fight about the right way to hang toilet paper. Some people hung it with the loose end over the roll. Others did it under. Then, Seth Wheeler stepped in. He had a patent for rolled and perforated toilet paper, which changed everything.

His design showed the loose end should go over the roll, not under! This solved all fights about hanging toilet paper.

Colored toilet paper was a trend in the 1950s

In the 1950s, colored toilet paper was in style. Everyone wanted to have it! It wasn’t just plain white anymore. The rose pink color was a big favorite among people. But there were other colors too.

You could get toilet paper in green, blue, or even peach.

Colored toilet paper.  AI image.
Colored and patterned toilet paper was once a trend.

But this trend did not last forever. Over time, worry started about what the dye might do to our bodies and our earth. This made colored toilet paper less popular.

The most expensive toilet paper roll was worth $1.3 million

An Australian company made the most expensive toilet paper ever in 2013. This roll was valued at $1.3 million! The high price came from its make-up; it was entirely crafted out of pure 24-karat gold and weighed two pounds.

It measured a full 12 inches in size too. People saw this golden toilet paper as more than just for wiping — it was a truly one-off novelty item!

A whole novella was once printed on toilet paper

A book was once put on toilet paper. Yes, you heard that right! A novella got printed onto one long sheet of this basic item. This odd way to print proves the many uses for toilet paper.

It also shows how art can pop up in the most surprising places. The toilet paper novella is now a hot topic and a special thing to collect.

Toilet Paper Usage Around the World

While the U.S. tops the list in toilet paper consumption, about 75% of people worldwide don’t use it at all—highlighting stark differences in cleanliness norms and resources across societies.

The U.S. is the top consumer of toilet paper

People in the U.S. use a lot of toilet paper. In fact, more than any other place in the world. The average person here uses 57 squares daily. That’s about 100 rolls each year! Apart from using, the U.S also buys some of its toilet paper from outside countries.

Of these imports, nearly half comes from Canada and most of the rest from China or Mexico.

Toilet roll on branch
More natural, unbleached and even bamboo toilet paper is now available.

Even at work people still use plenty of it too! For instance, at the Pentagon – where many important folks meet – they go through almost 666 rolls every single day.

Approximately 75% of the world’s population doesn’t use toilet paper

Many people in the world do not use toilet paper. Four billion, which is about 75% of all people, don’t use it. Some of these folks live in places where there are not enough trees to make toilet paper.

In Europe, many prefer bidets over toilet paper. Every day, we cut down almost 30,000 trees to turn them into toilet paper. That’s ten million trees each year! Big buildings like the Pentagon go through a lot of toilet paper too – up to 666 rolls every day!

Fun Trivia About Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper on A Roll

Toilet paper on a roll was patented by Seth Wheeler in 1871 and then mass production was introduced in 1890 by the brothers E. Irvin and Clarence Scott, and their company is known as The Scott Paper Company.

A yearly toilet paper wedding dress contest exists

Every year, a special contest takes place. This is not your usual competition; it’s the Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest! People come up with wonderful designs for wedding dresses.

Yet, they can only use toilet paper. They also use tape, glue or needle and thread to piece their creation together.

The contest is filled with fun and creativity. Many find new uses for toilet paper through this event. The best design gets a reward of $10,000! So, if you love fashion design and have some extra rolls of tissue laying around the house – why not give it a try? It sure makes for an interesting twist on recycling!

Amazon Brand - Presto! 308-Sheet Mega Roll Toilet Paper, Ultra-Soft, 24 Count
Presto! 308-Sheet Mega Roll Toilet Paper. Click here to purchase

There was once a toilet paper museum in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a special place was built just for toilet paper. This museum collected all things about toilet paper and shared them with the public. People could learn cool facts and see how toilet paper has changed over time.

Yet, it is no longer open today. Visitors of then marvelled at the funny parts of this everyday item’s story that they never knew before!

Every home uses Toilet paper
Every home uses toilet paper | Photo Credit: hermaion

Science of Toilet Paper and Dissolution Dynamics

Toilet paper isn’t just any old paper. Since it has to come in contact with sensitive skin, it has to be soft, and not a cause of irritation. Some toilet paper brands are better for sensitive skin than others.

Toilet paper has to be strong enough to use, absorbent, and also must be able to be processed through sewage systems or septic systems.

See also: Toilet Paper Aids

Toilet Paper in Water vs. Porta Potty Chemicals

The dissolution properties of toilet paper are a matter of significant importance. This subject becomes particularly interesting when we compare how toilet paper dissolves in plain water versus how it dissolves in porta potty chemicals.

Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate quickly in water. This property is achieved by maintaining a delicate balance between durability and solubility. During the manufacturing process, cellulose fibers are loosely bonded together so that when exposed to water, these bonds break down quickly, causing the toilet paper to dissolve. This ensures the safe and easy transportation of the paper through pipes and sewer systems, reducing the risk of blockages.

However, porta potties or portable toilets function differently. They are not connected to a traditional sewer system but house a holding tank for waste. This tank contains chemicals designed to break down waste, combat odors, and kill harmful bacteria. Some common ingredients in porta potty chemicals include biocides, surfactants, and blue dye.

When toilet paper comes into contact with porta potty chemicals, it dissolves in a different manner than it does in water. Biocides are designed to break down organic matter, which includes the cellulose fibers in toilet paper. While these chemicals are not as quick at dissolving toilet paper as water, they are more thorough due to their primary function of decomposing organic matter.

Surfactants in the chemical mix also play a role. They reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to more efficiently penetrate the toilet paper, aiding its decomposition. The presence of these chemicals results in the toilet paper breaking down more gradually compared to when it’s dissolved in plain water. (The blue dye in porta potty chemicals serves the purpose of masking the waste rather than aiding in decomposition. It does not play a direct role in how toilet paper dissolves.)

In conclusion, toilet paper dissolves quickly and efficiently in water due to the loose bonding of cellulose fibers used in its manufacture. In contrast, in porta potty chemicals, the dissolution process is slower but more thorough, as biocides and surfactants work to break down the paper’s organic matter. Despite the difference in their mechanisms, both methods are effective at breaking down toilet paper, helping to maintain hygiene and sanitation in their respective contexts.

Video – Toilet Paper and its Many Uses

Because toilet paper is ubiquitous, creative folks have come up with many more uses for it than cleaning oneself. It can be used for everything from an exercise prop to a quick dry sponge to a wick to hair curlers. Check out the video below of 30 toilet paper hacks.

Toilet Paper Video – Not just for the bathroom!


Toilet paper has a fascinating past, filled with unexpected turns. It shows us how simple things we use every day have deep stories. From China to Americasplinters to silky smoothness, its history and facts are truly surprising.

That’s the unique journey of toilet paper!


What are some fun toilet paper facts?

Some funny toilet paper facts include toilet paper pranks like TP-ing, the creation of toilet paper wedding dresses, and unique items such as gold toilet paper made by The Toilet Paper Man.

How is modern toilet paper made?

Modern Toilet Paper has a making process that involves debarking at a mill, adding it to a digester, then using converting machines to fold and wad into rolls.

When was packaged and splinter-free toilet paper invented?

Packaged sometimes two-ply or one-ply, often splinter-free version of the modern Toilet Paper started in the 14th century.

Are there different types of specialty papers?

Yes! China’s royal family used scented rolls for freshness while “recycled” brands make use out of old papers instead of virgin trees for production.

Who are notable names in TP history?

Seth Wheeler patented rolled toilet paper in 1871. Manufcaturing was introduced in 1890 by the brothers E. Irvin and Clarence Scott, at th The Scott Paper Company.

What can you tell me about general global demand on this product today?

There has been high Global demand for this household item with many interesting patents around designs – including holders recessed into walls or robots delivering toilet paper.

Pin for later

Amazing Facts about Toilet Paper