You should take more active role in the direction of your roll


Photo by Emma Song

In a school bathroom, a roll of toilet paper hangs facing out, which is how it should be.

What may appear to be a funny topic is far from it. Does a roll of toilet paper go over or under when placed on the holder? The answer goes beyond personal preference. People may not care about this topic, but they should. Toilet paper was always intended to go over and should still be done that way.

According to several studies, about 30% of people prefer toilet paper going under rather than over. One piece of reasoning is that putting the toilet paper under makes it harder for pets and animals to reach it. They are concerned about the toilet paper being dragged around their homes. Another reason is that people believe putting the toilet paper flap under makes it look tidier. These views deserve merit but can also be discredited. An animal or dog can tear up and drag around the toilet paper even if the roll is hanging under. Those who take that approach should consider closing the door or finding a more effective way to stop their pets. The two options are essentially as tidy or untidy as each other depending on the amount of time you take after using the toilet.

Toilet paper orientation has been shown to reflect people’s financial situation. Dr. Gilda Carle conducted surveys on the topic. It was found that three in four “under” people make less than $20,000 a year. On the other hand, two in three “over” people make more than $50,000 per year. This data doesn’t predict your yearly earnings based on how you put your toilet paper. However, Dr. Carle’s surveys show that “over” people are typically more assertive and likely to lead while “under” people are more submissive. Those traits can correlate to income and therefore putting your toilet paper over can create positive habits for yourself.

Another reason why toilet paper should go over is that it was intended to be put over. In 1891 Seth Wheeler patented the “wrapping or toilet paper roll.” The patent illustration for the product shows the structure and function of toilet paper. In that patent illustration, the toilet paper is shown hanging over. The inventor of toilet paper put his roll going over, so you should too. Toilet paper is also easier to use when it is hanging over. When it is underneath, it is easy to grab the wrong amount and waste paper. You save both time and paper by having it over.

The biggest reason to put the roll of toilet paper going over is its impact on your health. When a toilet paper roll is hanging under, you are much more likely to brush your hands and knuckles against the wall. When a toilet paper roll is hanging over, it is much more likely that the person will only touch the toilet paper they are about to use. Bathrooms are a common place for bacteria such as E-coli, which can cause food poisoning. Walls hold bacteria well and therefore more people touching the wall to get toilet paper will lead to the spread of germs. If you’re at a restaurant, school or work bathroom and the direction of the roll is out of your control, the solution is to thoroughly wash your hands. However, most people don’t wash their hands well enough to get rid of bacteria. That makes putting the roll over all the more important in preventing cases of food poisoning.

The original intention of the inventor, the efficiency, the physiological benefits and the health concerns of putting toilet paper under are all reasons why you should put your toilet paper over. Those who prefer under should question their preference. Those who prefer over should try to convince those who don’t to change. Finally, to those who don’t care: You should.