Elvira Springer

Written by Elvira Springer

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Nytimes.com

Toilet paper is a ubiquitous product that we often take for granted in our daily lives. It’s an essential item found in almost every household and is widely used around the world. While it may seem like a mundane topic, there are actually quite a few interesting facts about toilet paper that you may not be aware of. From its ancient origins to its role in modern-day hygiene practices, toilet paper has a fascinating history and cultural significance. In this article, we will explore 18 intriguing facts about toilet paper that will give you a whole new perspective on this humble bathroom essential. So, let’s dive in and uncover some surprising details about toilet paper!

Key Takeaways:

  • Toilet paper has a rich history, from ancient Chinese emperors to modern space missions. It’s not just for the bathroom – it’s been used for art, currency, and even as a bandage!
  • Did you know that toilet paper can be recycled and comes in scented options? It’s also celebrated on World Toilet Paper Day! Plus, there are giant novelty rolls for some bathroom fun.
Table of Contents

Toilet paper was first used by ancient Chinese emperors.

The Chinese were the pioneers of modern toilet paper, dating back to the 6th century. It was exclusively used by emperors and their royal courts.

Joseph Gayetty invented the first commercially available toilet paper in the United States in 1857.

Before Gayetty’s invention, people used newspaper, corn cobs, or leaves as alternatives. His toilet paper was made of hemp and contained aloe to provide a soothing effect.

The average person uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper per year.

That’s roughly 20,000 sheets or 57 sheets per day. It’s no wonder toilet paper is considered an essential household item.

Toilet paper can be biodegradable and septic-safe.

Many brands now produce toilet paper made from recycled materials or bamboo, which is more environmentally friendly. These options break down easier in septic systems and reduce environmental impact.

Around 70-75% of the world still does not use toilet paper.

Cultures in many parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East use water, bidets, or other cleansing methods instead of toilet paper.

The most expensive toilet paper ever created was worth $1.3 million.

Created by the Australian company “The Toilet Paper Man,” this luxurious roll was adorned with 24-karat gold flakes and featured a diamond-studded handle.

Toilet paper shortages occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to panic buying and hoarding, several countries experienced temporary shortages in toilet paper supply, leaving store shelves empty and people searching for alternatives.

Toilet paper has been used for more than just personal hygiene.

Throughout history, toilet paper has been used for art projects, makeshift bandages, and even as a substitute for currency in some prisons.

Scott Paper Company was the first to produce and sell toilet paper on a roll.

In 1890, the Scott brothers revolutionized the toilet paper industry by introducing pre-cut and perforated rolls, making it more convenient and easier to use.

Oversized novelty toilet paper rolls exist.

For those seeking a bit of fun, there are giant toilet paper rolls that can provide amusement and serve as a unique decorative item.

Toilet paper was used by NASA astronauts in space.

In the absence of gravity, using regular water and soap for personal hygiene was not practical. Toilet paper became the go-to option for astronauts during their missions.

Some people prefer using bidets over toilet paper.

Bidets use water to clean, providing a more thorough and hygienic alternative to toilet paper. They are particularly popular in European countries.

There are specialty toilet papers scented with different fragrances.

For those seeking a pleasant scent in the bathroom, scented toilet paper options, such as lavender or chamomile, are available on the market.

Toilet paper can be used for cleaning other surfaces too.

It can be used to clean glasses, computer screens, or as a lint remover. However, avoid using toilet paper with lotions or additives for these purposes.

Colored toilet paper was once popular.

In the past, colored toilet paper was available in various hues, including pink, blue, and green. This trend has significantly declined in recent years.

There is a World Toilet Paper Day celebrated on August 26th.

This day aims to raise awareness about proper sanitation practices and the importance of toilet paper in maintaining hygiene.

Toilet paper has different textures and ply options.

From ultra-soft and extra strong to one-ply and two-ply, there are various options available to cater to different preferences.

Toilet paper is recyclable.

Used toilet paper can be recycled into new paper products if properly processed in recycling facilities.


In conclusion, toilet paper is an essential part of our daily lives that often goes unnoticed. It has a fascinating history and plays a significant role in maintaining proper hygiene. From its humble beginnings in ancient China to its modern-day variations, toilet paper has come a long way. Whether you prefer single-ply or ultra-soft, scented or unscented, toilet paper remains a staple in households around the world.

Next time you reach for a roll of toilet paper, take a moment to appreciate its versatility and the convenience it brings to our lives. It’s not just a mundane household item but an essential tool for cleanliness and comfort.

So the next time you find yourself pondering the wonders of toilet paper, remember these interesting facts and share them with your friends. Toilet paper may seem simple, but it has a much richer history and importance than meets the eye.


1. Who invented toilet paper?

Toilet paper was first invented in ancient China during the 6th century AD. It was made from soft, thick sheets of paper known as “emperor’s paper” and was reserved for the exclusive use of the Chinese imperial family.

2. How long is the average roll of toilet paper?

The length of a standard roll of toilet paper can vary, but it’s typically around 1000 sheets or 164 feet long. However, there are various sizes available in the market, including jumbo rolls for commercial use.

3. Is scented toilet paper safe to use?

Yes, scented toilet paper is generally safe to use. The scents used in the manufacturing process are designed to be skin-friendly. However, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s best to opt for unscented toilet paper to avoid any potential irritation.

4. Can toilet paper be recycled?

Yes, toilet paper can be recycled. Most toilet paper brands use recycled paper fibers in their manufacturing process. However, it’s essential to check the packaging for recycling symbols and guidelines specific to your area.

5. Are there any alternatives to using toilet paper?

Yes, there are alternatives to using toilet paper, such as bidets, wet wipes, or washable cloth wipes. These options are more environmentally friendly and can be a hygienic alternative for those looking to reduce their toilet paper consumption.

6. How much toilet paper does the average person use in a year?

The average person uses about 50 to 100 rolls of toilet paper per year, depending on their habits and household size. It’s important to note that this estimation can vary significantly.

7. Can you flush toilet paper down the toilet?

Yes, toilet paper is designed to be flushable and will dissolve in water. However, it’s advisable to avoid overloading the toilet with excessive amounts of toilet paper to prevent clogs. It’s always a good idea to follow any guidelines or restrictions provided by your local plumbing system.

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