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loo roll hanging

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How’s it hanging?

A debate that appears to have been in existence since the dawn of time, and no, we don’t mean what came first, the chicken or the egg? We mean which is the correct way to hang your toilet roll. We’re sure you have an opinion on the subject – do you hang your toilet roll over or under? ‘Over’ meaning the loose end of the loo roll drapes over the top, and ‘under’ where the loose end is closest to the wall. This debate has been known to divide families, prompt an office vote and tear friendships apart. CNet claims that a poll taken showed that the ‘over’ method was preferred by 70% of participants, but does preference equate to being correct?

What is the ‘right’ way to hang your toilet paper?

The scientific theory suggests that the ‘over’ method is more hygienic. This is because if hung over, the user’s fingers will only touch the paper they will be using, which will be flushed, resulting in a lower chance of spreading germs and bacteria. However, the ‘under’ method can be a hygiene disaster in public restrooms, as it means the user will touch loo roll they won’t end up using and there’s an increased likelihood that their hand will brush against the wall also, potentially spreading germs on the wall where the loo roll rests. Combine this with the frequent practice of cr+ppy hand washing (a dash of soap and a quick 2 seconds under the tap) and bacteria from the walls and toilet itself is quickly transferred.

Over vs Under

Those sh+tting in the ‘over’ camp suggest that as the ‘posh’ hotels always put new toilet rolls this way, often along with a folded end, this must be the correct method. This view is supported by Sarah Richardson, Good Housekeeping’s Home Design Director, who states “Hotels can’t be wrong — they replace toilet paper more than anyone.” In addition to this, many toilet paper patterns and designs are the correct way up when the roll is placed this way.

Some cite ‘ease of use’ when discussing the ‘over’ method. However, this can actually be the cause of issues, with ‘under’ users claiming the ‘over’ method increases the likelihood of toddlers and cats unravelling the whole roll; resulting in a nostalgic feeling of winding up the loo roll again, similar to rewinding old video tapes or cassettes. 

Those who prefer the ‘under’ method simply prefer the tidiness where the loose end is kept neatly tucked behind the roll itself. Additionally, there is a common preference for ‘under’ when used in recreational vehicles, such as caravans and boats, as the under method will reduce the chances of the roll unravelling during travel.

Personality tests

This debate has gained so much traction, with advice column Ask Ann Landers receiving 15,000 letters in 1986, provoking the highest number of responses and thus making it the most controversial issue in the column’s history. Furthermore, relationship expert and TV therapist Dr. Gilda Carle created a personality test to identify what it is that sets the two parties apart. Dubbed as the Toilet Paper Personality Test, 2,000 people were surveyed, they were asked two questions: 

1. Which way did they hang their loo roll? 

2. How assertive are they in their relationships on a scale of 1 to 10. 

The conclusion of the personality test? Those who place the loo roll in the ‘over’ position are more dominant than those who have it ‘under’. The study also showed that people who roll the toilet paper over feel far more strongly about the orientation of their loo roll, going so far as to flip over someone’s loo roll orientation when visiting a friend’s home. (The Independent).

Patent sheds light on debate

Now here comes what some would call the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for those who argue that the paper should be hung under, the glorious patent from Sam Wheeler, often credited as America’s founding father of toilet paper. Wheeler’s patent for perforated wipes was created in 1871, and following this, his second patent for a roll and handle design in 1891 shows that the correct way to hang the toilet paper is in fact, ‘over’. That’s right, we said it. We’re just going by the facts here, we don’t mean to offend. 

So 70% of people are technically correct, although we do think that these stats miss out the few people who genuinely just don’t give a crap. So, what camp are you sh+tting in? Over or under? We won’t judge, we promise. As experts in supplying portable toilets across South East England, whilst we can’t promise you will like the orientation of the loo roll in our portable loos, we promise you’ll find the facilities themselves perfect for your ‘offloading’ needs. Give us a call on 0800 606 100 and get a quote on some pristine portable toilets or luxury trailers for any occasion.

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