Should toilet paper hang over the top of the roll, or should it emerge from under the roll? It’s a debate that’s been unfolding ever since toilet paper was first sold in rolls back in the 1880s. (That little gem of information comes hot off the press from the intriguing website: Toilet Paper History. Yes, there is such a thing.)
It’s such a contentious topic, that it’s been the subject of articles in such illustrious publications as Oprah magazine and the Huffington Post. It’s also a matter that has occupied some of the world’s finest scientific minds. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us to learn that Albert Einstein used to sit and ponder the toilet tissue issue before turning his attention back to the relatively unimportant Theory of Relativity. Ok, he probably didn’t. But he should have. It’s an important matter.
Other scientists have definitely put on their thinking caps about this one however. The vast majority agree that it is more hygienic to hang the paper OVER the roll. A study carried out by the University of Colorado identified 19 strains of bacteria lingering in public toilets, including E. coli which is found in human waste. E. coli transfers to your hands before you can count to two, so it’s highly likely you have it on your fingers before you even reach for the toilet paper. If that toilet paper is hanging under, it’s very difficult to get a good clean tear without touching and contaminating the rest of the roll. And a contaminated roll is bad news for those who come into contact with it after you’ve flushed the toilet and departed the scene. On the other hand, if the paper is hanging over, you’ll only be touching the part that’s about to get flushed. It’s hard to argue against that sort of science.
Of course, there are some people who will stick with the “under the roll” method. This is done with visual appeal in mind, apparently. The paper is less obtrusive when it is hidden away under the roll than it is when it is hanging over the top…and that’s all that counts for people who like to keep things tidy in the toilet.
With hygiene in mind, we recommend you hang your toilet paper over the top of the roll. Don’t just take our word for it. Oprah herself would tell you that. The article in her magazine concluded that over is definitely the way to go…and if over is good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for us.