Most people all over the world use toilet paper every day. Understandably, it isn't something that we tend to talk about.
But, as with almost anything, when you start to think about it you realize that it is really interesting.
Here are ten of the most unusual and fun facts about toilet paper.
Who Invented Toilet Paper?
Well, it was the Chinese who invented paper, so it is little surprise to discover that they were the first to use it in their personal hygiene practices.
The earliest recorded use of paper as a toiletry comes from China in the sixth century AD but it only became really popular from the fourteenth century when the Imperial Court of the Ming Dynasty started having it manufactured for the purpose.
In 1393 the Court ordered no fewer than 720, 000 sheets to be made to keep the royal seat clean. The astonishing thing is that each sheet measured the equivalent of 60 cm by 90 cm. That's nearly 26,000 square miles of paper!
The Emperor Hong Wu was particularly delicate in his habits and ordered 15, 000 sheets to be made especially soft and perfumed for his personal use.
How Many Sheets on a Roll of Toilet Paper?
The number of sheets on a roll varies depending on the manufacturer and the type of paper being used. It also depends on if it is one-ply or two-ply. One-ply has a single layer of paper per sheet. Two-ply has a double layer for added strength and softness. The average number of sheets per roll can vary enormously from as few as two hundred up to a thousand. In general, there will be more sheets if it is one-ply and fewer if it is two-ply.
This is because you are paying for the same amount of paper in each case and so the cost is the same - but you get fewer sheets for your money!
That said, there are no hard and fast rules. Some budget suppliers will produce loosely rolled paper with only two hundred sheets wrapped around each tube. At the other end of the scale there are huge rolls with thousands of sheets that are produced for use in public conveniences.
How Many Sheets Does One Person Use?
A survey conducted by the toilet paper manufacturer, Charmin, showed that the average U.S. citizen uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper per day.
That's three hundred ninety-nine sheets per week, one thousand, nine hundred ninety-six sheets per month, nineteen thousand one hundred fifty-two sheets per year and a staggering one million, five hundred thirty-two thousand, one hundred sixty sheets if you live to be 80 years old!
An average household will flush away nearly eighty thousand sheets a year.
And that doesn't include the paper that is used for other purposes such as blowing noses, cleaning spectacles and so on.
That's a heck of a lot of paper!
What Are Novelty Toilet Papers?
Most folk know that, while white is still the most popular toilet paper throughout the world, there are other colors available - such as soft pink or peach. Some toilet paper is also moistened or perfumed.
But did you ever come across 'novelty' toilet paper before?
Some of the most popular novelty toilet papers include
camouflage paper - so you can blend in when you need to go in the jungle.
sudoku paper - for those that like to solve math puzzles in the bathroom.
$100 bill paper - for those with more money than sense.
and my personal favorite: glow in the dark toilet paper - very handy for nighttime emergencies!
These novelty toilet papers cost a few cents more than regular paper but they work just the same. ;)
How Big Is The World's Largest Toilet Rolls?
The largest ever toilet roll was measured a monstrous eight feet high and had a diameter of more than nine feet. The roll was made to celebrate World Toilet Paper Day (of course there) and was verified by the World Record Academy. The giant toilet roll was made out of 1,000,000 square feet of toilet paper - that's the equivalent to 95, 000 regular toilet rolls!
Toilet Paper in Space
It may not be something that you thought about before but even astronauts need the bathroom. The toilets that they use are different to earth toilets because there is only a very small pull of gravity (known as microgravity) and so a special vacuum and suction device is used for disposal of the voided matter. But toilet paper is still the wipe of choice for American astronauts when using the facilities in The International Space Station. The paper is disposed of in special, sealed containers where it is compressed and destroyed on return to earth.