Would you use toilet paper that had a mouldy bit on it?
July 28, 2014 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm housesitting and the loo roll (toilet paper) seems to have gone a tad mouldy. I obviously took the moudly bits off and chucked them in the bin but I am now left wondering whether the mould might have left spores in the rest of the loo rool, invisible to the naked eye.

A bit of a random question, I know, but I thought if mefi won't know, noone will!

Would you use this paper? Or should I be worried about it transferring anything icky onto my body (whether I use it for its intended purpose of toilet paper, or even tissue paper to blow my nose etc.)?

Thanks in advance!
posted by mrsh to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Since toilet paper is a somewhat cheap commodity, I'd play safe and avoid using it for bodily purposes. But if you want to save it to use for things like wiping up icky stuff from countertops or floors, that would probably be okay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

While I would not really expect anything to happen to me if I did use it, moldy toilet paper (even with the visible mold removed) is probably too far past my "ick" threshold to tolerate unless somehow my only other option within 10 miles were something like corncobs.

I'd just get a new roll.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'd use the questionable TP for cleaning gross messes around the house (or recycle it, or make papier-mâché out of it), and buy fresh for myself.
posted by amtho at 9:39 AM on July 28, 2014

I'd tear off the moldy bits and throw 'em away, use the rest, and feel fine. My partner would throw the whole roll away and feel fine.

I think overall we're both right.
posted by barnacles at 9:45 AM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

For starters, there are mold spores everywhere. My understanding is that the biggest problem with mold from a toxicology standpoint is inhaled mold spores. I personally would have no problem using said paper to wipe my nether regions, but I wouldn't use it to blow my nose.
posted by drlith at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2014

I would remove the moldy bits (and the non-moldy bits closest to the moldy bits) and use the rest. But I am kind of grody.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't use it for anything at all. It would go in the trash and out the front door post haste.

But I have a compromised immune system and mucus membranes (which includes both sinuses and girl parts) that don't work right. So I wouldn't want to expose my nether regions or sinuses to it. I also wouldn't want to wipe up spills and potentially spread the mold.
posted by Michele in California at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd use it. I'm sure an unwrapped roll gets a bit moldy from being in my humid poorly-vented bathroom all of the time.
posted by kimberussell at 9:58 AM on July 28, 2014

Considering what I'm going to do to it, I don't think the mold is all that bad. Would use.
posted by thelonius at 10:04 AM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Will you be able to use it without thinking about mold every time you use it? Your answer to that question will tell you whether to keep or discard the roll of toilet paper.
posted by sockermom at 10:31 AM on July 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

You are breathing spores right now - with every breath. Also cheese, bread, beer, yoghurt etc etc.

TP is so cheap I would toss it. I'm a male so I only wipe my ass and I'd maybe not risk it I were a female. Mold and mold spores are both inavoidable and in most cased benificial. A mold that grows on TP is likely a fungus that can digest celluose.

Reading your question I'm more concerned that your friends need an exaust fan or a dehumidifier.

Throw it away.
posted by vapidave at 11:10 AM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would not use it.
posted by OrangeDisk at 11:20 AM on July 28, 2014

Man, throw it away. First off, you should not be introducing moldy items to your susceptible membranes, which includes anal region; second, a visitor to your loo will wonder what the hell is going on that the toilet roll seems to be the victim of some mutilation thus, leading to three, questions about YOU as the toilet roll mutilator. Now, I am sure whatever explanation your guest will hear about the mutilated toilet roll will lead to other chains of thought; potentially unkind. Some of these thoughts could be, "what a cheap person!" or "I can't believe that he would endanger a guest this way." or "sweet baby jeebus, will this harm my child?" There are enough terrifying things such as, Bacillus cereus infected wipes to introduce a mutilated, moldy toilet roll; please, just toss your roll and ventilate that bathroom.
posted by jadepearl at 5:20 PM on July 28, 2014

Doubtful there would be any health consequences from using what looks like normal toilet paper (like, extremely doubtful), so it's really just about how gross you think it is, which I can't answer for you. As you probably know, mold is a fungus, but it's not the same kind of fungus that infects human bodies, as in a yeast infection. The health effects of mold relate to people's allergic sensitivity to it in their environment, which is usually caused by significant quantities of mold and not microscopic mold that isn't otherwise perceptible.

I certainly wouldn't use toilet paper that was damp or discolored, though.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A post-moldy roll of toilet paper seems like a perfect candidate for the compost pile at my house. Or the garbage.

Great question, by the way. I never imagined that anyone would answer anything other than EW -- ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND -- THROW THE SUCKER OUT, IT'S ONLY A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER.

Read MeFI and learn.
posted by kestralwing at 8:44 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't use it. And I'd be seriously wondering how on earth it got moldy. Toilet paper, really?
posted by stormyteal at 10:06 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm allergic to mould so would throw it all out pronto. Many people are at least a bit allergic, so please remove it all if you're going to have any visitors. At least throw it out and replace it right before you leave. I can tell you from experience that there are some places you don't want an allergic reaction, please don't put anyone else at risk even if you decide you're ok with it.
posted by shelleycat at 1:43 AM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

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