Toilet Paper Strategies
May 27, 2004 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Toilet paper. Jumping off from my flub in the toiletlids thread, I want to know how you configure your new toilet paper rolls and and why you think that manner of installation works best. Toilet paper tongue over or under? More. Inside.

I could have sworn that Heather Champ said the complete opposite of what she says here about installing new toilet paper rolls. I've always considered "Tongue Over" to be the more proper position for ease-of-pull and sanitary distance of squares from bathroom tiles. Do any of you do it "Tongue Under?" Why?
posted by brownpau to Home & Garden (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like tongue over for ease of use. If I had kids or a pet I'd go tongue under though. That way spinning the roll floorwards would reel up the paper rather than reel out. My sisters Jack Russel Terror entertained herself one day by derolling an entire roll.
posted by substrate at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2004

It depends. Usually I find over easier to use, but in my apartment the holder is in a slightly awkward spot, and there I find it easier to reach with the tongue under.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:48 PM on May 27, 2004

Since more women use my toilet than men: keeping a roll on is all that matters in my home. My mom & the experts have their ideal way, which when used makes little sense to me. On paper I understand it, in practice is where I don't see the solution.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:56 PM on May 27, 2004

given my radical (some might say "bizarro") stance, it's probably no surprise that our toilet paper sits on a shelf. we do have a postcard of this gerhard richter painting above.
posted by heather at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2004

I find tongue-over is better for pulling it out. When the tongue goes under, you have to battle against the weight of the roll to pull it out, and it frequently breaks prematurely at the base of the roll.

However, for finding-the-end (a requisite to pulling the stuff out) I find that tongue-under presents the end of the roll a wider range of fall-out. That is, if the end is anywhere on the forward-facing half of the roll, the end will fall down and be plainly visible to grab. With tongue-over-top, the end has to be positioned somewhere in the lower half of the forward-facing part of the cylinder. And even if it is, it will simply fall slightly away from the roll.

So, in other words, it's all dependent on what type of paper you use. Does it break too easily? Are the rolls really heavy? Is there already a lot of friction in your holder? If so, then tongue-over-top is going to be less hassle in the end. But for no-friction holders and quality paper that doesn't break too easily, tongue-under might save a millisecond here and there. Who wants to spend their precious time on planet earth searching for the end of the toilet roll?

All that said, can we make this the last potty-survey?
posted by scarabic at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2004

I'm all about the overhand style, probably because it's what my parents did. It does seem easier and more hygienic. I would also like to point out the the word "tongue" is rather evocative in this context.
posted by stet at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2004

Over. Under means you might have to touch the wall. God knows who else has touched that wall, and with what kind of hands.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:41 PM on May 27, 2004

I like it toungue under because then you have the actuall roll of tp to pull against when pulling it off. That allows for a one-handed manuver of getting the tp off the roll.
posted by TuxHeDoh at 1:43 PM on May 27, 2004

My mom & the experts have their ideal way,
Mentioned the above. Because growing up I failed my mom's wishes...sometimes people will change the paper's roll direction for me, then tell me. It no big deal, just find those moments a "Felix Unger" situation.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:51 PM on May 27, 2004

Always thought the tissue paper boxes made a better solution.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:53 PM on May 27, 2004

Over. For the exact same reasons as Mo Nickels. Especially if the holder sits indented into the wall a bit.
posted by rhapsodie at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2004

More interesting perhaps are the ways that public restrooms find to keep you from taking too much. There's the very heavy, very large roll that's hard to turn and always breaks off after 4 squares come out. There's the regular roll with the elliptical weight inside, which doesn't restrict you much but will keep the entire roll from unfurling after a good tug. And then there's my personal favorite (so far only seen at campgrounds): the flat bar of metal onto which the roll has been skewered. No rotation at all. Damn that one sucks. I haven't seen the single-square dispensers in a while, the ones that spat out waxed paper sheets, folded in half, kinda like your average paper towel dispenser. What am I missing?
posted by scarabic at 2:16 PM on May 27, 2004

I was a "guest room attendant" (maid) at a hotel complex including a 5-star hotel for a while and the rule there was tongue-over. Also, in the non-5-star hotels when a roll was nearly new and you wanted to smarten it up a bit, you do a little 2-fold trick with the hanging end (like the nose of a paper airplane) which is called a "courtesy fold".
posted by milovoo at 3:17 PM on May 27, 2004

The only time in my life that I ever watched part of the Oprah show (bored, channel surfing), the audience was engaged in a heated debate on this very subject. I was fascinated to see adults arguing on network television about the direction to unroll toilet paper, and giving reasons for their positions. Several members of the "under" crowd defended their preference by stating that it conserved paper. No one was able or willing to elaborate. I changed the channel.

Me? I'm an "over." Seems to unroll easier that way.
posted by cdavis at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2004

Over is easier, except when you have toddlers. Once that happens, the ease of removal for your personal use is obliterated by repeatedly having to roll the entire thing back up after the roll has been spun until the entire thing is a heap on the floor.
posted by dg at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2004

Over, over, over. ALWAYS. I came to feel very strongly about this after living on the Gulf Coast of Texas. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and as I pulled the toilet paper off the roll(I had to draw it across my neckid lap because of where the dispenser was), the biggest, damn scorpion came with it from where it had been hanging out on the back side of the roll. This fucker had heft to it it was so big. If the paper had been hung under, that scorpion would have landed IN my lap rather than across the bathroom where I flung it. Always hang it over.
posted by lobakgo at 3:35 PM on May 27, 2004

Wow, cdavis, I thought I was the only one that had that show from ages ago stuck in my head. "I, Oprah, am an 'over' girl, myself." randomly pops into my mind, as recently as last weekend while I was doing yardwork.

But now I have a new random thing to remember and be a-feared of; lobakgo's scorpion incident. Holy crap (ahem)! Good thing you were already on the toilet when it happened!
posted by vignettist at 3:59 PM on May 27, 2004

You know where the end is with under: it's hanging down the wall, underneath. Neat.

When it's over, the end's on the roll itself - and you have to do the paper against paper thing, with your fingers. And I don't like that - it's all dry and like when you have to put your hands in a tissue box to fish out a reluctant tissue. It's horrible, horrible I tell you!

/runs - screaming - Aiiieeeeeeeeeeee!
posted by Blue Stone at 4:03 PM on May 27, 2004

Blue Stone, that ain't right. If the tongue is so short that it is not dangling over the end of the roll, then you can't see it no matter what side it's on. In fact, it would be harder to find if it was hanging down on the other side. In both cases, you'd have to either search for it with your fingers, or spin the roll a little bit to get some slack.
posted by Hildago at 4:56 PM on May 27, 2004

Sorry... in this house the question is if the loo roll should be to the left or right of the bowl, on the cistern, somewhere under the clothes airer because the cat found the catnip again, or sealed in cellophane in the cupboard on the opposite side of the room.
posted by twine42 at 5:03 PM on May 27, 2004

Well, I know I'm often the odd-man-out, but am I the only person who has a holder which has one point of contact with the wall, and points upwards?

For me, the question is - tongue left, or tongue right!

[On preview: having just taken a snap to illustrate, I bumped into a very sleepy daughter going to the loo. Glad she didnt ask about the need for a camera in there!]
posted by dash_slot- at 6:06 PM on May 27, 2004


It's a scientific fact that it's easier to rip toilet paper one-handed (or paper towels, for that matter) when the paper is under. I saw it on Mr. Wizard's World. I'm serious.

Though, there actually is a correct answer to this. I hate to admit it, but over is the proper way. You can verify this for yourself when you purchase toilet paper that has a design on it. The paper is rolled in such a way that you will only see the pretty design on one side, and that side faces out when it's hung over instead of under.

But I still put it under. Looks tidier.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:24 PM on May 27, 2004

over. easier to get at.
posted by fishfucker at 1:46 AM on May 28, 2004

It's easier to work the roll if it's "over".

My girlfriend and I have (passively) solved the problem by forever keeping the roll in the old-timey magazine-holder we have next to the toilet. The roll is there for you to pick up. Neither of us care about the orientation; we're both too lazy to replace the roll onto the hanger.
posted by interrobang at 2:16 AM on May 28, 2004

...I think of it in the same way as the age-old question of whether the seat should be up or down: it's pretty simple. The man puts the seat down, and the woman doesn't do anything. Putting the seat down isn't hard. You'd have to be eleventyone to think that putting the damned seat down is a huge problem.
posted by interrobang at 2:22 AM on May 28, 2004

You'd have to be eleventyone to think that putting the damned seat down is a huge problem.

If it's such a little thing, why do women insist that men be the one to do it? Personally, I'm all about equality. I only put the seat down half the time, leaving it to the woman to do the other half of the time.
posted by kindall at 11:11 AM on May 28, 2004

Several responses cite hygiene (i.e., no one but yourself touching the roll) as their rationale...does anyone else find totally disturbing the 'courtesy fold' milovoo mentions? If I'm in a hotel - particularly a non-5-star one - the last thing I want is someone else touching the paper!
posted by hsoltz at 1:14 PM on May 28, 2004

Keep in mind that one often is simply tidying the room of a guest who is returning to their room later,
if the current guest had left then the room generally got a new roll. These were the private rooms, there was a cheaper option for the euro-backpackers and such, where you share the bathroom and shower.

Besides, how worried do you have to be about things like that, someone would really have to be
a) quite sick, and
b) flinging their poo,
to manage to get dangerous germs inside the roll. Remember that for the most part urine is sterile.)
posted by milovoo at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2004

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