Toilet Paper – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Do you know when toilet paper was invented? Do you know where it even came from? Here’s a fun post on everything you ever wanted to know about toilet paper. And keep reading for a free recipe on how to make your own!
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Since we’re going through a major toilet paper crisis all over the world right now, I thought it would be fun to learn more about the stuff people are hoarding.
By the way, diarrhea is not a symptom of the coronavirus, so that much toilet paper is not needed. Just saying.
So where did toilet paper come from and who in the world thought this stuff up?
Who invented toilet paper?
Joseph Gayetty, a New York entrepreneur, designed aloe-infused sheets of manila hemp in 1857. Gayetty claimed that his aloe-infused sheets prevented hemorrhoids. He was so proud of his invention that he had his name printed on every sheet!
However, this idea didn’t last long because people didn’t want to purchase this product when they had something better coming in the mail for free – the Sears and Roebuck catalog. The catalog even had a small hole in the corner to make hanging easier.
In 1890, two brothers – Clarence and Irvin Scott – invented the idea of putting toilet paper on a roll. They didn’t claim their invention, however, and decided to only sell to hotels and drugstores. Since they were embarrassed about bodily functions, the public didn’t want to purchase this, either.
Personally I’d be more embarrassed about getting caught behind a tree wiping my bottom with a pine cone, but maybe that’s just me.
Toilet paper didn’t give up, though. Later on, in 1928 the Hoberg Paper Company of Wisconsin tried a much softer version of the invention. It was once said that the feminine and elegant packaging was “charming” and therefore Charmin toilet paper was born.
Fun Toilet Paper Facts
- Two-ply toilet paper has two layers of 10 thickness paper. One-ply is made of a 13 thickness paper. Therefore, two-ply is not necessarily twice the thickness.
- One-ply lasts twice as long and breaks down in a septic system faster.
- The average roll lasts about 5 days in the average household.
- Americans use about 57 squares a day.
- 7% of Americans steal toilet paper rolls from hotel rooms.
- It’s estimated that one tree can make 1,500 rolls.
- There used to be a toilet paper museum in Wisconsin, but it closed in 2000.
- The most expensive toilet paper in the world is made of 22-karat gold flakes and costs $1,500,00 for one roll.
Substitutions for Toilet Paper
This is not the first toilet paper crisis we’ve ever had. Tonight Show host Johnny Carson joked about a toilet paper shortage in December 1973, which caused Americans to rush out to their local grocery stores and buy as much toilet paper as they possibly could.
So what happens when we run out of the good stuff? We find other alternatives. Tissues, paper towels, and baby wipes are great to use. (Don’t flush the last two!)
Substitutions from around the house
- Paper: Any paper will work – newspaper, printer paper, notebook paper, etc. Crumple it up to soften it and then burn it afterward.
- Sponge: In ancient Rome, a sponge placed on the end of a stick was used to clean with after using the bathroom. Sponges do hold in bacteria, so after using, boil it then rinse it out.
- Water: Bidet sales have shot up during this toilet paper crisis and for very good reason. Water rinses everything right off! Don’t want to buy a bidet? Use a spray bottle or a hose. And if this crisis continues into winter snow is also a great option. That kinda gives snowball fights a new meaning.
- Cloth: Old bed sheets, towels, t-shirts, or anything made out of fabric will do the trick. Just please don’t flush it! Read this to find out why!
Substitutions from outside
- Leaves: Maple, Large-leaved aster, fuzzy lamb’s ear, and thimbleberry all work great. Know your leaves before you wipe! The last thing you need right now is poison oak or ivy in your nether regions.
- Moss: Moss is soft and a great substitute for toilet paper. You can pick it up in clumps, just make sure it doesn’t fall apart while using. (Gross!)
- Pine cones: Probably not the softest option, but if you’ve got some stuff that needs scraping off, these will do the job!
- Hemp: Hemp grows quickly, so this is a great option if you have access to hemp plants.
- Stones: I know! Stones? Yes! Pick a nice small to medium size smooth stone and it can even be cleaned and reused!
- Corn husks and cobs: Back in the pioneer days, farms grew a lot of corn. The husks were saved and taken to the outhouse for wiping. So for all my farmhouse decorators out there, it’s not a real farmhouse unless there’s an outhouse full of cornhusks!
How to Make Your Own Toilet Paper
As promised, I have a recipe for making your own toilet paper! This one is for Holly because she’s been begging me for some toilet paper DIY! She seriously cracks me up and keeps me going, so I had to do this for her.
What you need:
- Any type of paper as long as it’s not glossy
- A pot
- Baby oil, aloe, or unscented lotion (softening agents)
- Witch hazel (antibacterial agent)
- Grass and leaves
- Rolling pin
- Hammer or mallet
- Big spoon (a ladle works, too)
- Large cutting board, or another flat board
What you do:
- Soak the paper in water first to remove most of the ink. Remove from the water.
- Place the paper in the pot with some grass and leaves (about 2 handfuls) and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and let simmer for at least an hour.
- After an hour is up, bring the water to a rolling boil. Foam will form on the top so carefully remove it.
- The paper becomes a pulp after boiling. Remove the water from the pot without disturbing the pulp. Scoop most of the water out with the ladle. Take the pulp out of the pot if you need to but put it back in as soon as the water is gone. Don’t let it dry out.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of oil or lotion with the pulp to soften it.
- Spread the mixture out on a sheet or towel on a hard, flat surface. Roll it out with the rolling pin making sure to get it as thin as possible. Hammer down any lumps with the mallet or hammer.
- Lay the flat board on top of the rolled out pulp and cover with heavy objects. Leave for about 30 minutes, then remove the board.
- Place the pulp still on the towel outside to dry in the sun. Once dry, cut into strips.
There you have it! I bet that’s a lot more than you ever wanted to know about toilet paper. But if you run out of tp, at least have other options. And you can make your own if you want!
How’s your toilet paper stash? Are you good or do you need to stock up? If you’re out, don’t worry. There will be more soon.
Before you go, check out these amazing hacks!