A roll of toilet paper on a holder hanging on the blue wall
Toilet pappers roll in bathroom

Over or Under: Both Sides of the Toilet Paper Debate

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For as long as humanity has had toilet paper there has been a great debate – over or under? The topic is quite controversial, and people passionately defend their side. So, which way is the right way to hang toilet paper? Here are a few points to consider when picking a side.

Why Choose “Over”?

  • It's the OG of TP

    Here’s one for all the history buffs out there. Seth Wheeler's 1891 patent shows the original placement of the toilet paper roll using an "over" approach.

    Correct way of hanging toilet paper
  • 70%1 of wipers already prefer this position

    Not that you should ever blindly follow the crowd, but a whopping 70% of the population prefers the “over” position.

  • Makes it easier to grab

    Because the toilet paper is already closer towards you, it makes it easier to grab from a seated position.

  • Less likely to transmit germs

    When the toilet paper is hung “under”, your knuckles will inevitably rub against the wall as you tearoff a sheet. This action can actually transmit germs onto the wall or other bathroom surfaces2

  • Makes it easier to tear

    Facing the paper away from the wall generally makes it easier to tear.

  • Oprah approves

    The former queen of day-time TV prefers the “over” technique, and it appears her studio audience agrees. With much gumption, Oprah declared: "Let me just say this that I, Oprah Winfrey, am an “over” girl myself," which was met with wild applause. The talk show host explained, "I actually prefer ‘over’ because it tears so readily."

Why Choose “Under”?

  • Looks “tidier”

    The first supporting point for the “under” technique is that it offers a cleaner look. With the toilet paper closer to the wall and the paper hanging behind the roll, it does make for a more minimalist visual.

  • Limits accidental unrolling

    If you have a pet at home who is prone to playing with the toilet paper, then you might want to give the “under” technique a try. Because the roll hangs against the wall, there’s enough tension to keep the roll secure in its place.

  • Increased difficulty in unrolling leads to lower/more economical usage

    Sometimes it just takes less accessibility to make us realize the consequences of our actions. This goes for wiping, too. Because the “under” method is a little bit more difficult to unroll, users are less likely to use excessive amounts3 of toilet paper when using the toilet.

Toilet Paper Roll Orientation and What it Says About Your Personality

  • Who cares about toilet paper orientation?

    Quite a lot of people apparently! Roughly 50%3 of the population say they pay active attention to toilet paper orientation, and 20%3 say they get agitated if the toilet paper is oriented the “wrong” way. 19%3 of people admitted to changing the orientation of toilet paper in someone else’s house.

  • Does gender play a role?

    According to most studies, gender does not play a role in how you orient your toilet paper. However, men3 do rate higher for agitation if the orientation doesn’t match their preference.

  • Ask the experts

    Some think how we mount our toilet paper says about our personality. Dr. Gilda Carle is a consultant for Cottonelle® Brand Toilet Paper and has devised a toilet paper personality test that links paper preference to personality types.

  • What does hanging “over” say about you?

    Generally, Dr. Carle4 says that people who utilize the “over” technique are more likely to have a dominant personality type.

  • What does hanging “under” say about you?

    If you hang “under” you’re more likely to have an easy-going nature, according to Dr. Carle4.

  • The Verdict

    So, in summary4 “overs” are more dominant and “unders” are more laidback. You might be able to guess who’s changing the orientation at other people’s houses!

Can’t Decide How To Hang Your Toilet Paper?

Sometimes personal preference won’t matter, and external factors will make your decision for you.

  • Alter placement based on arm’s reach.

    Depending on your arm length and where your toilet paper is mounted, you may have to use the “over” hang just to reach your toilet paper comfortably.

  • Tuck the loose hanging tissue into the roll to secure it against accidental unrolling

    If you like the convenience of the “over” technique but are worried about accidental unrolling, you can tuck the loose hanging tissue against the roll to keep it from falling down.

  • Use Flushable Wipes

    No matter which toilet paper holding technique you prefer, we recommend pairing your Cottonelle® Brand Toilet Paper and Cottonelle® Flushable Wipes for a refreshing clean. They dissolve like toilet paper and immediately start to break down after flushing!

    Keep a package on the back of your toilet or at arm’s reach in each bathroom of your home to keep you feeling shower fresh!

Toilet Paper Over or Under Etiquette

It’s nice when everyone in the household subscribes to the same toilet paper orientation but unfortunately that’s not always going to be the case. “Over” and “unders” have to find some way to live together and we have a few tips.

  • Defer to the person who cares

    Decide who cares the most about the toilet paper orientation. If someone is the type of person who gets agitated with it being hung “the wrong way”, then keep things moving smoothly and go with their way.

  • What to do in a divided household

    That’s fine if only one person in your household has a passion for toilet paper hanging, but what if you have two people with opposing views? In that case, we recommend switching the toilet paper when it’s your turn to use the bathroom. When you finish, you can switch the toilet paper to the opposite orientation for the next person.

Whichever way you choose to hang it, over or under, choose Cottonelle® Brand Toilet Paper, it removes more in just one wipe†! Cottonelle®’s 1-ply Ultra CleanCare® is our strongest toilet paper giving you a confident clean, and Cottonelle® Ultra ComfortCare® is our softest and most absorbent toilet paper for a luxurious clean. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

So, which way do you hang your toilet paper?

Cottonelle cleaning ripples texture


First, Remove more at once with Cottonelle Cleaning Ripples Texture ®



Then, use Cottonelle Flushable Wipes for a refreshing clean throughout the day

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