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TP Etiquette: Over or Under?

TP Etiquette: Over or Under?

Toilet paper etiquette—should rolls be hung with the paper over or under? Sure, we are all familiar with the 1891 toilet paper roll patent by S. Wheeler that clearly shows the inventor’s intention was for the roll to be “over,” but that doesn’t “roll” well with everyone.

We recently asked our readers to weigh in on this hotly-debated topic. Here were some of the responses:

The case for OVER (80% of the responses):

Over — easier for night bathroom trips with lights off. – Wendy J.

Over, I like to make a triangle at the end and it shows when over — not under, where no one sees it. – Donna B.

Check the original patent for toilet paper. It was designed to go over. If you go under you are just wrong. – Dale C.

Over, because Grandma said so and you don’t talk back or question Grandma. – Jessica C.

Over, to me its easier to grab. – Carol K.

Over, well ….because. Even the hotel I’m in right now has it over.  As I read the Farmers Almanac website in the bathroom. – Chauna W.

The case for UNDER (20%):

Under, because I feel you’re not wasting paper. If you do over, it rolls too far and you just pull — too much wasted. – Sally Ann N.

Under, because that’s the way momma taught me. – Shannon D.

Under!  In the middle of the night with only a night light to guide you, finding the starter sheet is much easier! – Fran B.

According to the Miser’s Gazette, a monthly newsletter published by Ian Nicholson, available in the U.S. and Canada, studies indicate that toilet tissue rolled from underneath will probably consume one more sheet per occasion than when rolled from the over position.

Does that matter? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Check out these clever ideas for those empty TP roll tubes!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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1 mike { 07.13.19 at 9:21 am }

I keep the roll off the hanger on the shelf in front of the john in easy reach. Hanging is too much trouble simper-fi

2 pat { 05.07.19 at 9:38 am }

Over so you don’t bump the wall and make marks on it. If you keep bumping the wall while reaching for TP. it will eventually leave marks that will look dirty.Over also makes it easier to grab and looks neater. Why make life any more complicated?

3 patricia { 05.07.19 at 9:36 am }

Over so you don’t bump the wall and make marks on it. If you keep bumping the wall while reaching for TP it will eventually leave marks that will look dirty.Over also makes it easier to grab and looks neater. Why make life any more complicated?

4 Mikki { 05.03.19 at 8:08 pm }

OVER that is the way the patent shows it to be done

5 Steve { 04.21.19 at 2:07 pm }

Simple solution get rid of your cats

6 Dorothy Z'bornak { 03.02.19 at 8:29 pm }

Over, cause ma’ said so.

7 Susan Higgins { 03.04.19 at 11:34 am }


8 Jay { 02.23.19 at 3:53 pm }

While my new bride and I were setting up housekeeing we had our first dispute. Her family were overs, mine were unders. After arguing for some time she finally said: “You know I’m chlostrophobic. I’m not sure I can get used to sleeping with another person.” I sighed and replied: “Well would it help your chlostrophobia if the TP comes over the top?” “Yes” she said and our first argument was resolved.

9 JRD { 02.20.19 at 11:03 pm }

Over is easier very considerate especially when a sheet is left hanging for the next user to grab and it just looks tidy

10 ted { 02.17.19 at 8:19 am }

Rolling anyway other way than from the top forward is just fundamentally, universally, astronomically, scientifically, socially and absolutely wrong and backward. I
am sure all politicians roll from the BACK.

11 Olive { 02.11.19 at 11:06 am }

I agree TP is manufactured to hang over, however I think that ONLY had to do with the aesthetics for printed paper. Most TP nowadays is made unprinted because of harmful dyes. From a logical point of view the case for under is much stronger, and smarter. Less waste in accidental unrolling (kids, cats, etc.), when in a hurry and to don’t see the starter piece if you spin it down you might get a pile of tissue on the floor. However if you spin up, it will spin around and one square via gravity with automatically drop down ready for use. Simple, quick, and not wasteful.

12 Carol { 02.07.19 at 12:53 pm }

Over! How else can you make the formal V shape at the end like they do in hotels? It’s more aesthetically pleasing to me – Over. 🙂 Under the V would just fall open again. 🙁

13 Jade { 02.04.19 at 5:57 pm }

The easiest way to unroll an entire roll is to hang it OVER the roll….this way Ellie unrolls the entire roll every chance she gets. Oh, by the way, Ellie is our cat….! And when she’s done unrolling the entire roll, she just keeps on unrolling till the spool is empty and she can keep on rolling it till it’s rerolled again…! LOLOL…😹😹😹

14 Echo { 01.31.19 at 1:10 pm }

I think. Therefore I do. And I do care. Honestly, even if toilet paper is completely wound off the roll and rolled back on. Consider this. Rolling it back on the roll, with the paper on top or over, you’re using your hands to roll it back on (possible contamination). If, you use the paper from the under position, chances are you’re using the “inside, or side that isn’t exposed. You do the rest of the thinking.

15 elizabeth { 01.31.19 at 12:47 pm }

Under. If it is over it’s too easy for toilet paper to continuously feed, or unroll. Ask a cat. I’ve seen a full roll of toilet paper put on the holder in the over position unraveled by a cat.

16 Carol Miller { 01.25.19 at 12:21 pm }

Over or under doesn’t matter to me as long as there is plenty of paper on the roll. I use a lot and conserving toilet tissue is not a priority. I definitely do not want wet or otherwise dirty hands!!

17 H. McLeroy { 12.20.18 at 11:58 am }

OVER. Do you not wash your hands after wiping? Do you wash the wall where your hand touches after going after the paper against the wall? It is only logical to keep your hands away from the wall!

18 Leo Mahoney { 12.16.18 at 12:54 pm }

There is an actual scientific study that determined which way uses more toilet tissue. It was done between 2001-2003

19 Timothy Bowmar { 11.07.18 at 2:36 pm }

I am an over fan myself.It’s over for me.

20 Wendy { 02.02.18 at 1:11 am }

Over, i taught my children its much easier to grab & count however much you need and 2, so flying dust and debris doesnt get to the underside which if you notice, you fold that way incase you blow your nose while youre sitting, standing there.

Household tip: please be sure to anti-bacterial wipe the empty caddy roll itself and behind wall your TP rolls against at least once every week. 😉

21 Joe { 01.21.18 at 12:44 am }

Under because over a cat will unravel the whole roll.

22 nancy nardone { 01.10.18 at 10:36 am }

I like it over BUTT—-If the company that makes it says over then it is for an reason and that reason has to be it makes you use more. So it is cheaper under and it is also nice to go against big business telling us what to do.

23 Vincent { 11.23.17 at 11:29 am }

This is a great debate in my home. Under is my preference as drawing the sheets off in an upward motion releases the downward weight the roll pushes on the holder and provides a smoother dispensing which eliminates premature tearing.

24 John { 10.14.17 at 8:36 pm }

Do you hang your towels in the back of the shower or on the front of it? Common since it’s easier to reach if it is closer too you. You don’t put your oldest can goods in the back of the cabinet because you reach into the back instead of grabbing what is up front.

25 Claudene { 07.22.17 at 2:43 am }

Life is like a roll of toilet paper when you are young it seems to go so slow and when you start getting old it flys by. “Starting a new roll it goes very slow,closer to the end it just flys off the roll” I’ve heard this saying for a long time

26 slim shady { 07.02.17 at 7:42 pm }

All sheets are to small I use +/-5″ per sitting .no matter under,over, sideways,upside down.as long as it is strong enough. I hate to poke a hole through it.

27 Lori { 06.14.17 at 9:54 am }

Under is the best for a few reasons. 1) You are not touching the entire roll to find the beginning piece on the top, when it under there is always a square hanging down to grab.
2) you do use less and it is easier to break off the end with out the entire roll unrolling.
3) you can always find the end even in the dark. When it is on the top it does look better when you can fold the edges, but really who does that especially when you have a husband and children!!!!

28 Carl { 05.17.17 at 3:44 pm }

Definitely over, because my mother-in-law says under!

29 Betty Smith { 05.06.17 at 9:36 am }

I’d rather do over, but if my husband (God rest his soul) or my boys (grown now) would have ever put up a new roll after the end, I would have been happier. “momma” “honey” you need to put a roll of paper on.???? Why just me?

30 Shane { 04.26.17 at 2:28 pm }

I feel the correct way is over however if you have cats (like myself) under is the only way.

31 Jim { 04.14.17 at 10:00 am }

Under, because sometimes young boys spin off most of a role for fun; and, over, because happy wife – happy life.

32 Laura Chester { 04.12.17 at 12:10 am }

Whenever and wherever I see an under roll
I roll it over

33 Joyce Weatherly { 04.10.17 at 8:40 am }

I like it’s easier to get the end & it looks better because it’s not hanging down.I have a habit if I’m somewhere & have to use the restroom & the toilet paper is going under I find myself changing it to go over. Lol!

34 Mike D { 04.05.17 at 6:41 am }

According to the inventors patent, over us proper

35 Nancy { 03.30.17 at 12:00 am }

My two cats like it over i did to untill they found out how to make it fall off faster so now its under.

36 Martha { 03.23.17 at 1:04 am }

Our three year old grandson lived with us for a while. Several times I noticed a short length of tp had been “rewound” on the roll and assumed he’d been playing with it–until I walked in and saw him dab himself after peeing. He hadn’t torn the paper off, just unrolled and rolled it back when he was finished. I prefer over. We don’t have a problem in our house with rolling too much off.

37 Hatfield { 03.04.17 at 10:59 am }

Over just makes sense

38 Mike Henry { 02.22.17 at 3:05 pm }

Dr. Seuss wrote a book about two countries that went to war because one country buttered
its toast on top & the other one buttered its toast on the bottom. Are we now going to go to war over “over” or “under” toilet paper rolls?

39 James Sch" { 02.22.17 at 8:21 am }

To me it does not matter just as long as the roll is not EMPTY!

40 Mar { 02.15.17 at 11:39 pm }


41 Vicky { 02.07.17 at 8:26 pm }

An elderly lady I cleaned for a few years ago said to have the roll go over the top. She never explained why, but I do what she said.

42 Russ { 01.28.17 at 9:27 pm }

Definitely over
Hotels make it over so the staff can identify that attention was given.
Physically disabled can better use from the top (in most cases).
I do not let animals in the bathroom so I wouldn’t know about that.
Most people use to much paper in most cases you only need 3 sheets unless it is single-ply.
Its your house do it as you like, and if change-up on your spouse makes you happy, have fun.

43 Leon { 01.27.17 at 11:28 pm }


44 jacquie { 01.26.17 at 12:23 pm }

Personally I’d be happy if the kids took the empty roll off when the paper was finished, would put a fresh one up (any which way) and hopefully one day learn to put the empty roll in the little bin in the bathroom instead of next to it.

45 Dee { 01.25.17 at 9:26 pm }

Under,looks neater and waste less.

46 Gary { 01.25.17 at 8:15 am }

Over, because if it’s under the loose end touches the wall making the first couple of sheets unsanitary to use for it’s intended purpose.

47 Barbara Barton { 01.22.17 at 12:51 pm }

What does it matter as long as it gets the job done.

48 Lara Newsom { 01.18.17 at 8:15 pm }

I like over better cause it is easier to find and grab, as for too much coming off the roll, all u have to do is just stop it with ur other hand.

49 Kathy { 01.18.17 at 12:37 pm }

Definitely over. I agree with Susan from May 6th post about the pattern only showing when over, so it’s very obvious that it’s supposed to be over. Also, I too find it easier to find the end in the dark if it’s over.

50 Gary { 01.25.17 at 8:16 am }

I agree.

51 RTB { 01.18.17 at 5:33 am }

Over so the paper is not touching the wall which may not be completely germ free

52 Billie { 01.16.17 at 7:37 pm }

I feel like with a house full of kids as long as it is within arm’s reach and nothing weird has been done to it (It isn’t wet or shredded, etc) …. we are good. I think that it is hilarious and a bit strange that people have very strong opinions about this.

53 Melinda { 01.16.17 at 7:30 pm }

Under….. so when the kitties spin it the tissue does not unravel thus less waste!

54 Mary { 01.16.17 at 7:19 pm }

Eye level and below = over, above level = under

55 Phyllis Pippin { 01.16.17 at 6:02 pm }

Under….saves paper. Over makes the roll keep on rolling!!!

56 Toni De Domenico { 01.16.17 at 5:52 pm }

Under,you waste less. And the cats don’t bother it when it’s under.

57 ellen { 01.16.17 at 5:41 pm }

I do under, I love to be different! Its so fun when my sis comes for 2 weeks to visit, she turns it to over! So does my son’s girlfriend 🙂 lol. Its the simple things in life that make me smile!! We have 2 bathrooms so I let them have it their way in the bathroom that guests use, when they leave I turn it under 🙂

58 Barbara Fegley { 01.11.17 at 3:29 pm }

Definitely over. For me, it’s the best way to retrieve the paper. All the rest rooms have it under and I can never get it to come out of the dispenser. Wise up stores restrooms and put it over so people will be able to find it.
Over, Over, Over, that’s the RIGHT way to put it on.

59 Terry { 01.11.17 at 1:35 pm }

Over!! I have cats and we keep the bathroom door shut and if they do get in they go for hair ties, they’d rather play with those cuz they can take them throughout the house to play!

60 Paula { 01.11.17 at 12:04 pm }

OVER is the correct method per the patent. It looks neater and your hand doesn’t touch the wall behind the roll. It’s not a crime to put it in for the UNDER method – just not proper. Will it make a difference in to whole scheme of things, I think not. Just keep a roll in place all the time.

61 Karen T. { 01.11.17 at 8:52 am }

Seriously, cats won’t unwind toilet paper if its under, huh…never realized this and will have to experiment. I grew up with the roll over and just naturally assumed that was the “right” way and proper etiquette – now I understand that either way is proper but more a consideration of personal preference

62 Linda { 01.11.17 at 7:16 am }

My way is under, It just looks better and no one in my family doe;s
it but me. lol lol

63 Darlene { 01.11.17 at 5:37 am }

I prefer over. I have rheumatoid arthritis so it is easier to grab if it is over.

64 Corrie { 01.10.17 at 1:22 pm }

I purchase all of the paper and keep the rollers changed so its always over at our house .It much easier to reach this way .

65 Ddebbbbiie { 01.08.17 at 10:20 pm }

I prefer over, but as long as it is on the roller,, that’s all that matters! I guess my cat hasn’t realized that TP can be a. Fun toy, so I usually do over.

66 Paula Dupree { 01.05.17 at 4:51 pm }

Much easer to manage. When you got to GO, you got to GO, or in a RUSH
to pick up a mess (get it).

67 Judith { 01.05.17 at 12:43 am }

Definitely, UNDER, especially if there are children in the house. To try to pull some toilet paper off the top of the roll, sends the roll spinning causing adults and always children to get too much paper. With children, all of the extra paper is generally flushed down the toilet which results in clogs and runovers. As an adult, what do you do with the excess paper? Roll it back around the roll for the next person to use paper you have handled? It is JUST toilet paper and I CARE.

68 Dallas Murphy { 12.21.16 at 11:31 am }

I really don’t care.
All I hope
is that you will
spare a square!

My adaptation from ‘Seinfeld’ spare a square episode/Elaine

69 Heather { 12.14.16 at 9:42 am }

I used under when the kids were young or when there was a cat in the house. Now I just hang it without looking. But at least I hang it,, no one else seems to know how.

70 Renee { 12.10.16 at 5:50 am }

OVER!!! I prefer being over the top than up against the wall any day of the week. Plus it is opposite of what my mother prefers. LOL

71 Suzanna Gibbons { 12.09.16 at 6:24 am }

I don’t care….I look at it this way..if someone other than me put’s another roll on when this one is out …I will not complain…

72 Bill { 12.08.16 at 1:32 pm }

In our home my wife likes it over, but I like it under that why we have to rolls on the wall. Of course if the under is out I go to the over.

73 Carolyn { 12.07.16 at 1:05 pm }

I have cats so mine is under. Otherwise, they play with it and will unroll a whole roll.

74 Larry Gordon { 12.07.16 at 9:45 am }

I insisted it be over when my wife’s fingernails started destroying the wall paper when it was under and next to the wall.

75 Ann Broadhead { 12.05.16 at 1:35 pm }

I like to follow the pattern on the roll so that it faces up and out, at all times.

I wish we did have more patterned with colors like before; blue, pink, green or even lavender. I guess it must be an eco thing.

Either way you put it on the roll, I just want a “Clean” well stocked bathroom!

76 Molly { 12.03.16 at 8:07 am }

I say over. When it’s under it grazes the wall and I think that’s kinda gross. Also, I have a cat and I don’t even think he knows toiletpaper exist. 🙂

77 Victoria { 12.02.16 at 4:34 am }

Maybe the question should be..if the paper is upside down or right side up.

78 Rachelleann { 11.30.16 at 1:52 pm }

I was always taught over, if you pull from under there is to much dust that accumulates.

79 Sandra J. Pang { 11.23.16 at 11:21 am }

Ann Landers had several columns about this years ago. She said the Swiss Hotel Assn. advocates rolling it with the access under as less paper is used. TP used to have printed designs on it that showed better if the TP was rolled over. I thought black roses printed on TP was hilarious. Ann said most Americans prefer the TP to roll over the front instead of behind the roller.

80 Anne { 05.07.16 at 9:30 am }

Over! When it is under you scratch the wall trying to find the end especially with only a night light

81 Rebecca { 05.07.16 at 7:29 am }

I’m just thankful when the roll is replaced! But I prefer over.

82 Robert { 05.07.16 at 12:35 am }

Everyone knows it depends on whether you have cats. When the cat sharpens it’s claws on the roll of toilet paper, and it will, paper put on under will just spin. Paper put on over will unravel onto your floor. The cat will find this hilarious and repeat it until you put the paper under.
If you don’t have cats, then do whatever.

83 Cheri Austin { 05.06.16 at 11:50 pm }

My Grandmother taught me under.

84 I am going with over it's easier n plus that is how I was thought when I was young. ty. ? { 05.06.16 at 11:19 pm }

I prefer over cause this is how I was told to always put the roll in every single time. Lol

85 Pam { 05.06.16 at 10:30 pm }

Under… cat people know. If it is over the cat will unroll the entire roll.

86 Ann { 05.06.16 at 9:58 pm }

Bottom: was taught from early age to do it from the bottom. I change it if my husband puts it on with the top up. ( When he’s not looking, of course.)

87 Terry { 05.06.16 at 9:52 pm }

I like under as it is easier to find at night, over the top you have to spin it to find it.

88 Susan { 05.06.16 at 9:18 pm }

Over. There used to be patterns on the paper which showed only on the outside, making it obvious that the correct way was over.

89 Anita { 05.06.16 at 7:22 pm }

Hey. My cat cares! Over is more fun to claw and unravel.. which is why I prefer Under. Lol

90 Andreas { 05.06.16 at 6:48 pm }

My cat says over because he can empty the entire roll faster.

91 Cami { 05.06.16 at 5:53 pm }

Over is best for most (and my favorite!)… Under works well for those with kids and cats! 🙂

92 Charles { 05.06.16 at 5:28 pm }

Over..per the patent.

93 Andrea { 05.06.16 at 5:27 pm }

It’s toilet paper , who cares 😉

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