7 Toilet Paper Mistakes You're Making
These simple swaps will improve your hygiene—and your plumbing.
We may never agree on an answer to the most hotly contested toilet paper debate: which direction to hang the roll. However, there are a few facts about toilet paper that experts agree we can all get behind. They say there are a handful of common mistakes people tend to make in the bathroom, and they could be affecting your hygiene, comfort, plumbing, and more. Read on to learn which seven toilet paper mistakes you're probably making, and why some simple adjustments can make a world of difference.
Using too much toilet paper
According to the eco-friendly home product company Oceans, the average person uses eight to nine sheets of toilet paper every time they visit the restroom. With an average of four to 10 bathroom visits each day, that means you could be using a whopping 56 sheets of TP per day, or roughly 100 rolls per year.
While using too little toilet paper can lead to hygiene issues, Mitch Kenney, CEO of Sveagle Plumbing, says excessive use can both waste resources and cause plumbing issues.
"Overloading the toilet with too much toilet paper increases the risk of clogs, which can be inconvenient and costly to fix," Kenney says. "By being mindful of toilet paper usage, individuals can reduce waste, save money, and maintain their plumbing in good working condition."
Using overly thick toilet paper
You may be tempted to buy thick, cushioned toilet paper rolls with extra ply, but Tom Nolan, founder of AllStar Home, recommends thinking twice before your purchase.
"Using thick and ultra-thick toilet paper can lead to clogs in your septic system," he explains. "This paper, while comfortable, can absorb a lot of water. It can also take a long time to break down in your pipes. While using one or two-ply paper is seen as less luxurious, it's one of the best things you can do to keep your toilet working properly."
Using toilet paper with dyes and chemicals
Toilet paper comes into contact with some of your body's most sensitive regions, which is why experts caution against buying brands that use dyes and chemicals.
"In order for toilet paper to be scented, chemicals are used, and those chemicals are not good for your body," says Catherine Rall, a registered dietitian who works with the vaginal wellness company Happy V. She notes that these chemicals can cause a range of health problems, including yeast infections, burning, itching, and swelling.
Randall Higgins, a pharmacist and skincare specialist at Good Glow, agrees that TP made with dyes and chemicals "wage war against delicate skin." He suggests instead buying products that skip these additions and use hypoallergenic ingredients such as bamboo.
The experts say it's also a mistake to regularly use wipes instead of TP—and an even bigger mistake to flush them.
"The problem with wet wipes is that even though they may be labeled as 'flushable,' that doesn't mean they should actually be flushed," says Rall. "These wipes take significantly longer to disintegrate than toilet paper, which can cause serious clogging or damage to your pipes."
Wiping in the wrong direction or too forcefully
How you wipe can also make a major difference in your personal health. "Wiping from front to back is not merely a ritual; it's a protective measure. It shields the delicate genital area from unwanted bacterial intruders that might hitch a ride from the anal region," says Higgins.
He suggests also wiping gently to avoid minor injury. "A light, caressing touch is essential, as the vigor might introduce micro-tears in the perianal skin. A small mistake, but with potential for long-term discomfort."
Scrunching instead of folding
It's also a mistake to scrunch your toilet paper rather than fold it, some experts say. Though Higgins notes that this decision is often "dictated by individual whims and fancies," the fact remains that folding reduces the total amount of toilet paper you use, and the smooth surface of paper also boosts hygiene.
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