Over or under - how does your toilet paper roll?

I asked in another forum if Choice could test the efficacy of scrunch vs. fold, and many of the responses to that post also included information about the preferred way to roll one’s toilet paper.

My wife and I are both committed to our paper being WWI-style - over the top. While this is clearly the best way to roll, it is time to find out once and for all how the Choice Community rolls. For those who are worried that others may stop talking to them if they answer the poll incorrectly, I have made it anonymous.

To avoid any confusion, I will explain the options (hopefully in a manner that makes sense):

  • “Over” means that your toilet paper is threaded so that the sheets come towards the user over the top of the roll.
  • “Under” means that your toilet paper hangs down against the wall, and you tear sheets off that are near the wall.
  • Over
  • Under

0 voters


The scene was a women’s magazine (name and date suppressed to protect the guilty) and I was reading the personal advice column. The question at the top of the column, asked by a new bride, is the very one you have brought up! So be prepared for an authoritative answer.

The reply told us that both ways of hanging the roll are acceptable, the under option is neater and the tail is less likely to blow in the wind. {What is this wind in the smallest room?} The over option is easier to grab in a hurry. The two options are equally difficult to install. I am so glad about that, I might have been hanging them inefficiently all these years. Then to avoid wasting time with an inconclusive answer the columnist gave the tie breaker!

{Drum roll…}

“As you are out of touch with your mother, if you still can’t decide ask your mother-in-law, SHE WILL KNOW” {emphasis added}

As I am unable to contact either my mother or MIL (short of a seance) I still don’t know.

I suggest we need to get the big guns involved, such as The Journal of Improbable Research. These intrepid investigators are not afraid to ask the hard questions, for example here.


… but does that make it right? is it the only one? definitive? all I really care about is how clean my sphincter is after processing …


One has to wonder whether the mystified young writer had been brought up by wolves! She had never noticed? Or was the entire concept somewhat new to her?

I appear to be staying in the wrong hotels!

In separate news, I see from that august journal’s home page that the first winner if the Economics Ig Nobel may be getting a presidential pardon sometime soon.

I worry about the paper rubbing against the wall on its way to my posterior - but it’s doing that either way.


Under or over doesn’t worry me…possibly under is better as easier to tear with one hand.

But it worries my other half who will change rhe roll to over if it is found under.

For the sake of a happy life, I now go over as well.


Well, if you ever use my water closet, I’ll be happy as long as it doesn’t rub against the wall on its way from your posterior :wink:


“Drum Roll” - a great pun!

1 Like

Really does it matter


I suppose you don’t care which end of a boiled egg you open either.


Heretic in our midst! Beware the heretic, lest they call for rolling your paper sideways!!!

More seriously, in answer to your question: of course not! Many of the best things we as humans achieve do not ‘matter’. Does that mean that we should stop reading interesting books, or painting, or listening to music?

There are a lot of serious issues discussed in the Choice Community - but I hope there is room for occasional frivolity, or we become less a community than a discussion board. And that, to me, matters.


Depends who one is married to/partner is and whether one wants a happy life.

For some the phrase, "happy wife, happy life’ may apply.


I haven’t got past the question of wind in the toilet cubicle.


Personally, I am ADAMANTLY an ‘over the top’ person.
BUT my wife is equally adamantly an “under” person.
Luckily we use separate toilets, so each preference can be catered to.


This question has been debated in our household from time to time. My observation has been that those who manufacture illustrated rolls seem to make them to hang in the OVER fashion to be properly appreciated.


Over is more hygenic and easier to use. On the other hand, if you have a cat who likes unrolling toilet paper rolls, under is best! Cat soon loses interest when pulling doesn’t unroll yards of paper.


Definitely OVER. If you use under then your hand will often touch the wall or roll holder, thus spreading germs. When you use over you only touch the fresh paper you are to use.


I am appalled at the results here - its just another example of Anglophilic Northern Hemisphere bias. The unrolling of toilet paper is a simple matter of physics. Google “Coriolis effect” to see the meteorological manifestations of the Earth’s rotation. Just as with high and low pressure weather systems, toilet paper unrolls in opposite directions in each hemisphere. Wikipedia can explain it better than I can, but clearly to expect the paper to unroll “over” in the Southern Hemisphere is as silly as expecting snow at Christmas in December. Please, don’t contravene the laws of nature. The Souther Hemisphere is “under” the Northern, so the toilet paper unrolls “under” downunder.


I honestly didn’t care less until I had kids, but then…

  1. Little kids have trouble getting to the loo roll if it is under. Over brings it the width of the roll closer, so they don’t fall off their precarious perches.
  2. The things that get ugh on the way to kids managing to get that under stuff is eye opening.
  3. Putting the loo roll over and hanging means you only touch the bit you get and, hopefully, leave the rest of the roll, as well as the holder and the wall, poop-free. This goes double for the young 'uns while learning.
  4. Anyway, those cute little triangles, that the motel cleaner puts on the roll, will fall out of shape if the roll is under. DER! :poop:

Faced with this problem in our house, and even the point that the print was only on one side still did not convince her, we purchased a Japanese toilet seat with hot and cold water and a warm air drier. Argument solved.


Continuing this old conversation. For me it’s easier to unroll if it’s over but I understood the reason for under when a mother told me she puts it under so the children don’t go overboard and unravel too much. Showed me we all have our reasons and each is legitimate and works for us.