The Correct Way to Hang Toilet Paper: Over or Under?

Does toilet paper go over or under? We finally have the answer.

Does Toilet Paper Go Over or Under?

It’s an argument every persnickety homeowner has had: Should the end of the toilet paper hang over the top of the roll or be tucked underneath it? We may finally have an answer to whether toilet paper goes over or under, courtesy of an 1891 patent by New York businessman Seth Wheeler.

Credited by some as America’s founding father of toilet paper, Wheeler patented the first perforated wipes in 1871 and launched his Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company in ’77, two years before the Scott brothers debuted their blockbuster brand. Wheeler filed dozens of patents until the 1920s, including those for toilet paper crimped into ornamental patterns and disposable “bosom pads” meant to replace expensive corsets. But his greatest invention was the roll-and-handles design in 1891—a now-ubiquitous fixture whose patent illustration solved the toilet paper over or under issue before it even started. Take a look:

over or under toilet paper guidePhoto: Courtesy of Seth Wheeler

The answer, as you can see above, is “over”—no surprise to the estimated 70 percent of wipers who already prefer this position, according to Proponents say an “over” roll provides easier access to the free end of the toilet paper and minimizes the risk of knuckle-on-bathroom-wall germ gathering.

The vehement 30 percent in the “under” camp counter that their position gives a tidier appearance and makes paper less prone to pet attacks—concerns that Victorian homeowners probably overlooked after switching from aloe-infused hemp sheets to Wheeler’s first perforated rolls.

Now that you know how to hang your roll, are you using the right toilet paper for your plumbing? Some toilet paper alternatives are sure to cause clogs.