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Infographic Of The Day: The Great Toilet Paper Debate

August 31, 2011


Seriously: Which way should the toilet paper be oriented?!

I’ll bet you scoffed at this headline before clicking it. And I’ll bet you’ve thought about the debate it mentions almost too many times to count. But seriously: Which way should you hang the toilet paper in the dispenser?

The good folks at, being engineers as you may have guessed, put some rather intensive thought to the problem, and came up with this infographic. It all starts off with the under-reported history of toilet paper, which was apparently invented in the west in New York City (woot!) in 1857. But not before those clever, clever Chinese invented it in the sixth century A.D.:



As the infographic shows, the over/under debate seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. But when you break it down, in our opinion, having the toilet paper fall over the roll is the only way that makes sense. Otherwise, the lack of any friction just means the toilet paper unspools and puddles onto the ground, creating a mess. And this debate has created a Wikipedia entry that’s twice as long as that of the Iraq War’s:



You’re welcome!

About the Author: Cliff Kuang is the editor of Co.Design, and in the past has written regularly for WIRED, Popular Science and GOOD.

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