November 30, 2006

Suddenly Scientific

How many rolls of toilet paper does a household go through in an average week?

That is the question I've set out to answer for our own household, inspired in part by the quantity of Charmin flushed away during our recent spate of company over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yes, we had a lot of company and it was a "food" holiday. But damn. I swear we blew through a nine pack of Ultra-Charmin over those four days and five nights. I personally changed the roll four times over the course of the holiday. (That's not counting whatever happened in the downstairs bathroom. I'm not even sure anyone besides The Boy used it. I sure didn't. The last time I was down there I saw a spider. Quite near the toilet. Need I say more?)

The Boy was the only representative of the male persuasion. The other seven bodies utilizing our humble facilities were female. Isn't it a commonly known factoid that women use more toilet paper than men? Is it true? I've always assumed so. Perhaps you've never thought about it. I have. More than once. The mind, it wanders.

Suddenly I'm irresistibly interested in Typical Household Toilet Paper Usage (THTPU). For the purpose of this experiment, our household will be the control group.

The data collection began with a fresh roll of toilet paper last night. I've numbered the spare rolls stashed handily in the cabinet within arms reach of the toilet. Lest you feel I'm unduly obsessed and perhaps should use my time more wisely, the numbering took a mere moment, a worthy investment for potentially serious scientific gain.

Well. That's a stretch.
But at least I'll satisfy my curiosity.
I shall report back here in a week to satisfy yours.

Feel free to play along if you'd like.
You know your inner scientist wants to.



Unknown said...

roflmao and bless your heart....these are things that are important to know sometimes!!!Excellent scientific project I might there room there for an adjunct question?? Namely the age old question of hanging the toilet paper....over or under?????

I think I have to go blog about this further......:)

WenWhit said...

Don't make me count squares, woman. ;p

Anonymous said...

LOL...sounds like fun to me so I'll play along. There are two females in the house here. We both work full time days jobs and are home at least one full day on the weekends. We use 8 plain ole generic rolls per week. Yes...I'm a penny pinching biotch when it comes to TP.

sporksforall said...

One of your problems may be the tp of choice. I'm not advocating a change mid-experiment, mind you. Don't want to mess up the data control.

When Scout and I first got together, I was an advocate of Scott. She claims that even though Scott lasts longer, it's not worth thr savings because of the abrasion. We've switched to Cottonelle. I have no doubt that Cottonelle would last longer than Charmin. Soft and long-lasting. What more can you ask for?

Thus endeth the commercial

Anonymous said...

wait a minute. 8 rolls for two people.
that sounds very high.
i am going home to number our t.p.

tiff said...

Over or under? In our house that a moot point. Apparently the males in my home believe that "perched on top of the roll HOLDER" is the appropriate placement of bottom-wiping paper.

I have given up this fight in favor of the "your dirty socks do not belong IN the couch" fight. One must pick one's battles after all.

Suzanne said...

Worry not, my dear Wendy. I'll never ask you to count the squares. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I already know the answer for our household. We go through 8.75 rolls a week for two adults and one teen.

Middle Girl said...

When I was a child of 5 (or so) my dad indeed insist that we use 4 squares-Always. All the time. No matter what.

I've long since stop counting squares, but I know precisely how many rolls our hh of 2 f and 1 m goes through in a week.

Scott 3
Cottenelle 5
Add 1 to each if anyone has a cold and no Puffs.

Over/Under? -just happy to get it loaded.

Sam said...

I would suggest a randomized controlled study. Randomize households to certain brands and to certain limits on how much each can use (some unlimited, some limited to using a particular amount). That way, you could see if people overuse when on a limitless supply and you could test which brands last the longest. Kill two birds with one stone, eh? Of course, you will need a certain number of houses in the study to ensure statistical power...let me find my stats book and figure it out.

Just kidding. :)

My choice - Scott Extra Soft tissue. Not too soft, not too much TP lint, not abrasive like regular Scott.

Anonymous said...

As a member of a FOUR female household, I was force, forced I tell you, into a Costco membership so we could buy enough TP to suitably pamper said females each month. Each TP package contains (and I kid you not) 36 rolls. Maybe not as soft and wonderful as Charmin, but it is double-ply and doubles as kleenex when necessary.

As for who uses more TP, I think girls do, hands down (so to speak).

WenWhit said...

If anything remotely resembling a "placebo" is introduced, I'm bailing.

maxine said...

We are on the Costco boat as well and a 2 female, .5 teenage male household. OK, not .5 male, but he is here .5 of the time. I would say we average 3.5 rolls a week. On occasion it is used to pick up doggie poo as well as for noseblowing, though that seems to be less and less as I think Lilli Munster is finally getting that outside is preferred and we currently have tissues available. And yes, my disease flares will skew the usage a wee bit.

J said...

I have conducted a similar experiment at our house. I have found that on average, our 2 woman household uses 1.5 rolls of "Basic" which is Charmin 1ply, but just as....nice as the expensive 2, seriously. Again this is average, as I did 4 weeks of study, during which time there were 2 cycles of menses and uhm, 3 bouts of sickness.

SassyFemme said...

Fran is totally obsessed with not running out of toilet paper, so we have TONS of it in the house. In fact, she now has us getting the huge (36?) roll thing from Costco. I don't get why, it's just the two of us. The big 12 roll of Charmin wasn't enough. If we have less than 5 rolls in the house it's time to make a run up to Costco. I just go along with it, it's not a battle I choose to fight.

As for how much we go through... I don't know, maybe 2 or 3 rolls a week for the two of us? I could be way off. It's hard to tell because we've got three bathrooms in the house.

agoodlistener said...

We seem to blow through a 45 roll box of POM from Sam's Club in about a month, and there's only two of us here: 1m, 1f. Women use more, though when both our sons are here (as they were over the Thanksgiving holiday), many rolls mysteriously disappeared. (And not into their luggage, either.)

Yes, you got me--my inner scientist cries out to know for sure.

Ooo-word verification is xzlrnfun. I don't know what it is, but it ends in fun.

Sam said...

Elizabeth - no problem with gender thing. Glad to hear I exude 'cute guy' in my comment postings. I was afraid it screamed 'opinionated bitch'. :)

nina michelle said...

Is no woman here going to admit to buying those Evening Fresh Walk on the Beach towelettes for those special occasions?


but but but....(no pun intended) they feel I have taken a walk in the evening on the beach in a long white dress comfy!

KMae said...

Hey Nina-
We buy the bay diaper wipes & always have those handy. Cheaper, but definately refreshing & cleansing! Of course we throw those in the trash...
Other than that, it's the soft Scotts! 1 roll lasts over weeks cause I fly away so much.
PS: Hotel tp has gotten better!

KMae said...

Baby Diaper wipes, I mean.

Anonymous said...

A fan of the baby wipes too, just found your blog, love it.

elswhere said...

Okay, now I'm thinking we must not use enough toilet paper, because we go through one 12-pack of Trader Joe's tp about every month. That's only 3 rolls a week, and there are 3 of us. (well, 1 of us is only 6 years old, but it doesn't seem to me that that should make very much difference. Especially since said 6-year-old has an entire secret life which appears to be conducted entirely in the bathroom.)

RW even works from home a few days a week, which you'd think would bump things up.

Hmm. Maybe the Trader Joe's stuff is just extra robust?

Zoe said...

It seems like we, two of us women type, go through fewer than 8 triple-rolls in a month. That seems low to me because TP is sometimes also used for kleenex, which we seem to run out of far faster than TP.

Val said...

I admit that I do tend to be "fran-like" in that I must have a supply of TP in the house, but no WAY do we (2 F adults and a 6 yr old)go through more than a roll of TP a week!

I WILL be tracking it though. most definitely!

Anonymous said...

A very interesting study indeed... I will be numbering toilet paper rolls just as soon as I post this comment.

Anonymous said...

I have read this entry and its comments no less than three times. And yet, when I went to the grocery store and spent $200 yesterday, take one guess what most important item on the list didn't make it home with me.


I'm totally blaming you for today's TP run.

Anonymous said...

how could 2 people possibly go through an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper in one day!