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The Over/Under On Toilet Paper. Bet Me It Doesn’t Matter?

If you’ve never considered the ramifications of your toilet paper roll orientation, be warned.

Your relationship may be at stake.

As @loquaciousmuse tweeted earlier today:

If a guy I was dating had his toilet paper go under instead of over – possible dealbreaker. I don’t put up w/ that kind of inanity.

While you may have never thought about it, allow me to explain and — if possible — save your relationship in the process.

Toilet paper can be placed on the roll flap up or flap down (as @SixOkay says). Flap up means over, flap down means under. With me so far?

Why does this even matter, you may ask? Let’s compare.

Flap up:

  1. Not only do you have better immediate access to your favorite 2 or 3-ply (if you’re rockin’ one ply, say nothing. Certain things we just don’t discuss) but you are in control of your destiny as to the number of sheets. 
  2. The tear is easily done one handed with a deft wrist flip or, in certain cases, with the clever applying of an elbow or forearm. 
  3. Once you’ve done your sheet selection, the roll generally stays in place, flap neatly up for the next use.

Flap Down:

  1. Control is more tenuous. 
  2. And access? Do I really have to mention how silly you might look scrabbling your hand against the wall trying to find the flap? Or, worse, the flap is facing the wall — necessitating a bump to even start rolling. Then, well, do I need to go on? You know what happens. The roll starts going, then you have to stop it as the paper cascades towards the floor. 
  3. The tear is likely to send the roll spinning again. And, again, that frantic slap on the roll to stop the spiral of tissue.

Let’s face it, people, there is nothing sadder than seeing that bit of Charmin nestled on the floor. Because you know. You KNOW you’re going to have to rip a decent amount away and discard it before you’ll even consider using more sheets. It’s just…indecent.

You may never have considered this. Or you may be a lifetime over-flapper. Either way, I hope this little explanation has helped you find your toilet paper Feng Shui and relationship bliss.

Flap on!


Think this debate isn’t serious? Check out the Cottonelle Roll Poll. (Thanks @onnabugeisha for the tip!)


  1. OVER, ( and I’ve had cats since I was 12ish, about 25 years.) When I’ve accidentally had it under, (or someone mistakenly oriented the roll, I’ve found the dangly-flappy bit proves irresistible to cats.)

  2. “Over” and I have *THREE* cats. They’re just not interested enough to bother with the rolls. They have other serious cat business to attend to. Like sleeping on my sweaters.

  3. Oh and if you check most public restrooms with normal size toilet paper, their expert Janitorial Engineers place the rolls over. Those are the experts people!

  4. Anyone who says “over” doesn’t own a cat. I’ve had three cats who think rolls of toilet paper are their supply of Stuff to Shred. Under, please!

  5. A friend once told me that Moms put it under, so kids and cats don’t ‘slap-spin’ it onto the floor. I am an over girl, myself.

  6. Over.

    But I have to say BlackRogueDreams amkes an excellent point. I find it amazing the talent my Hubby has regarding his ability to leave a singular square left on the roll – or sometimes an empty roll which forces me to replace it. It’s like milk. There somehow always happens to be a singular swallow left in the container.

  7. I’m an under girl. I actually find it harder to control the number of squares I tear off when it’s over. Or maybe it’s just my holder… I’ve never had the roll pile on the floor.

  8. Even if I’m at someone elses house I’ll flip the role over to be hanging in the front. It’s just plan wrong to have it the other way.

  9. Just tweeted this to you, but needed to leave it here too. Apparently this is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Only important debates like this get entire websites.

    for reals. America has spoken.

  10. I had no idea there was such a scientific study! I shall have to pay more attention -then again, I have a stand up roll – not against the wall…so perhaps issues are different. wink.

  11. Of course if it’s not there when you need it the debate becomes academic.

  12. Its long been my experience that the only people who place rolls of toilet paper or paper towels in an underhand fashion have been women.(Until @timothyreese spoke up that is) I don’t know if they played softball or not, but its always struck me as odd.
    Putting that aside, overhand is the best simply because of the control and lack of piling up on the floor.

    • lack of piling up on the floor until a 2 year old walks up and gives it a good whack.. women put it under cause we know exactly what is going to happen when the kid get near it never mind losing a couple sheets you’ll lose half the roll but if it is under the kid can whack away as hard as he can and the toilet paper never touches the floor… more logic to my madness than there is to yours

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