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Up Until The 1930s, Using Toilet Paper Was Extremely Risky Business

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Hygiene hasn’t always been as important as it is today. Luckily, things have changed, and our modern world places a huge emphasis on staying clean and sanitary.

One place where maintaining good hygiene is of the utmost importance is your bottom. Not only does it feel more comfortable to keep the more sensitive areas of our bodies clean, but it’s much safer, too. However, trying to maintain our “nether regions” wasn’t always an easy thing to do.

See, long before double-ply was incorporated into bathroom toilet tissue, restroom experiences were pretty rough… literally. Here’s some information about how bad toilet paper used to be that might just have you thanking your stars for Charmin Ultra Soft!

In today’s world, staying clean and sanitary is of the utmost importance. Naturally, an emphasis is placed on things like washing your hands and showering. Still, little is more vital than the simple act of wiping yourself after going number two.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t always so easy to do that. In the past, even things as simple as toilet paper were a little, well… rough. While it’s easy to take your simple roll of two-ply for granted, the history of TP might have you feeling especially thankful for that Charmin Ultra Soft!


See, when toilet paper first hit the market in the 1880s, it wasn’t long before several brands and designs were being offered across store shelves. Each brand varied in size, roughness, weight, resistance, and water-absorption. It’s not so different than the qualities we look for today! Except, there was one major difference that just might make you cringe…

The biggest difference in toilet paper back then was how comfortable it used to feel. Generally speaking, the amount of plies that a toilet paper roll offers directly correlates with how gentle it feels on the skin. When it was first introduced more than a century ago, toilet paper was only one-ply thick—and it didn’t feel all that great when applied to the body.


However, people felt compelled to withstand the often unpleasant experience in the name of having a clean bottom. They wanted to stay sanitary, and they were willing to put up with a little bit of discomfort to do so. What’s still surprising is just how much pain they had to endure…

Even though it was painful, the one-ply style was very affordable—and, therefore, more popular than the alternative—when toilet paper was first developed. That said, most people had more to worry about than the too-thin ply. The reason being that, back then, toilet paper wasn’t always a well-made product…

Most of us can’t imagine this today, but in the early stages of toilet paper usage, many of the rolls actually contained splinters! This was mainly due to the crude production techniques that were being used at the time.


Eventually, in 1935, a company called Northern Issue created a two-ply version of toilet tissue. When it hit the market, people rushed to buy it in large quantities. Obviously, they were tired of having every bathroom experience be so full of peril.

Now, both rough and soft paper is available on store shelves, although companies have found that the softer texture is far more popular. It’s always great to have options, but at least people don’t have to worry about splinter-butt anymore!


Thankfully, a lot has changed since those early toilet paper days. Can you even imagine having to avoid splinters just so you could wipe your behind? Still, even that beats what the Ancient Greeks had to use: pottery shards!

Ouch! Restroom experiences long ago seemed incredibly painful. It’s a good thing companies figured out that soft tissue made for a much better bathroom trip.

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