Toilet tissue, toilet roll, loo paper, bathroom tissue – whatever you call it – is a bog standard of janitorial supplies. In some form or other, toilet paper has been around at least one and a half thousand years. The use of paper for toilet paper is attested from the 6th century in China. The scholar Yan Zhitui wrote that he would not dare to use paper on which there were quotations from the classics or the names of sages for toilet purposes. In Gargantua and Pantagruel, the 16th-century French writer François Rabelais recommended using a particularly downy goose’s neck for the purpose.
Like a lot of today’s consumer goods, toilet paper emerged as a commodity in the mid- to late-19th century. Victorian toilet paper was often medicated and sold in flat sheets rather than rolls.
How do toilet tissue brands differ?
As with many products, buying toilet paper involves a trade-off between price and quality: the higher the price of the toilet roll, the more luxury the product. Indicators of toilet tissue quality include the number of plies (layered sheets), coarseness and durability. Toilet tissue may also be quilted for softness and imbued with lotion at the higher end of the market.