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Is My Toilet Paper Shrinking?

Jul 28, 2009

Is it me or is my toilet paper getting smaller?

Is it me or is my toilet paper getting smaller?

You’re not going crazy and you’re hands aren’t getting any bigger.  One of closest companions is actually getting smaller.

Toilet paper was originally manufactured 4.5” wide by 4.5” long, which is relative to the average man’s hand size. The square makes it convenient to fold over a few times and still be acceptable for size/ sanitary coverage. Basically, the size was established because it worked – kind of like the 90-foot pitcher’s mound and the 10-foot basketball rim.

However, the size of toilet tissue has been reduced in the last decade as manufacturers try to trim costs by trimming sheet size.

Currently, most TP rolls are still 4.5” wide (or close too it at least), but have may contain much shorter sheets.  Typical sizes of popular brands include:
–    Kleenex Cottonelle; Standard :  4.5 x 4.0
–    Angel Soft; Standard: 4.5 x 4.0
–    Charmin Basic: 4.4 x 4.3
–    Quilted Northern: 4.5 x 4.05

If you’re missing your old friend, have no fear.  Two manufactures still produce 4.5x.4.5″ rolls of toilet paper:
–    Boardwalk Toilet Paper; 2-ply
–    Windsoft Recycled Toilet Paper ; 2-ply

**Product Update: As of November 1, 2009, Private Label brands Boardwalk and Windsoft Toilet Paper no longer produce sheets in 4.5″ x 4.5″ sizes. Both brands have reduced their sheet size to 4.5″ x 4.25″. Thank you to Phil for bringing this to our attention.**

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175 Responses to “Is My Toilet Paper Shrinking?”

  1. DeeDee - January 5th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Will never buy Charmin again. After years as a loyal customer and willing to pay whatever, I have no option. Company must think we are stupid to not notice the inconvenience of small size. Plus it requires using more!

  2. Peg - January 6th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Charmin sent me a second coupon ( I never used the first) so I returned the coupon with a note telling them I will not buy their TP because of it’s narrow width. I agree with Richard above that some company needs to make a premium TP that is wide 4.25-4.50 inches. Mega rolls. It will sell.

  3. RonF - March 1st, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Glad I found this blog. Thanks.
    I like many here thought I was going nuts when looking at the Charmin MEGA ultra Super rolls we have bought for years.
    Fancy quilting and softness…still there but it didn’t seem to fit right.
    We have a towel rack that held 3 count them 3 rolls of mega with about a quarter of an inch for easy movement. We recentlytested the new roll size fit and now Charmin MEGA ULTRA ect. fits 4 rolls with 1/8″ extra room and the rolls visibly have much larger center “core” size AND are smaller overall diameter.
    We are paying MORE for a product that we are getting at the most 1/4 less product and I believe it is even less than that.
    Excuse me for saying it but the comfort manufactures are treating their customers like the product it is supposed to help with.
    I am now understanding the value of a bidet..but can’t get myself to that solution yet. When our stock pile of Charmin is gone the wife and I will buy some other product from the internet stores. because at $19 a pak to get $13 of product doesn’t work for me.

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  5. Linda jackson - March 21st, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I may resort to the dollar store

  6. Bob - March 27th, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    The cardboard roll in side is now larger, there for providing less and giving the consumer a false since of value (rip-off F bags)

  7. Bob - March 27th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    The cardboard roll in side is now larger in diameter, there for providing less and giving the consumer a false since of value (rip-off F bags)

  8. Bob - March 27th, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    The cardboard roll in side is now larger in diameter, there for providing less and giving the consumer a false since of value (rip-off, thief’s)

  9. Ted Leger - April 6th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    My wife and I both laughed at this because she noticed that our toilet paper has gotten smaller and thinner. It is something how they are cutting down even on toilet paper! And the price just keeps going up and up.

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  14. Tom Miller - June 5th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve read your info on TP “shrinkage” but I didn’t see any mention of the cardboard tube becoming larger in diameter, of course meaning less paper on the roll… I noticed this several years ago as the widths got narrower and the sheets shorter. It would seem that someone would make a premium traditional sized TP. I’d certainly pay extra for it, no problem.

  15. Boston Bill - June 6th, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Just changed a roll of Charmin with one from a brand new package of Mega-Roll. Noticed width change. The old one had sheets that were 4.25″ x 4.0″. The new one was 3.92″ x 4.0″. That’s only 77% of the original TP size of 4.5″ x 4.5″ and 92% of the previous 4.25″ x 4.0″. Until reading some of these comments, I hadn’t even noticed that they had also increased the diameter of the core (thus decreasing the number of sheets on a roll). The new Mega-roll only has 330 sheets and is supposed to be 4x a standard roll. That means a double roll would only have 165 sheets and a standard roll only 82 1/2. Something is REALLY WRONG.

  16. Glen Olsen - September 4th, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I just called Charmin (Proctor & Gamble) today about this problem. The new rolls are 3.92″ wide and a old roll that we had at our summer home is 4.5″ wide. The nice lady on the phone told me that the narrower width was a “corporate decision” made so they could put more fiber in the product. BULL! I told her that the wallpaper industry tried the same trick about 20 years ago when they reduced the length of a roll from 7yds for 20 1/2″ goods to 5 1/2yds for the same width goods. People got smart real soon and the industry has shrunk ever since.

    I asked her if she had ever watched Jay Leno when he was on the Tonight Show. She said that she had always enjoyed the show. I mentioned that quite frequently Mr. Leno would comment about some sandwich or food product and say “How fat are we getting?”. I informed her that as the American populace gets bigger bottoms we are supplied narrower toilet paper! Is it the goal of the “corporate decision makers” that at some point in the not too distant future all toilet paper come in DENTAL FLOSS DISPENSERS?

    She got my point and said she would pass the message on. And she is sending me a $2.00 off coupon.

    In my final comment to her I reminded her that in truth the “corporate decision” was nothing more than just plain old greed. At .58″ savings on every roll of toilet paper it isn’t hard to see that with the new width they make more than 12.8% more profit. Wouldn’t you like to go to your bank and get an interest rate of 12.8%!

    Proctor and Gamble sure knows how to make money!

  17. Peg - September 8th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Still not buying Charmin and continue my search for TP that is 4.0 to 4.5 inches wide. I find off brands, house brands, etc. but they get more narrow over time. I cannot remember the brand but the package advertized “New, wider sheets.” 4.0 inches wide. HA. Keep boycotting.

  18. Colida Marjoy - September 18th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    If you have trouble with TP falling through your holder, take a core from wrapping paper or plastic wrap and cut it to the length you need for your holder. Then put it inside the roll of toilet paper and use as a roller. Just make sure it’s large enough to go over the prongs on each side of the holder. And don’t forget to keep it when you change rolls. Works like a charm for me. I tried using a paper towel core, but that was the same size as the TP core. You may have to experiment with different types of cores to find the right size.

  19. dwasifar - October 6th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Regarding Boardwalk being undersized, I bought a case of Boardwalk 6155 earlier this year, and the sheets are 4.4″ x 4.5″. Good strong 2-ply paper, a little bit institutional feeling, but a nice heavy tightly wrapped roll that fits the holder.

  20. Nell - October 25th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I will be continuing my search for 4.5 ” 2-ply toilet paper until I find it. Anything less wobbles on the roller. I don’t mind paying more to get what I want. The manufacturers should be ashamed to force this inferiority on the public. This product is a MUST for consumers!

  21. Nancy - November 2nd, 2014 at 9:48 am

    The problem is not that the paper is one ply or two ply or how it fits on the holder. The problem is that we are being cheated left and right with the Incredible Shrinking Product. Canned vegetables are 2/3 full, tuna is barely over half, every recipe involving anything canned will soon be wrong due to the ongoing pattern of surreptitious shrinking of everything. As long as the lowest price wins, this fraudulent behavior will continue. How can we fight this?

  22. Jack Jennings - November 7th, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Has anyone tried “Green Heritage 280 4.5″ Length x 4.5″ Width, 2-Ply Bathroom Tissue (Case of 80 Rolls, 500 per Roll)” and advertised by Amazon? $45.27 & FREE Shipping

  23. Jack Jennings - July 1st, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Those interested in the history of toilet paper (and the question of how a roll should be mounted (roll in of roll out) might be interested in this article from the Hagley Museum:

  24. Linda Jackson - July 2nd, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    A few more years our TP will be 2×2″. Where will it stop? I read somewhere where a lady sewed re usable wipes- but that’s disgusting. They keep charging us more and giving us less. I wish the government would standardize all product sizes. Do manufactures think that we are stupid? Yes, we know what you are doing. It’s not just the TP people.

  25. Peg - July 2nd, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Costco’s Kirkland TP is 4″ X 4 1/2″, $16.00 for 30 large rolls. Interestingly Costco had Charmin’ on sale. The package said extra wide size, 4″ x 4 1/2″. Have we come full circle? Is it the shrinking candy bar all over again? I have not found the “new” super size Charmin’ in the grocery store, only at Costco.

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