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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. Hookah Store - January 12th, 2012 at 3:01 am

    I also noticed that tissue paper is getting smaller in summer. I am not satisfied about smaller roll because of same rate.

  2. Jessica - January 17th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I am trying to find a roll of toilet paper with a larger core tube. The standard size on the 4.5 or 4″ rolls is just a bit too small to roll freely around the holder. Does anybody have any recommendations?

  3. Molly - January 18th, 2012 at 6:37 am

    What’s the diameter of the holder that you’re using? We will try to help you Jessica! You can e-mail me directly at molly@cicgo.com with your answer, we’ll get to the bottom of your problem!

  4. Jack Jennings - January 25th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    4.5 inch wide tissue IS available!!! I just bought Classique from Danzi Janitorial Supply, 146 South Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, NJ 08094, 856-629-1858 and paid $64.99 for a case of 96 rolls.

    They also sell
    Atlas Paper Mills #125 Green Heritage” 1-ply with a 4.5” x 3.8” sheet size (1000 sheets per roll)
    Atlas Paper Mills #280 Green Heritage” 2-ply with a 4.5” x 4.5” sheet size (500 sheets per roll)
    Also several other sizes, most of which meet “green” recycle standards.
    The Atlas website is http://www.atlaspapermills.com/ their address is:
    Atlas Paper Mills, LLC
    11400 NW 32nd Avenue
    Miami, FL 33167
    800-562-2860

    Call then to find a distributer near you.

  5. Jack Jennings - January 25th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Just found a video about Atlas Paper at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioO2o9vy8kI

  6. Jack Jennings - January 25th, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    They sell Atlas 4.5″ wide paper right here at toiletpaperworld.com. Just search for it.

    http://www.toiletpaperworld.com/search.aspx?q=Atlas

    Prices a bit high, but htey carry it!

  7. Devendra Patki - January 29th, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I do guess the shrinking of the size of toilet paper has to do something with the environment part of it. Further if you’re using a smaller size the production cost will decrease automatically and this will in turn increase the profit margin…

  8. auto lease los angeles - February 8th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Why do you think they did this? To try and conserve? I’m wondering how price has varied since the size has diminished- tp probably still costs the same amount…or more! This seems to be the way most industries work now, you get LESS bang for your buck.

    -Lizzy-

  9. claude - February 13th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    With everything these days, they are trying to get more for less. Nonetheless, I would think tp quality has improved, at least for the “non-generic” brands. BTW, I bought this gadget I really enjoy and want to share: see changemytoiletpaper.com

  10. D T Crowley - February 19th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I see lots of discussion of the size of the toilet paper, but why did the roll it goes on get larger? Can anyone say?

  11. Linda jackson - February 20th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Because it still appears to have the same number of sheets. Just like a magician , it’s slight of hand. It’s nit obvious they are giving us less and less sheets for MORE money.

  12. D T Crowley - February 20th, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Yes, it is obvious. But how is it possible that ALL manufacturers would agree to this? Wouldn’t there be at least one who believes in ethics and quality, and believes that there are some who would recognize that fact and, reading the label to make sure it has the same square footage as the others, purchase toilet paper with a smaller, easier-to-handle, roll?

  13. Jack Jennings - February 20th, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Years ago one brave tissue manufacturer made a roll with a very small diameter cardboard tube (I believe it was 3/4″ ID). I don’t really know why it didn’t catch on since it held much more paper than the then “standard” roll. It might have been roller size, since rollers were made of sliding wooden tubes.

    People don’t generally think much about the real value that are getting in most products and have convinced manufacturer’s that the public will accept paying more for less, as evidenced by the demise of the ice cream half gallon. The “super soft” bathroom tissues are fluffed up so much that much of what appears to be a roll is really air. The only way to really judge the REAL cost of your bathroom tissue is to calculate it by WEIGHT!

  14. Linda jackson - February 20th, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I think the government should step In and standardize the sizing so that the consumer can make an educated decision on our purchase. Wrapping the tissue looser and changing the sheet size AND increasing core size, make it impossible to make an informed decision. And to confuse us even more, the manufacturers put different amount of sheets of tp within their own product line – ie, the 4 pack as compared to the larger packages.

    We can’t win. TP manufacturer’s have us by the balls!!!

  15. D T Crowley - February 20th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks, Jack, and thanks Linda for giving me what I take to be the technical term for this object: core. This still leaves the fact, however, that they ALL agree to try to deceive us. When I was a boy, we thought of a system that offered only one, standard, low-quality product as COMMUNIST, and we were taught to ridicule such a system. Is this what we have now?

  16. What toilet paper should I buy? - Page 2 - The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum - February 27th, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    […] TP has been shrinking in size – so much so that some people call it "Toilet Ribbon" Read this blog and then watch for size when you buy. We have shifted to Shop-Rite's house brand, double ply, and […]

  17. Dawn - March 4th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I would be happy if they would make th tube smaller again so the roll had enough paper to last more than 3 days! But what really chaps my cheeks is the games they play with the roll sq. Footage relative to the number of rolls. Think you’re getting a better value per sq foot buying 24 rolls vs 6 rolls? Don’t count on it! And supermarkets collude in this by giving you the price per sq foot on one product but the price per 100 count on another so you can’t compare. Shop with your calculator (app)!

    Same with paper towels. While I like the ‘choose a size’ idea, often I can’t get the biggest roll in bulk, with the shorter sheet.

  18. Peg - March 6th, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Dawn, you are so right and it is frustrating. Not to mention the other shrinking paper products like facial tissue and dryer sheets. I wish there were some organized way to protest this in a way that makers got the message. Like by boycotting their products.

  19. Neosimian Sapiens - March 26th, 2012 at 1:36 am

    I sure do search for weird things on the net, but recently I noticed that the package for our toilet paper says that each sheet measures 4.5 inches by 4.27 inches. That struck me as odd, because 4.27 inches doesn’t convert to a tidy metric number; it equals 10.1 centimeters.

    So finally I plugged these numbers into Google and discovered the truth about the incredible shrinking TP.

    The irony is that this is the Charmin double roll, which makes a big deal about how it is equivalent to two “regular” sized rolls. I note that they never specify how they define “regular.”

  20. Peg - March 26th, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Charmin is the only brand I can find that still makes paper that is 4.27 inches wide. Any others that you guys know of?

  21. Molly - March 27th, 2012 at 5:35 am

    This Windsoft Toilet Paper still has 4.5 x 4.5 in sheets as well as this Boardwalk Toilet Paper. For a green option, check out Atlas Green Recycled Toilet Paper.

  22. Peg - March 27th, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Molly, Bulk purchase required. Are samples available? I wouldn’t want to buy 50-100 rolls of TP that I didn’t like when I got it.

  23. Jack Jennings - March 27th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Both Classique and Atlas are sold by janitorial supply houses. Most of these will sell a few single rolls to try out. Normal case sizes for these are 48 and 96 rolls, so it’s a very good idea to try before you buy.

  24. Vivienne - July 11th, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I’ve been trying to find a decent size (the old sizes were decent) and it is very difficult. They are 2ply too, so I need half a roll to do the business they were designed for!!

  25. Josie Bodami - July 22nd, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I am sick and tired of getting ripped off by the manufacturers.
    The consumers are upset with the rising costs as it is without
    having to pay so much for less of the product.
    I have maintenance service for snow plowing and lawn care and the owner is still charging me the same cost as 4 years ago inspite of rising gas prices so why can’t these greedy big companies eat the costs and give the consumers a break!!!!!!

  26. Water Damage Restoration - August 15th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    The is a good side behind shrinking toilet paper… Less clogged toilets. :)

  27. Danielle - December 12th, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Nice post 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. Thanks a lot for posting this article.

  28. Josie Bodami - December 12th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    HOW DO WE GET WORD TO THE MANUFACTURERS THAT PRODUCE TOILET PAPER TO STOP CHANGING THE DIMENSIONS OF THE TOILET PAPER SO THAT THEY CAN CUT COSTS AND OBSORB THE FINANCIAL LOSS ON A PRODUCT THEMSELVES.
    WHY SHOULD THE CONSUMER ALWAYS TAKE THE LOSS ON THE COST OF A LESS THAN PERFECT PRODUCT.
    I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BUYING PRODUCTS THAT HAVE BEEN ALTERED IN SIZE, WEIGHT OR OUNCES AND
    THEN PAYING A HIGHER PRICE.
    WE THE CONSUMER ARE BEING FINANCIALLY RAPED!!!!’

    P

  29. Margaret Metacarpa - January 11th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I guess we just have to accept that we, the consumer are at the bottom of the totum pole. I first noticed this when I saw that the containers that were once 32 oz are now 30 oz and the prices have gone up e.g. Mayo, coffee and most canned foods. Do you know that it is difficult to find a 16 oz mug? They now make that average mug to hold only 15 oz.

  30. Alex - March 4th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Quoted northern has done it again! Just bought some at walmart: the core is now 1 7/8″; I have an older roll, and the core is 1 1/2″. That is 3/8″ of paper they have cut out, and the price was the same! I just bought my last roll of quilted northern.

  31. George - March 11th, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I have been buying Walmart Brand toilet paper. It is 4.2″ x 352 2ply sheets and fits deeply to the back of your holder (Full Roll). It seems to be about the same as Angel Soft in texture. It is a bigger roll and cost is $4.96 for 12 double rolls. You can even feel the heavyness of the bundle. Try it, see what you think.

  32. mmazzi - March 25th, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    The note on this post says that in NOV 2009 Boardwalk & Windsoft went from 4.5″ long to 4.25″ long. I just looked it up and they are now both 3″ long!!! WTF?!!*#!??? Was looking for an alternative to Scott… they are all screwing us. This BS about capitalism’s supply and demand is smoke and mirrors people!!!! There is a DEMAND for normal sized toilet paper. But, as long as they can get away with the main suppliers all changing it, you have no alternative. When only a few corporations dominate an industry, it’s called an oligarchy. The oligarchs are all around us. This free trade/free market is BS. They are bleeding the middle and lower income segments of society out of greed. There is a demand for products made in the USA… instead we get Asian crap. There is a demand for non-genetically modified food… instead we get Frankenfood that you are eating every day. There is a demand for decent sized frigging TP!!!! See, it’s controlling the market because they all collude to set standards… hey… they can tell each other… if we ALL make them smaller, we’ll make a killing and nobody can really switch! LOL Rat bastards!

    Do you realize how much they save on these cuts? Scott TP in 2010 was 4.5 x 3.7. Now it’s 4.1 x 3.7. That’s 124.5 sq ft in a 12 pack. Rounded… let’s say 125 sq ft. That’s the frigging size of my kitchen! Compared to the original 4.5 x 4.5, they save over 423 sq ft!!! That’s almost half my apartment size in just a 12 pack!!! It’s brilliant marketing… Scott still gets to list themselves as “1000” sheets! They don’t charge the same, though… they charge MORE! This might sound stupid because we’re talking about toilet paper. But seriously people… what’s the one thing after food that Americans will make sure to buy? People will go without cable, phones, and could even get by without soap. But TP? This is about the 1% a**holes screwing the rest of us.

  33. Jo Anne - April 16th, 2013 at 3:19 am

    If you have a flat wall, you can replace the toilet paper dispenser with a paper towel dispenser – the kind that can be screwed onto a wall. Mine is wooden with a spring-type 1-inch roller. It holds 2 rolls each 4 inches wide, and would hold 3 rolls if they were 3-1/2 inches wide. That doesn’t save paper, but at least you don’t have to change a single roll as often and it accepts every brand. Separate the 2 rolls with a large metal washer or large bead.

  34. Molly - April 23rd, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Great idea! Thanks Jo Anne!

  35. Josie Bodami - April 23rd, 2013 at 10:56 am

    To all my consumer advocats,,,,,we are getting screwed all over the place….
    Have you checked the sizes of boxes and ounces on cereal, coffee, sugar, and baked stuff etc…yeah, right, and because this pisses me off I need to use more TP so that’s an added expense.
    My toilet paper plays musical chairs on the holder with the extra space while the supplier makes more money on the 423 sq.ft. that they took from us.
    I have written to the customer service department, consumer department, manager for product information to Scott company with NO response…how’s that for concern!!!!!!

  36. avisphen375.com - April 28th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Nice idea Jo anne ! thinks that we should test it out soon!

  37. Paul - May 3rd, 2013 at 11:56 am

    When you compare TP rolls for quantity of paper and cost, place your thumb just inside the core and your forefinger on the top edge of the roll. Squeeze the paper and notice the minimum thickness of the roll. That tells you how much the manufacturers are messing around with paper texture so they can sell to you more air and less paper.

  38. Choose your Toilet Paper: Review of Wausau Toilet Papers - May 9th, 2013 at 6:00 am

    […] 4.5 inches but with the increased cost of paper and the push to be more environmentally responsible most companies have cut the rolls to 4 inches.   Wausau did cut the length, but not by much. The sheet sizes range from 3.75 to 4 inches in […]

  39. Luisa V. - June 2nd, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Comparing New Toilet TIssue sheet sizes vs. the Big Toilet Paper Brands ?
    Angel Soft 132 Sheets 4.0″ x 4.0″ down from 150. Charmin Ultra Strong 82 Sheets 4.27″ x 4.0″ down from 88. Maxim Fit Toilet Paper has 264 Sheets 3.94″ x 4.48″ to learn about http://www.maximfit.us/products.php

  40. Gail Livingston - September 10th, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I just bought 2 packages of Charmain Ultra 12 double roll. After getting it home, I noticed the packages were different heights. They have shortened these rolls as well.

  41. Drewzer - September 22nd, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I also noticed the difference in Charmin that Gail mentioned when I was stocking the shelves at work (don’t worry, I didn’t squeeze the Charmin). What I’m curious about are the Angel Soft “Double +” rolls. They claim that 12 Double+ rolls equals 29 regular rolls. There are 55 extra sheets per roll compared to the old Double roll, yet the size of the roll is exactly the same, but here’s the kicker, the tube that the paper is rolled around is about a 1/2 an inch larger than before. Maybe I don’t understand circles, but doesn’t that mean there is less paper on the roll? I may have to resort to physically counting the sheets.

  42. Jessica - October 5th, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I don’t care how thin the roll is, I just want to find a roll that is long enough length wise to fit my toilet roll holder and not fall off EVERY TIME it turns as you unroll it. I’m getting SO sick of having to lean over pick up the roll of my floor put it back on the roller, start to pull some off to wipe and as it starts to turn it falls off the roller again. GETTING SO DANG ANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Kerry - October 13th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    This blog has been receiving replies since mid 2009 and still no manufacturer seems to have gotten the point. PEOPLE WANT THE PREVIOUS STANDARD SIZE TOILET PAPER. Do they not want the public to like their product. Surely they could make a nice profit on the old size. I know I would pay a nominal price increase for it.

  44. Peg - October 14th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Charmin has down sized again. I was buying it at 4″ x 4.27″ as the only locally carried paper over 4″ wide. Surprise, my last purchase 3.92″ x 4″. I am furious and looking for a new brand to buy. Suggestions?

  45. Filagra Australia - October 21st, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Hi there very good web page! Guy. Superb. Amazing. I’m going to book mark your blog site as well as use the nourishes on top of that? I’m pleased to find numerous handy information with the actual post, we would like grow far more tactics about this consider, appreciate spreading.

  46. linda jackson - October 23rd, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I would much rather see an honest price increase as opposed to the “slight of hand” price increases due to the sheet size reduction.

  47. DrammaRed - November 27th, 2013 at 6:00 am

    We live in the midwest. Just got shocked with smaller TP sizes about October 2013. Have used Charmin Ultra Strong Double rolls for years. Accidentally bought Charmin’s Mega Rolls earlier in the year. Can’t use those. They won’t fit the tp roller because the rolls are too thick. Stayed with the Ultra Strong Double rolls. Size wasn’t an issue until about October. Bought my usual 9 roll pack & suddenly thought I was losing my mind! By the end of the pack, I was wondering what the heck happened? The next purchase was also Charmin Ultra Strong double rolls, 9 pack. THIS time I took notice while using it, that it had shrunk noticeably. GRRRR! The next time we needed TP, hubby & I both started checking TP sizes. Sure enough nearly every brand on the shelf was way smaller than it used to be! Found one, maybe two that were still 4″ square or so. Both are non-brand names & horrible quality! Looks like we’re stuck with crap paper for the crapper! I WILL be checking out the other brands listed here to see what I can find. Those smaller sheets don’t even come close to being sanitary & YES it’s causing me to use more because I’m trying to rip off enough to cover my hand sufficiently. I too am extremely p.o.’d about this change in butt wipe sizing and would GLADLY pay a bit more to get the bigger size back! Just another way the little guy gets legally ripped off!

  48. Peg - December 2nd, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I emailed a complaint to Charmin and told them I would never buy their TP again. They sent me a stupid letter rationale and a $2.00 coupon. I meant it. I will never buy Charmin again. Furthermore I will tell everyone I know from now to eternity how bad their TP is and how bad they are as a company. I have found house brands of 4 X 4.27 but I know that is short lived.

  49. Richard - December 19th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Most all brands now down to 4″ width. Got burned on Charmin – tossed it out. Found some 4-1/4″ width Safeway house brand. It’s pretty good. Called the Charmin 800 number and a nice lady gave me some b.s. about “upping the quality” nonsense. God these people think we’re stupid.

    WOULD YOU NOT THINK THAT SOME INTELLIGENT TP MAKER WOULD NOTICE ALL THE DISCONTENT, AND MAKE A QUALITY TP AT 4-1/4″ OR EVEN 4-1/2″ SIZE?? They’d
    clean up (in more ways than one.)

  50. Eugene - December 21st, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I got some 4 x 4.27 @ dollar general. 9 rolls for $4.50.

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