The quest to find the perfect toilet paper

One area in which we are not frugal is toilet paper.  As soon as I was responsible for my own toiletries, I decided I would never purchase scratchy thin paper again except in case of emergency.  Only reasonably soft double or triple ply will do.  (Confidentially:  My parents clog up the guest toilet every time they visit because they’re not used to the thicker paper.) [#2 thinks triple-ply is overkill.  Number two. hehehehehe.]

DH does most of the shopping and we’d figured out the kind of quilted paper we liked until suddenly it turned into icky tp that shed little tiny dusts of paper.  So after we finally ran out of the jumbo-pack (red package, quilted northern), DH, who had been on the receiving end of months of complaining nearly every time I used the restroom at home, decided to go ballistic and buy one of every “nice” toilet paper at the grocery store.

And, so I report back to you.

First off– the perfect tp is the one that #2 uses [it really is], and after visiting her last year I snuck into the cupboard where she keeps it and was sad to find out that it is a store brand local to her.  Boo.

Second–  Did you know that there are several different kinds of quilted northern? They are all soft, but some are terrible and some are great.

The toilet paper that won is Quilted Northern in the purple package.  The type:  ULTRA PLUSH.  This is soft, smooth, strong, and does not shed.  The perfect tp.

Do not confuse ultra plush with the Quilted Northern in the blue package, which is “Ultra soft & strong”  This tp is like a dandelion in terms of spreading fluff.  Not good.

Quilted Northern Super Soft is, as advertised, super soft.  If you are in pain or need a substitute kleenex, this is the one to go with.  Unfortunately, although it spreads less fluff than ultra soft and strong, it is still a shedder, and thus not as good as ultra plush.

Cottonelle ultra comfort care is another fluff spreader, though not as bad as Quilted Northern ultra soft and strong.

Charmin ultra gentle is also a fluff spreader, but without any redeeming qualities.

I also picked up some Trader Joe’s tp because it had the same pattern as #2’s paper and I was hoping it was the same product just different names, but no.  This is definitely usable TP, unlike Angelsoft, but still not as good as Quilted Northern Ultra Plush.

Cottonnelle wavy clean ripple is surprisingly thin.  It rips easily and also sheds.  It isn’t harsh at all, but it’s still not recommended.

7th generation is a step down from Trader Joe’s and, while a step up from Angelsoft, is really not all that pleasant.  Would not purchase again unless Angelsoft and worse were the only alternatives.  One roll does seem to last an awfully long time though.  This is probably a good guest bathroom choice.

Angelsoft is a lie.  It is UNACCEPTABLE.  Harsh and barely softer than what is available in most public restrooms.  This is conference hotel quality tp.  [Update:  I was at a Hilton for a conference recently, and I looked at the replacement tp roll, and indeed, it said, “Angel Soft” in large letters on the packaging.  So, go me?]

This post has been brought to you by our butts not appreciating frugality.  What toilet paper do you use?  How do you pick it out?

33 Responses to “The quest to find the perfect toilet paper”

  1. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I am the opposite & hate the plush soft quilted shittolio. My favorite is Scott single-ply 1000 sheets per roll.

  2. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    I used recycled paper tp from Who Gives A Crap. It’s fine I guess? I’ve never been particularly picky about these things. Mostly use for sustainability reasons.

    • Leah Says:

      I use this TP as well. I prefer Trader Joe’s toilet paper (a little more shredding resistant). Who gives a crap is comfortable but sometimes can tear/shred a bit. But I like WGAC for not having any plastic, since it ships in a cardboard box, and rolls are wrapped in paper.

      • Leah Says:

        I want to clarify that I said “shredding” and not shedding. No shedding issues! But sometimes, the paper will rip a little if I’m not careful when wiping #2. I don’t find it a big issue, particularly.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        shredding is a bit preferable to shedding, I think, so long as it isn’t too bad. Of the ones we tried, only the cottonelle ripple had a shredding problem, whereas many of them had shedding problems

    • Debbie M Says:

      I have often thought of getting this one, but haven’t yet.

      I used to not care. I did whatever roommates wanted: no color, no perfume, two-ply. My current roommate and I have settled on unbleached 7th-generation or, as my boyfriend calls it, “whole grain.” They aren’t quite as white as regular toilet paper, but neither are they brown like unbleached paper towels. This is fine with me.

      For painful moments, he also has Cottenelle moist towlettes, or as we like to call them, “poopie wipes.”

      We use cloth hankies for kleenex, though we do keep a box around for guests. My favorite hankies are flannel. Even though they are old flannel from worn-out pajamas.

  3. delagar Says:

    I’m with the Comradde — Scott single-ply 1000 FTW.

  4. becca Says:

    Ok, but IS there a frugality analysis of TP? Taking into account how long it lasts in real world applications. They deliberately price this stuff with different amounts per roll and different thicknesses and make it *impossible* to tell what is most cost effective.

  5. Linda Says:

    Another Scott 1000 purchaser here. I used to just buy random 2-ply store brands that were marketed as being soft. Shedding was annoying, but not enough to make me search out non-shedding paper.

    The reason I switched was because Scott was recommended by my plumber. I was having occurrences of toilet clogging every few months. I would plunge the toilet after these instances, but a couple times it happened very near a holiday weekend so I would call the plumber to have him snake the line just to be sure. After dealing with a badly clogged waste line in another house with only one bathroom over a holiday weekend, I know I don’t want to go through that experience ever again.

    The plumber recommended the Scott 1000 paper to me. He also recommended that I get a new toilet, which I finally did about three months ago. The new toilet is awesome, and I could probably switch to cushier paper again, but I’m OK with the Scott. As you say, it doesn’t shed and it’s smooth, which is acceptable to me.

  6. CG Says:

    Costco tp works for us. I used to be a Quilted Northern partisan, but Costco is a perfectly acceptable substitute, and it’s super cheap.

  7. chacha1 Says:

    I also hate soft quilted paper. I buy Scott. :-) It doesn’t shed, it’s not scratchy, and it’s kind to our dual-flush low-flow toilets.

  8. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Triple ply is still on my Someday When We’re Rich list so I appreciate this research!!

    “after visiting her last year I snuck into the cupboard where she keeps it and was sad to find out that it is a store brand local to her. Boo.”

    I feel like this is important enough to warrant going to #2’s and stocking up on a yearly supply if she has the Perfect TP.

    We currently just buy the Kirkland 2 ply – it does the job ok and isn’t thin and scratchy but it’s definitely non ideal. Somedaaaaaaayyyyyy.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I had already packed my carryon with pastries– there was no more room!

    • Leah Says:

      Do you go through enough TP that this is a budget item you pay attention to? I supposed I should look and see how much our TP costs, but it’s a minor issue. I know the Who Gives a Crap TP is more expensive, technically. But a case is $48, and that’s 48 rolls. It takes us pretty long to get through that. Maybe two cases a year? But perhaps that’s because we are out of the house on weekdays. The mental load from not having to go to the store to remember TP is enough to make this worthwhile for me. I just order a new case whenever we start to get low on our current box. They also have an auto-order version, but when we got the second box we were only halfway through our first, so I turned it off.

      It’s kind of like diapers — I think I pay a touch more because I order our diapers online instead of dealing with sales and stacking and stuff. But I rarely return a box for the wrong size, and I don’t often have to think about diapers or running to the store. Worth it.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Back in graduate school TP was a pretty big part of our budget so I would get the fancy stuff but I’d watch drugstore sales like a hawk and stock up when they hit less than 25 cents/roll (or 50 cents/double roll). But these days, not so much.

  10. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    Trader Joe’s 12-pack. It is cheap, acceptable quality, 100% recycled (80% post-consumer), and available at a store I shop at every 2 weeks anyway.

  11. Leigh Says:

    I appreciate all of your very scientific research on toilet paper. Which one did you end up picking? We have tried SO many toothbrushes and we finally found the ones that the dentist gives us (which I like), so now they’re on subscribe and save and I hopefully never have to hunt for toothbrushes again.

    We buy the Charmin Ultra Soft. It has totally started fluffing a little bit, but it’s not that noticeable. It is 2-ply and delightful! We buy it in bulk from Costco every few months. I don’t care about buying toilet paper from a store I go to regularly since I don’t do my regular grocery shopping with a car and I hate walking home with toilet paper to the point that I simply don’t do it.

    • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

      Carrying TP in a backpack or string bag is a nuisance because of the bulk—that is why I buy it, rather than my wife, as I can strap the 12-pack to my bike rack above the panniers. I buy most of the heavier stuff like soy milk, beer, wine, juice, … for the same reason—easier to carry up hill on the bike than on foot.

      • Leigh Says:

        Ah yes my husband does most of the grocery shopping with his awesome saddle bags! The grocery store baggers love them since they’re nice and square and flat.

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        @Leigh, around here, the year-round utility bicyclists mostly use Ortlieb roll-top panniers. They are roomy, waterproof, and very durable. (I use ones that are about 18 years old, used daily, and I have older ones that are still usable, but not as visible a color.) I can get 6 2-quart boxes of soy milk in one pannier, if I load them myself (I’ve yet to meet a grocery checker who can load panniers properly, with the heavy stuff tightly packed at the bottom and the squishable stuff on top).

        Where I shop, most people pack their own bags, and I always find it strange when someone stands around waiting for someone else to do it for them. I think it has to do with the high cost of labor locally—grocery stores don’t have enough markup to hire baggers. (One independent, old-fashioned grocery store still hires separate checkers and baggers, but I rarely shop there, despite their having the best wine buyer in town.)

  12. rs Says:

    Once I started using Bidet about 5 years ago, I don’t care about toilet papers anymore. My problem is when I travel and hotels don’t have Bidet, and I feel I am not clean at all. Here is a cheap improvement in your bathroom, that is so much better for the bottom and for the environment (less toilet paper needed):

  13. bookishbiker Says:

    Have you seen this article that just came out? Our love of lovely TP is a big problem. :(((( This article has grades: and I will be making an informed switch. Sad though.

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