Toilet Paper Roll Dimensions: Everything You Need To Know


It seems like the toilet paper roll often finishes up much sooner than expected. Looking for the best value without sacrificing comfort can lead to quite the hunt at the grocery store.

Toilet paper comes with varying diameters, lengths, and widths of the cardboard tube and paper sheets. This is largely due to manufacturing practices and styles of toilet paper. In general, the toilet paper roll dimensions vary from 3.7 x 4 to 4.1 x 5 inches.

If you want to get the most toilet paper for your money, knowing about dimensions can help you find the best deal.

Dimensions Explained

In the past, toilet paper rolls were standard at 4.5 by 4.5 inches in width and length. Today, the rolls have different dimensions. 

Although they may appear to be the same size when resting on the holder in the bathroom, manufacturing companies have altered the cardboard tube diameter to be wider and give you less paper for similar pricing. 

Let’s take a closer look at how toilet paper rolls vary in size:

PartLengthDiameter
Cardboard tube3.7-4.1 inchesApproximately 1.6 inches (inner)
Toilet paper sheetsMatches length of cardboard tube4 to 5 inches (outer) when full; affected by ply and number of sheets

Cardboard Tube Length

The cardboard tube in the center of the toilet paper roll can vary in length from 3.7 to 4.1 inches.

Toilet paper sheets are the same width as the length of a toilet paper tube, ranging from 3.7 to 4.1 inches wide. 

Roll Diameter

Diameter represents the distance measured in a straight line across the middle of the circle. 

This measurement is the interior of the cardboard tube or outer layers of the toilet paper roll.

The inner tube diameter is generally 1.6 inches. This size allows for the tube to sit on the toilet paper roll holder and rotate as the paper is pulled off. However, some manufacturers use tubes with a larger diameter, giving consumer less product.

The outer diameter of a brand new roll of toilet paper will vary depending upon the brand and thickness of individual sheets. 

Ply

Sheets can be single-, double-, or triple-ply, with the thicker generally more comfortable for use. 

Generally, you will need to use more toilet paper sheets for hygiene when it is single-ply, or one layer thick. 

Triple-ply, or three layers, can still use a considerable amount if you need to gather enough for hygienic purposes while also keeping your hands clean. However, using too much triple-ply paper could clog your toilet. 

Many opt for the comfort of two-ply (two-layer) toilet paper, and reserve single-ply for toilets with clogging issues, septic tanks, or camping toilets. This is because single-ply toilet paper breaks down faster than multiple-ply sheets.

Some brands may offer more paper sheets overall, which will increase the roll diameter. Full rolls can be from 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

Sheets

The label on toilet paper roll packaging will inform you of how many sheets a roll has. The same brand then should have the same diameter if the layers are constructed of the same material.

Single-ply is approximately one thousand sheets per roll, and double-ply is around five hundred sheets. Mega sheet options may have more than these, but may not fit inside wall toilet paper dispensers.

For comfort purposes, you will likely use fewer sheets of double- or triple-ply than single-ply.  

Multiple-ply sheets may also come labeled as plush, quilted, premium, and so on. This may slightly affect the thickness of each sheet, also changing the overall outer diameter.

However, as mentioned, you still need enough to cover your hand for hygienic purposes. If you use less due to thicker-ply it is possible to use the rolls up in the same amount of time. 

Again, this would be true only if you paid attention to how many sheets you use each time and used the same brand.

Individual sheets can vary in how long they are at the tear-off point. Generally, they are square, but this could vary depending on manufacturing.

Length Of Roll Unrolled

If you want to find the length of a full roll, you need to do a little math. 

  • Measure the length of one sheet. 
  • Then to find the total length, multiply the length by the number of sheets. 
    • If the sheet is 4 inches long, then on a 500 sheet roll, it would be 2,000 inches (167 feet), long unrolled.

Factors That Affect Toilet Paper Longevity

If you feel like you are replacing the toilet paper roll too often, this is likely due to the following factors.

Individual Usage

In general, women and young children use more toilet paper than men. 

Women have more areas to clean, and children tend to grab more than necessary while they learn toiletry habits. 

According to Environment America, Americans use approximately 28 pounds of toilet paper per year. The more people that live in the home, the more toilet paper that will be used. 

People tend to use ten to twenty single-ply (or five double-ply) sheets each time they visit the bathroom. Buying rolls with smaller sheets may result in using more sheets at once. 

On average, one adult uses about 57 sheets of toilet paper per day, which means a 1,000-sheet roll would last about 17 days. However, most households have several members and a roll rarely lasts more than a week.

Toilet Paper Folding Techniques

People gather the toilet paper in different ways. These could be scrunching it into a ball, wrapping it around the hand, or making a layered pile of sheets. 

Each of these folding techniques will affect how many sheets are being used.

Other Factors

  • If there are only one or two sheets left on the roll, some just discard them without use.
  • Some people may grab toilet tissue to blow their noses after a hot shower, dab at makeup, or as needed instead of facial tissue.
  • Toilet tissue may be used to clean urine stains around the toilet base or on the seat.

Tips To Make The Toilet Paper Roll Last Longer

Determining your toilet paper needs and budget may take some time. Brands and styles will vary greatly. 

Most toilet paper packaging will list the number of sheets, but not the actual dimensions. You may be able to bring a ruler with you to the store to measure the diameters through the clear packaging. 

However, you may have to try out several different ones at home to calculate and find the one that works best for your family.

The user generally is going to use toilet paper in amounts related to comfort, thickness, and sheet length for optimal performance for sanitary needs. 

However, you can try some of the following strategies to use less with each visit to the bathroom:

Flatten The Roll

Squish the roll to slightly flatten the inner tube. This will keep the roll from unrolling too quickly, offering more than you might need. 

This is especially helpful for children who may not reroll extra back onto the tube. 

You can also install a toilet paper dispenser that limits the number of sheets that come with a turn.

Opt For Multiple-Ply Sheets

Using 2 or more ply will allow for more absorption overall. This may encourage you to use less paper. 

However, this could be because toilet paper with more than one-ply sheets offers fewer overall sheets. This may result in the roll being used up in the same amount of time. 

If possible, purchase rolls with sheets that offer longer individual lengths.

Scrunching Vs. Folding

Folding the toilet paper in a pile, instead of scrunching it up, generally uses fewer sheets. However, experiment and see which technique uses less for each person in the family.

One Roll At A Time

Only put one roll of toilet paper out at a time, and hide the rest in a closet. 

When people see that there is only one roll, they are likely to subconsciously use less. This creates the fear that they will not have enough for cleaning purposes.

Usage

Use toilet paper only when using the toilet. 

Reserve nose-blowing, cleaning, and more for facial tissue or paper towels.

Alternatives To Toilet Paper

Opt for some alternatives if toilet paper is taking up too much of the budget, you run out, or there is a shortage.

Install A Bidet

A bidet offers clean water to rinse off while sitting on the toilet. It uses water directly from the clean waterline, and it can easily be installed. 

Most kits come with everything you need and clear instructions. Most importantly, you must make sure all connection points are tight so you do not have any water drips on the floor.

Use Other Non-Flushable Materials

You could use cloth scraps, sponges, tissues, baby wipes, or paper towels. However, none of these should be flushed down the toilet because they will clog your pipes. 

These options will create more waste but could be used if you run out of toilet paper. 

The soiled fabric should not be washed with your daily clothing. If you wish to reuse the fabric scraps, first rinse them in cold water in your washing machine. Then run it on the hottest wash cycle with detergent. Rinse again with warm water. Then dry on the hottest setting in your dryer.

Lisa Burlison

Lisa is a freelance blogger, literacy specialist, teacher, and self-published author with a vast DIY experience. When she’s not writing for PlumbJoe, Lisa enjoys testing homemade cleaners and doing repairs around her home. Her other hobbies include birding and bicycling.

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