Toilet Paper Dimensions – Has Toilet Paper Shrunk?

It feels the older we get, the faster we go through our toilet paper. Is it shrinking, or are we collectively getting digestive issues and needing more each visit to the restroom?

It seems like the industry is relatively standardized. After all, we don’t buy 1 ply or 2 ply toilet paper roll holders; they all fit.

So, what are the dimensions of toilet paper? 

How Long is a Roll of Toilet Paper?

A roll of toilet paper varies in length depending on the brand and type of toilet paper. A roll of Charmin Mega Ultra Soft is 96.79 feet long, whereas a Cottonelle 1 Ply Double Roll is 63.33 feet long.

How Wide is Toilet Paper?

The width of toilet paper varies by brand and type of toilet paper but is an average of 3.82 x 4 inches.

Toilet Paper Brands’ Sizes

With “shrinkflation” hitting the toilet paper market so hard for years, I wanted to know where various brands and their products measured up.

Charmin Toilet Paper Sizes

Charmin, with their cuddly bear, has several products out on the market, many claiming to have wider sheets. 

Charmin Mega Ultra Soft Size

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

Charmin’s 18 MEGA pack has 284 sheets per roll.

Sheet Dimensions:

Their square size is listed as 9.9 X 10.1 cm, so about 3.89 X 4.09 inches.

Length of Entire Roll:

Total paper length of 96.79 feet. 

Charmin’s 30 Jumbo Rolls

Charmin’s 30 Jumbo Rolls are advertised to have wider sheets.

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

221 sheets per roll.

Sheet Dimensions:

11.4 X 10.6 cm per square.

Length of Entire Roll:

Total length of 76.79 feet. 

Charmin’s Super Mega

Charmin’s Super Mega 6 pack advertises itself as being bigger and taller.

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

Each roll has 396 sheets

Sheet Dimensions:

10.8 x 9.4cm, which is 4.27 x 3.72 inches.

Length of Entire Roll:

Total length of 122.76 feet

Cottonelle Toilet Paper Sizes

Cottonelle has many toilet paper products on offer, including 1 ply. I looked at three to see the number of sheets and their dimensions. 

Cottonelle 1-Ply Double Rolls

Cottonelle 1-Ply Double Rolls are in a 12-pack.

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

Each roll has 190 sheets

Sheet Dimensions:

9.7 x 10.2 cm or 3.82 x 4 inches

Length of Entire Roll:

Total length of 63.33 feet

Cottonelle 2-ply Big Rolls

Cottonelle 2-ply Big Rolls are a 12-pack of 2-ply Ultra ComfortCare.

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

Each roll has 121 sheets

Sheet Dimensions:

9.7 x 10.2cm, which is 3.82 x 4 inches.

Length of Entire Roll:

Total length of 40.33 feet

Cottonelle 2-ply Mega Rolls

Cottonelle 2-ply Mega Rolls are an 18-pack.

Number of Sheets Per Roll:

Each roll has 325 sheets

Sheet Dimensions:

9.7 x 10.2cm, which is 3.82 x 4 inches.

Length of Entire Roll:

Total length of 108.33 feet

Has Toilet Paper Shrunk?

Yes, toilet paper has shrunk over the years.

Toilet roll sheets used to be a pretty standardized 4.5 X 4.5 inches (11.43 X 11.43 cm).

The cardboard tube was also fairly set, 4.5 inches long (11.43) and 2 inches in diameter (5cm). However, in 2015 people noticed that the sheet size was shrinking and carboard tube was expanding.

In 2020 there was a mass toilet paper panic.

People found themselves buying brands they’d never usually buy because it was toilet paper, and that’s all that mattered.

But as folks introduced their more delicate bits to new varieties, they began noticing there were differences beyond softness and texture, but also the size of the square. 

toilet paper and pink flowers on blue background

Why Toilet Paper Shrank 

The United States loves toilet paper and takes it incredibly seriously.

US residents were reported to use at least 55 pounds per person (25 kg).

This is vastly higher than the rest of the world’s average of 11 pounds per person (5 kg).

Nor was the 2020 paper toilet crisis far from the first time the US reacted to stress by buying rolls of toilet paper.

This obsession is partly why the toilet paper rolls are no longer being sold at a standard size but now are frequently sold with smaller and fewer sheets, with an expansive girth of the cardboard tube.

Because Americans might be willing to cut back on other items, but they will keep buying toilet paper, no matter what, even in a pandemic.

Because Americans have embraced technology, including sending “paper-free” bills, they don’t use as much paper these days.

Also, people are going “green,” say using a handkerchief instead of disposable tissue, paper products across the board are being bought less. Meanwhile, much of the world has reduced paper use too. 

So, manufacturers of paper products wondered how they could increase the profit of the one paper item the US will not be parted from – toilet paper.

The answer wasn’t particularly new – shrink it. 

Toilet Paper Marketing: Part I “Pink It And Shrink It”

“Pink it and shrink it” has long been a marketing technique aimed at women.

Take the same product everyone uses, slap some pink on it, shrink it, and then charge women a higher price.

Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it caused hilarity, as was the case with Bic Pens For Her, where women went on Amazon and left reviews worthy of applause. 

The trend is now fading, as various social pressures have called the practice into question.

But that doesn’t mean a version of it isn’t still used on the rest of the population.

In these instances, the phenomenon is referred to as “shrinkflation.” 

Toilet Paper Marketing: Part II “Shrinkflation“

Consumers notice the change in the sticker price.

However, they don’t always notice if the item they’ve bought has shrunk.

This allows manufacturers to keep the price the same but sell consumers less, thereby increasing profit. The trick is often called “shrinkflation.”

Sometimes, the packaging hasn’t even shrunk, just the contents.

For example, the cereal box might be the same size but have 8% less cereal in it.

Or in the case of America’s favorite paper product, it can be the number of sheets that have decreased and the size of the squares. But the cardboard tube has stayed the same or increased. 

Final Thoughts

Toilet paper dimensions are changing and no longer follow a standard size regarding the sheets per roll or the dimensions of the squares.

Even in the same brand, the dimensions may fluctuate. But not a single roll I looked at made the 4.5 X 4.5 inch standard of the past. So, it does seem that America’s favorite paper has shrunk.  

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