Dear Crabby, What’s the Correct Way to Hang Toilet Paper?

Dear Crabby, What’s the Correct Way to Hang Toilet Paper – Up and Over or Down and Under?

Sincerely, W.C. Flushing


Dear W.C.

For over 100 years people have been asking that question, at least those who could afford toilet paper and had modern flush toilets. But today, most people in the western world do, and I’m glad they do because that includes me. It can be a funny thing to talk about, as well as argue about, but really which way does the toilet paper roll go?

There are two types of people, those who hang the TP to dispense up and over and those who prefer it down and under. That argument is alive and well in America, including in the Crabby home. Fortunately, we have multiple bathrooms – some controlled by women (Mrs. Crabby) and those men are allowed to use. In “my” bathroom, the toilet paper goes down and under, as it should! But the lady folk prefer it the wrong way, up and over, in the other bathrooms.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

The physics are the same. The results are the same. But I hear, from those up and over people, that it’s easier to grab and tear. And, it hangs farther from the wall, and for some reason they feel that keeps the paper more sanitary. Now, if you go down and under (again, as it should be) it stores the paper closer to the wall and thus gives the room a cleaner, less crowded look – basically, it’s neater.

In addition, if you have pets, it’s harder to bat paws at and unroll. Pets and children get blamed for this all the time. But I find it’s the cats and dogs that really like to make a mess. Dogs just like making a mess and they love to stay at something until the thrill is gone – so dogs will unroll the whole thing in one take. Cats on the other hand, or paw, will unravel purely to prove they know how to annoy you and then they blame the dog whenever possible.

However, with more research, I’ve discovered I could be – dare I say it – doing it wrong. Hotels always go up and over. Many hotel staff will even add a fold to the paper made into a point as if to say “start here.” Trust me, I know where to start, as well as end, when it comes to TP. Also, I dug up the original patent on the Toilet Paper Roll from December 22, 1891. The illustration of the invention clearly shows the up and over method. But, the patent is more about the lateral incisions for dividing the sheets better when tearing off what you need. Previously, these incisions were such that depending on how a user tears the sheets away it could result in the sheets not separating completing. The illustration may simply be shown the way it is to visually explain the incisions.

Finally, surveys on the matter suggest 74% of the country goes up and over … I’ve always been different and I say the inventor, hotels, and the majority are still wrong.

Down and Under Forever!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Very entertaining, well written.

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