In a world full of conveniences toilet paper is one of many that we take for granted and pay no mind too. What would we do if we went to the restroom and there was no toilet paper?
Panic mode, right ladies?
When in the comforts of our home, a cry for help isn’t that hard to manage. But in a public restroom… You are plum out of luck.
So who cares about toilet paper? I had never thought about it. It is a bathroom topic right?? It doesn’t need to be discussed. As long as I don’t get stranded in the bathroom, don’t need to blow my nose, or have to go buy more, ect, it isn’t mentioned.
Thanks to good ol’ Facebook my interest was piqued when I saw a post by The Polivka Family about switching to cloth toilet paper.
Say WHAT?? Weird right?
Well what the heck is wrong with my choice of personal hygiene for going to the restroom? I started to research and figure out why in the world anyone would want to switch. I figured I would start in the beginning.
Where did toilet paper come from? Who invented it? What was used before our modern times?
No one is actually certain “who used the first toilet paper and why it was used.” People (of course) have always had to go to the bathroom and they had different approaches for the hygiene scene. “For example, the rich Romans used sponges or stones…stuck on a stick in public toilets… the sponges on the stick were kept dipped in salt water between uses in order to disinfect.”
Not too surprisingly China had the “first official toilet paper… introduced in the year 1391.” But, the first packaged paper roll in the U.S.A. was done by the man named Joseph C Gayetty. The man who was actually credited for the invention of today’s rolled and perforated toilet paper was Seth Wheeler. (Human Touch of Chemistry)
There is a history lesson for you, that isn’t taught every day in school. So, some guy finally figured out how to put paper on a roll, sell it for a profit and our benefit. That isn’t too convincing to go from toilet paper to cloth toilet paper.
Have they just decided to reject our modern society, and revert to ancient times? Or are they just crazy??
Well, to move on in my search for the answer to the insanity, was to investigate how toilet paper was made.
How is it made??
Toilet paper is generally made from new or “virgin” paper, using a combination of softwood and hardwood trees. Softwood trees such as Southern pines and Douglas firs have long fibers that wrap around each other; this gives paper strength. Hardwood trees like gum, maple and oak have shorter fibers that make a softer paper. Toilet paper is generally a combination of approximately 70% hardwood and 30% softwood.
Other materials used in manufacture include water, chemicals for breaking down the trees into usable fiber, and bleaches. Companies that make paper from recycled products use oxygen, ozone, sodium hydroxide, or peroxide to whiten the paper. Virgin-paper manufacturers, however, often use chlorine-based bleaches (chlorine dioxide), which have been identified as a threat to the environment.
“The toilet paper making process starts by creating the paper, usually from recycled materials. The recyclable paper products are dumped into a large bin, chopped up and heated with warm water to create a pulp. Ink is removed by injecting air bubbles into the water, which rise to the top carrying any color and are skimmed off the top. A bleach is then added to the pulp to make it white. The pulp is then squeezed through a pair of rollers to remove all moisture and laid on a large, flat surface to dry. The surface is 65 inches wide, which is the same length of the giant rolls of toilet paper that will be created.
The giant, thin sheet of paper is fed onto a roller, but not before the paper is stamped with the little embossing found on some toilet paper rolls. The embossing adds strength as well as aesthetics. Two of the large rolls of paper meet up and transfer the paper into another roller that is outfitted with a long, cardboard tube to create a roll of two-ply paper. The paper is cut when the roll meets the standard thickness and then glued at the ends by a mechanical arm to prevent unraveling.
Once the 65-inch long rolls of two-ply paper are glued and ready, they are fed into a chamber and cut by a circular saw. The 65-inch roll is cut down into 4-inch rolls and then fed to another unit for packaging. Commercial toilet paper and those slated for individual sales will be individually wrapped in paper, while others are stacked and wrapped in clear plastic that contain anywhere from 4 to 30 rolls”.
Read more from Ehow.
For something that we don’t think about very often it sure goes through quite the process to come into our homes.
Now the question is still, should it be in our homes? Let alone be touching our sensitive areas?
For me there were some concerning words; bleach and chemicals. I guess I was that naïve to think that toilet paper was always white and I didn’t even think about bleach, but um, duh. And what chemicals am I allowing into my home without my knowledge?
- Both DDT and dioxin are toxic in small quantities.
- Neither of them degrades in the environment — they both exist indefinitely once released.
- Both dissolve and accumulate in fat.
- The manufacture of certain herbicides
- The manufacture of bleached paper
- The burning of PVC plastics
So how did it wind up in toilet paper?
And even if you decided to give up recycled toilet paper at home, you’d still have to tote around your own roll on the go: The average recycled content in the commercial toilet paper used in public restrooms is 60 percent.”
Umm… Please excuse me while I go shower for a thousand years. Shudder.
I believe there are more sides to the story that could be researched and written about. Environmental impact, whether it would be cost efficient, and if it is worth the time/weirdness. But my husband say’s to stop and save that for another day.
I will end it with just saying, I have changed from using paper toilet paper to cloth toilet paper. I call them cloth wipes(wipes for short, I know original.). And I am excited to share my experience with you. Watch for my next post on how I made them, how I wash them, and what I think of the whole weird experience.