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Toilet Roll Middles
Are the cardboard centres of toilet rolls bigger than they used to be, and if so, Why?

In the middle of a roll of toilet paper / bathroom tissue, there is a cardboard cylinder which gives the roll some strength and allows it to be fitted comfortably on a toilet roll holder. There is traditionally plenty of room between the diameter of a toilet roll holder and the larger diameter of a toilet roll centre, so is there any good reason for cardboard toilet roll middles to have got bigger?!

Most people buy toilet paper for the purpose for which it is intended, and the soft tissue is designed for that use. The fact that you get a free cardboard tube is a mere bonus, and any applications it might have are secondary to the main reason for buying the toilet roll in the first place.

Therefore, the tendency to have toilet rolls whose middles are larger, meaning that you get less toilet paper and more middle, could reasonably be argued not to be in favour of the customer. Many people who buy toilet rolls, and whose imagination and time is more limited than the viewers of Blue Peter, might be at a loss as to what to do with the enlarged toilet roll middle, whereas the extra paper which it has replaces might in some situations be much more welcome.


From the toilet roll manufacturer's perspective, surely the heavy-duty larger cardboard middle must cost more, and yet it adds very little value to the actual product, and may make the packaging of the paper less efficient.

So, the mystery is: Why are toilet roll middles bigger than they used to be? Or, is it some illusion? Maybe it varies from one brand of paper to another?

I can't help having this heretical cynical thought that just perhaps, some clever marketing person has suggested "Let's make the toilet roll middle bigger! Customers won't notice, and we'll be able to make the roll look bigger while actually having less toilet paper on it!", and then some other clever marketing person at the meeting (because they're always at meetings, these clever marketing people, you know) has said "Of course! Brilliant! We'll sell more toilet rolls which look like they've got more paper on them, when really, they haven't!" and then someone from the engineering department says "We'll save 9ft of paper per roll, and that will easily cover the cost of the extra structural strength required for the bigger middle" and finally someone summarises the situation saying "Most of our customers won't notice the size of the middle. In fact most of our customers don't know their arse from their elbow, in fact, why don't we call it Elbow Wiping Paper and see if that sells?". This last suggestion is mercifully declined, but the idea about the larger middles is accepted as "an improvement", and someone wins an award for their contribution to society, industry, and marketing.


Now let's think about this: Are people really that daft?! Surely those big toilet roll middles stand out as noticeably larger, and it starts to ring alarm bells similar to the ninety-nine pence , and far from saving costs it actually wastes money on a heavier cardboard middle at the expense of the actual product, the soft paper.

Well if toilet paper was being sold on price comparison sites, the marketing ploy might work. If the toilet rolls were rated by outside diameter only, ignoring the inside diameter, people really would think they were getting better value for money, when in fact they weren't.

Really though, people aren't so soft, unlike the paper.

Plus, as people buy a lot of toilet paper on an ongoing basis, it would surely make more sense for the toilet paper manufacturing companies to generate good PR by seeming to be more generous, rather than less? It's true; you probably eat a different meal every day, and you most likely watch different television programmes each night, and yet when you go to the toilet you're probably using the same make of toilet paper from one month to the next. Such loyalty should be rewarded, don't you think?


If you wanted to do an objective experimental test between different types of toilet paper, you could find out which last longer by buying a batch of each and seeing how long it lasts under normal use, and then consider that alongside the price. By comparing different makes that way, there would be results. In effect it would be: [this brand] costs [this much] per month, whereas [that brand] costs [that much] per month, etc.

However, in terms of comparing the quality of different types of toilet paper, it is very much a personal choice, and quite subjective. It can't be measured by an objective test. No-one can really tell you which is best, and you have to try them yourself and make a subjective choice.

Also see How to avoid running out of Toilet Paper

Also see 99 pence , toilet radio , price comparison , Bathrooms , and Skimped under-weight products on sale

You may have a closer appreciation of the issue of toilet roll middles if you keep Gerbils, as the increased size of toilet roll middles tends to imply an increase in the calibre of gerbils! Can you smell an increased calibre gerbil?