Julies Blog

How many sheets of toilet paper is enough?

by Julie Finch-Scally

In these days when wastage is frowned upon, I am amazed at the number of public toilets that use the continuous rolls of toilet paper.  It is not only difficult to judge the number of sheets you have unwound – that is if there is perforation, but it is also difficult tear off the paper.

In the days of single sheet dispensers it was easy to work out how much paper.  Mind you quite often if the packaging was loose there would be a number of spare sheets on the floor around the toilet, but that was the only amount of wastage.

In the domestic situation wastage is caused because no one seems to know how much paper is enough.  As sheets of toilet tissues have become thicker there is no need for as many sheets as there was when they were thin. 

No one wants to get their hands wet or dirty when wiping themselves down so surely it is time for the toilet paper manufacturers to start indicating how many sheets are enough. 

Several years ago I heard a story of a politician’s wife who was assisting a poorer member of society by helping them budget their income.  On hearing they went through two rolls of toilet paper a day, she started asking each child how many sheets of paper they used.  The youngest, about 6, showed her how much he pulled off the roll and how he scrunched it into a ball.  The politicians wife then told the family that 5 sheets of paper was all that was needed per wipe, and if each sheet was folded one on top of each other it would be thick enough to do the job.  The toilet roll bill went down in that household.

So it would seem five sheets of toilet paper is sufficient.  But does the new thickness of the paper make any difference?  Yes it does, and because the paper is more absorbent we can now gain the same results with four sheets. 

There is another factor that is important.  Depending on where you live in the world dictates the length of each sheet of paper.  The Australian toilet paper sheets are practically square whereas in Europe and America the sheets are more oblong.  This means with oblong sheets of toilet paper, taking three sheets of paper and folding in half and in half again, still gives you a four sheet thickness but a squarer shape of paper. 

So depending on the thickness and the length of each sheet, we should all be aiming for a four sheet thickness with our toilet paper usage. 

And my idea for the toilet paper manufacturers writing the number of sheets to use? Why not add the words to the stencil that prints the patterns into the paper.  That way everyone would know how much to use and wastage would be a thing of the past. 



To pre-rinse or not pre-rinse

by Julie Finch-Scally

Each night when we have finished our evening meal hubby takes the plates out and rinses them along with the cutlery in hot water. 

I have read articles that say pre-rinsing is a waste of time, especially if the items are to be placed in a dish washer.  The flow of water in the dish washer is so strong that nothing is left on the plates anyway.

I am not sure I agree with this concept.  Yes the flow of water in a dish washer is strong, but quite often dishes sit in the washer for hours, or a day, until the washer is filled; this means the leftover food on the plate becomes hard and in the long run more difficult to remove.  The other reason I am not happy with this concept is the debris stuck to the plate is flushed around inside the washer flowing over other items in the machine and eventually ending up at the bottom in the filter.  No matter how hot the water and how strong the detergent I find this a little unhygienic. 

If the dishes are pre-rinsed this is not a problem. The dish washer scalds the articles during the wash so one can be assured everything will come out hygienically clean.

The same argument can be used if the dishes are washed in a sink.  By not rinsing the plates prior to washing all the debris floats around in the washing up water and passes over everything else.  Once again. Not very hygienic.  As washing up water is never as hot as the water in a dishwasher those bits of debris sitting in the sink are more likely to cause harm.

Now there is some argument for scraping the food scraps off the plates prior to placing the dishes in the dishwasher, and many people do that.  But this still doesn’t remove the gravies and sauces with minute bits of food from the plate.  And although the debris being flushed through the machine is not as messy as when dishes are just placed in the machine racks, I still cannot see this is any less unhygienic. 

I like the idea of plates being scalded by the hot water in a dish washer.  I also feel more comfortable with the suds and hot water of the washing up solution in the sink removing any bacteria left on the plate once those items have been rinsed prior to washing.

Yes I’ve heard the argument that dishes do not need to be pre-rinsed before being washed in a dish washer or washing in a sink, but I am afraid I do not agree with it.  I am all for pre-rinsing in hot water.  Then I feel comfortable with the results.   


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