Is Expensive Toilet Paper Worth It?
 
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Is Expensive Toilet Paper Worth It?

Kenneth Fong
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At some point in life, you’re going to find yourself in a supermarket staring at what seems like hundreds of different toilet paper.

Toilet Paper In Supermarket Aisle
Pictured above: Bathroom Tissue (This term is legit, don’t believe us? Google it.)

So which one should you get?

Should you stick with the one that your family has been using all this time? Or should you spring for the expensive ones? And does expensive equate to quality?

Hmmm… Decisions. Decisions.

If you’ve ever wondered if your household spending should include a budget for atas toilet paper, read on to find out…

TL;DR: Is Expensive Toilet Paper Worth It?

Toilet Roll

  1. Cheaper toilet paper may not necessarily be bad BUT the lower cost means you can use more squares
  2. Expensive toilet paper may not guarantee a better clean, and you’ll still use more anyway just to get a good clean
  3. Start with a 2-ply toilet paper that’s within your means and experiment to find the right balance of price and comfort
  4. Don’t let your spouse or partner buy toilet paper alone, especially if they can’t be trusted with the weekly household expense budget

When Expensive Toilet Paper And I First Met

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine visited my place for housewarming and he gifted us this:

FeatherSoft Toilet Paper On The Floor
Photo: We thought it was a joke at first

Yes. I sh*t you not (pun totally intended).

That’s a 10 roll pack of FeatherSoft Ultra Premium 3D Embossed 3-Ply Bathroom Tissue, aka the “Prettiest Bathroom Tissue” money can buy.

And it’s probably the best housewarming gift I’ve ever received because it’s:

  1. Thoughtful
  2. Functional
  3. Pretty, and perhaps most importantly…

My first brush with expensive toilet paper.

For context, my family’s been using this since the beginning of time:

Giant 2 Ply Toilet Paper
Source: Giant Hypermarket

So I’ve only ever known Giant Hypermarket’s 2-Ply Toilet Paper until I moved in with my wife and she insisted that we switch to what her family has been using because mine is “all kinds of fail”.

Her family wasn’t using the premium stuff, but it’s definitely way better quality than the generic house brand TP I was using.

How Do I Compare Toilet Paper Prices?

It’s the Wild West when it comes to how thick a toilet roll should be or how large a sheet of toilet paper is.

Case in point: a brand’s “Jumbo” sized roll might be as thick as another brand’s “Standard”. While “Extra” might not necessarily mean that you’re getting an extra large toilet paper square.

So if you wish to compare prices, do what I do and look at:

  • The number of ply (layers of thickness; the higher the ply, the thicker the toilet paper)
  • The number of sheets per roll

It’s also helpful to keep in mind that you’ll probably use fewer sheets of 3-ply toilet paper as compared to 1-ply because of the former’s superior cleaning and absorbency.

That’s common sense, right?

Thicker toilet paper means a stronger barrier between your hand and erm… You know what.

Cat Yelling Because Of Toilet Paper
Source: me.me

How Much Does Toilet Paper Cost?

Because my family’s bathroom tissue is from Giant Hypermarket – a supermarket which commoners like myself shop at, besides NTUC Fairprice that is. I decided to take a random sampling of 2-ply and 3-ply options available at the supermarket to do a comparison.

How did I decide which ones to pick?

Well… I just stood there for 5 minutes and pretended to be figuring out which paper product to get, while I watched what other people grabbed.

Awkward Monkey Puppet
Source: knowyourmeme.com

Note: highly NOT recommended if you don’t wish to come across as some kind of weirdo.

And just for the heck of it, I popped by Market Place by Jason’s and Cold Storage to pick out the most expensive 2-ply and a 3-ply option that they stocked.

 TierPlyRolls In A PackSheets/Squares Per RollPrice Per PackPrice Per Sheet/SquareFrom?
Cottonelle Ultra Clean CareExpensive312142$56.90$0.0334Market Place By Jason's
Charmin Ultra Soft Double RollExpensive212142$11.10$0.0065Cold Storage
FeatherSoft Ultra Premium 3D EmbossedMiddle310150$5.95$0.0039Giant Hypermarket
Kleenex Ultra Soft CottonyMiddle310200$7.40$0.0037Giant Hypermarket
Beautex PremiumNormal212350$6.70$0.0016Giant Hypermarket
Giant Hypermarket's HousebrandNormal210140$4.95 (3 Pack)$0.0012Giant Hypermarket

Oh yeah, that’s not an error. Cottonelle costs $56.90 for 12 rolls.

Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Toilet Paper
Source: Cottonelle

Somehow those “cleaning ripples” give you a “soft, strong, and effective” clean. But at a damn siao price, please.

In fact, it’s eight times more expensive than the FeatherSoft Ultra Premium 3D Embossed toilet paper which my friend gifted me.

In case you’re wondering why I skipped 1-ply toilet paper…

Let’s just say that I’ve had a bad experience with them (refer to the above picture of the cat to get an idea why).

Which Toilet Paper Is The Most Value For Money?

Warning: This section might seem a little TMI, but it’s all for the sake of making an informed choice right?

2-Ply Toilet Paper For Number Two

If you’re using 2-ply toilet paper, let’s assume that you need at least three squares, folded in half, in order to get an effective wipe each time.

And if a typical number two situation requires a minimum of 8 wipes to be satisfactorily clean. That means you need: 8 × 3 squares = 24 squares in total.

3-Ply Toilet Paper (aka Expensive Toilet Paper) For Number Two

To simplify things, we’re going to assume that expensive toilet paper is at least 3-ply thickness and higher.

If you’re using 3-ply toilet paper, you’ll probably need lesser squares for each wipe.

Let’s say you need two squares, folded in half, to get the same effective wipe. For 8 wipes after going number two: 8 × 2 squares = 16 squares in total.

What’s The Difference In Cost?

 TierPlyPrice Per Sheet/SquareSheet/Square(s) Needed After Going No. 2Total Cost After Going No. 2
Cottonelle Ultra Clean CareExpensive3$0.033416$0.5344
Charmin Ultra Soft Double RollExpensive2$0.006524$0.156
FeatherSoft Ultra Premium 3D EmbossedMiddle3$0.003916$0.0624
Kleenex Ultra Soft CottonyMiddle3$0.003716$0.0592
Beautex PremiumNormal2$0.001624$0.0384
Giant Hypermarket's house brandNormal2$0.001224$0.0288

Folks, I regret to inform that using mid-range or expensive options like FeatherSoft Ultra Premium 3D Embossed costs about three times as much as Giant Hypermarket’s house brand bathroom tissues for a simple Number 2 situation. This is despite you supposedly using lesser squares if you went with the more expensive/ thicker ply option.

You could even use twice the amount of Giant Hypermarket’s Housebrand toilet paper, which works out to be 48 squares or 16 wipes (total cost: $0.0576), for a particularly heavy Number 2 situation and it’ll still be cheaper than if you stuck to the 16 squares or 8 wipes with more expensive toilet paper.

And let’s be honest. You’re not going to stop at the minimum 16 squares if you need more to get a good clean.

Great… Now What?

After doing this comparison, I concluded a couple of things:

  1. Better quality toilet paper is usually 3-ply and above (P.S. there’s a 4-ply FeatherSoft option) and it comes at a price
  2. Cheaper toilet paper may not necessarily be better BUT the lower cost means you can use more squares to get the same clean, and similarly
  3. Expensive toilet paper may not guarantee a better clean either (“cleaning ripples” aside) and you’ll still use more anyway just to get a good clean

So… Is Expensive Toilet Paper Worth It?

We’ve established that we should stick to 2-ply as a minimum. And I’ll have to admit that expensive toilet paper like FeatherSoft really does feel better than a house brand TP.

Also, the price of expensive toilet paper isn’t going to restrict you from reaching out for more if you need more.

So instead of fussing over the cost of toilet paper. Maybe we can be more prudent with how we use toilet paper.

Habits

Whether you buy expensive toilet paper or not, it’s better on the pocket and for the environment if we use lesser toilet paper.

You can choose to fold your toilet paper for maximum absorbency and barrier-worthiness, instead of wadding and wasting all that precious real estate.

Folding vs Wadding

And while you’re at it, start with a reasonable amount of squares on your first wipe and tear more if you need to. This is as compared to pulling as hard as you can and tearing off half a roll for just one wipe.

Comfort

The world’s a hard place. And sometimes it’s the small luxuries in life that keep us sane.

Drown Me In Basic Comforts
Source: poorlydrawnlines

If using expensive (read: softer and better quality) toilet paper makes you feel better, then go for it.

With restraint, of course.

You don’t have to get Cottonelle. Just go for something mid-range like Kleenex Ultra Soft Cottony and your finances should be fine.

And if you’ve a tight rein on money, like I do, here’s how I would approach it:

  1. Start with a 2-ply option at a price you wouldn’t baulk at.
  2. See if you get a good clean and whether you like the feel of it against your skin.
  3. Head back to the supermarket if you don’t like it.
  4. Try a higher priced 2-ply option and repeat.
  5. Head back to the supermarket if you still don’t like it.
  6. Consider a 3-ply option at a price that’s reasonable.
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until satisfactory.

This same model can be utilised when you have to switch brands or when your spouse complains that “the cheap toilet paper you bought feels like sandpaper”.

Sneaky Wife Getting Expensive Toilet Paper
Source: imgflip

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About Kenneth Fong
Editor of Seedly's blog. Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

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