The right way to hang toilet paper

There is no denying that the matter of how toilet paper should be hung is controversial. We're talking about the kind of controversy generated by the chicken-and-egg discussion or the white-gold/black-blue dress debate. Even Oprah Winfrey has weighed in on The Great Toilet Paper Debate, calling herself "an over girl." As proof to support Oprah's preference, her researchers produced a copy of the toilet paper patent showing that the original design had the paper hanging over, not under.

Couples and housemates may have long decided to agree to disagree over their preferences of how toilet paper should be hung, but homemaking experts are opting to take guidance from the hospitality industry to find out if there is a "right" way to hang a roll of toilet paper, and that way, experts say, is over. Sorry, Team Under!

Here's why you should drape your toilet paper over

But why put so much weight on what hotels do? Good Housekeeping's home design director Sarah Richardson says because "hotels can't be wrong — they replace toilet paper more than anyone. Plus, if you place [the paper] under, you can't do the fancy fold at the end of the paper." 

Michelle Exhume, a Cleaning and Home Products Lab analyst at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute is also Team Over; she doesn't like the idea of having the paper sitting close to the bathroom wall because it risks germ contamination. Exhume says she even changes the roll's direction if someone puts toilet paper in the other way. And her germ fear is justified. Researchers in 2011 identified as many as 19 types of bacteria in public restrooms. The microbial communities were prevalent in three areas: on surfaces associated with toilets, those on the floor of restrooms, and surfaces normally touched with hands. 

These are all great endorsements for Team Over, though it's still likely people will continue to hang toilet paper in the direction they are most accustomed to having it.