How Badass Is Your Butt-Wipe? Consumer Reports Tests Toilet Paper

The “Wet Strike” test, seen in this video, is one of the ways Consumer Reports tests toilet paper. They stretch the paper over a beaker, wet it, and then dribble lead pellets onto it from a funnel. The paper that holds the most pellets is the strongest. Neat! Results will be unveiled in the May issue.

Toilet Paper Challenge [Consumer Reports]


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  1. I_am_Awesome says:

    The ease of opening the package, starting a roll, and tearing a sheet cleanly really don’t make any difference to me. Strength and softness are good though. Kleenex Cottonelle > *

  2. Nettwerk says:

    We use rags

    • mrgenius says:


      I go with the three shells, ala “Demolition Man.”

      Seriously, though I can’t live without my Cottonelle Fresh Wipes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you’re looking for the results of these tests, they’ll be published in the May 2009 issue of Consumer Reports available April 8.

  4. waza0 says:

    when you wipe your butt in public toilets, you get weak and cheap toilet paper and everybody manages to not get his hands dirty and is pretty much doing a good job

    looking for “the absolute best” toilet paper is just an other artificial need

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      I can also watch a hockey game on a 19″ TV mounted near the ceiling in a sports bar (hockey gets no respect :( ), but I’d rather watch it at home on my big HDTV.

      I’ll use public restroom toilet paper if I have to, but when I’m at home I wipe my ass with only the finest toilet paper.

    • DerangedRoleModel says:

      @waza0: They use John Wayne toilet paper, because it doesn’t take crap from anyone.

    • KenJason says:

      “when you wipe your butt in public toilets, you get weak and cheap toilet paper and everybody manages to not get his hands dirty and is pretty much doing a good job”

      You must not use a public toilet much. There is nothing worse than ‘poking through’ at the worst moment, and it does happen.

      If you don’t have a mishap like that, then your using a little extra to keep that from happening. Nothing wrong with that unless your concerned about efficiency and waste. Myself, I’ll use the whole damn roll at once to keep that from ever happening again… I mean ever… to me.

    • Mirshaan says:


      “artificial need”???? LMAO.

      There’s nothing artificial about me needing to not put my fingers/hands thru TP into my bung and dung…. no thanks… I’ll keep the “Good TP” permanently in the need category.

  5. mdoublej says:

    So who won?

  6. MattO says:

    charmin ultra….nice and soft, and they are correct when they say less is more

  7. adamczar says:

    It’s my butthole, I’m not looking for luxury. I’m currently using the kind made from recycled paper and it’s even one step up from the generic gas station bathroom kind.

  8. RandomHookup says:

    Somewhere in America is a toilet paper brand manager who is proud to know the effectiveness of butt-wiping offered by his product. And for this, he went to one of the best business schools in the world.

  9. RevRagnarok says:

    OK, that was interesting until they didn’t bother to tell us any results.

    But she had a Costco brand in front of her (Kirkland) and we swear by them for all paper good at our house – paper towels, napkins, etc. Also baby wipes, diapers, and formula…

  10. Radi0logy says:

    When I opened this thread, the first thing I saw was “wet, Dribble .. pellets”. Suffice to say I will be spending the remainder of my day trying to take that picture out of my head.

  11. Saboth says:

    I use Scott, and if need-be, the generic Scott. It does the job, my butt doesn’t hurt, and it lasts 4x longer than a regular roll of toilet paper, making it the least expensive.

    Btw, what is the point of strength tests of toilet paper? Are you really applying THAT much pressure to your bum? Does it really need to hold 2 lbs?

    • nakedscience says:

      @Saboth: Scott hurts my butt :( lol Which sucks because it lasts forever.

      So I found a generic type that’s a little softer and doesn’t quite last as long, but is a little more gentle and not too expensive.

      • Saboth says:


        I found the Kroger brand is much softer, but it is way thinner. Like almost see-through thin, so you have to use much more it…but it was cheaper, softer than Scott, and lasted almost a month for a 4 pack (which is like a miracle in my household).

    • OneTrickPony says:

      My #1 criteria for TP is how long it lasts between roll changes. It’s true that Scott isn’t as soft, but it’s not so rough that it’s going to cause injury unless you’ve got some problems going on down there. However, I’ve also tried “generic Scott” (i.e., store brand single-ply), and I’ll avoid that in the future, even if it is a couple bucks cheaper for a 12-pack–it was much rougher.

    • Andi Lee says:

      @Saboth: I’m agreeing with you on Scott. It’s just perfect. AngelSoft is nice and soft, but in a household with more than one person, a roll won’t even last a day. Charmin is nice and strong and thick, but it ends up causing more plumbing problems because it’s just soooo thick.

    • CharlieInSeattle says:

      @Saboth: We use scott also. You don’t want to use any other brand if you are septic.

  12. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    That’s a weird way to test it.

    I am not interested in the tensile strength of my toilet paper so much. Which would be what this is testing. What I’m interested in is its resistance to shredding when exposed to friction…

    Also… why do I care about its wet strength? I mean… my wife would I guess… but most important to me is how well it can resist shredding and exposing part of my hand…

    God… this is weird. I can’t believe I’m talking about this on the internet.

    • Anonymous says:

      @WiglyWorm: Exactly right. I can’t imagine their pellet test translating to meaningful performance differences. I mean, who holds out a sheet of stretched out paper and drops poops on it from a height? Resistance to shearing and rub resistance while wet are the key metrics I think. I suppose the test engineers really didn’t think this one out else they’d have come up with a simulated dirty bungpiece and give us testing results that are intelligible (i.e., dirty wet wipe strength).

    • AtomicPlayboy says:

      @WiglyWorm: Precisely. This isn’t a study area that lends itself to simulation, and any attempt to simulate the ass-wiping system needs to take more than wetness into account.

      Baby wipes are the way to go, anyway. A little more expensive per session, but well worth it for comfort and cleanliness.

      • Drew5764 says:

        @AtomicPlayboy: Totally agree – Even the store-brand baby wipes are better than the most luxurious dry TP available. However, if you have a lady-friend around, she’s probably going to insist on some dry variety for number 1.

        • AtomicPlayboy says:

          @Drew5764: Indeed. We’re a dual-booting bathroom, but for the deuce we’ve passed traditional TP by long ago. Cottonelle flushables are the – er – shit!

  13. cozymoses says:

    You should see the tests they do to test toilets for flushing power… Can you say Soy-Based Simulated Fecal Matter?

  14. Pizza Club says:

    Thank you for credibly using Butt-Wipe in a headline.

  15. pz says:

    You’re all crazy for not using the three seashells. Once you get the hang of it it’s not bad

  16. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Somewhere earlier this week I read a tip on here to smoosh your toilet paper rolls to get the most out of them by keeping them from rolling freely – I have to say that suggestion really works!

    I mostly buy Charmin – its cheap, I have coupons often, and it gets the job done.

  17. JohnDeere says:

    isnt toilet paper kinda barbaric? isnt the u.s. one of the last big countries that still use it?

    • Saboth says:


      What’s everyone else use? Bidet? I know they use their hands in India.

      • Radi0logy says:

        @Saboth: You “know”? Or you heard from a friend of a friend of a friend?

        • Saboth says:


          Well a friend of mine had to go to India for a month to help train their call center workers. Of course she was put up in the best “americanized” places at the time, and those had TP, but if you strayed off the path to local places, you had a hole, a pitcher of water, and your hand in the bathhouse lol.

          • Radi0logy says:

            @Saboth: I just have a problem with these kinds of tales. I went to China last year, and you don’t get paper in the public restrooms almost ever — but its NOT because the Chinese wipe their butt with their hands :P They are simply expected to carry their own. Even places like McDonald’s coulnd’t be relied upon to have TP. Once you get used to it and prepare for it its not so bad. Up till then I had a few.. bad.. experiences.

            And don’t even get me started on the squatting toilets :P Holy cow those things are awful. Nothing like a case of explosive diarrhea in a foreign country with only holes in the ground to “use” to make you miss home.. I threw those shoes away, let me tell you.

            • Monica Teasdale says:


              “Nothing like a case of explosive diarrhea in a foreign country with only holes in the ground”

              Ah, Morocco. Good times.

            • Saboth says:


              When you said “carry their own”, I had a picture of people picking up dog turds while walking their dogs, but instead…lol. I understand it is TP you are referring to though!

    • working class Zer0 says:

      @JohnDeere: Yes, in the more civilized countries they teach the kids in school how to taper and pinch thus eliminating the need for toilet paper (in all but the most extreme cases).

  18. shifuimam says:

    Huh. I did almost an identical test with paper towels for my freshman science fair project, although I used BBs instead of lead pellets. Bounty won by a landslide.

  19. Skankingmike says:

    Personally I would buy the cheapest toilet paper, then i started living with my now wife, she has to have that super pillow soft shit which costs double.

    I told her that real men would use pine cones and tree bark if necessary. :P

  20. dennis_k85 says:

    _page Check out this toilet paper

  21. krispykrink says:

    I don’t see what wet TP and dumping pellets onto it has to do with whipping my ass.

  22. MarleneMops says:

    When we went camping as children we used leaves in the forest!

  23. The_Legend says:

    I hope they test Consumer Reports print edition, bout all it’s good for.

  24. cheap and easy says:

    I go for what leaves the least dingleberries. Cottonelle has my vote.

    • ElizabethD says:

      @gerbilsoutofexile…is cheap and easy:

      Try Angel Soft. It’s not as “soft” as the name would make you think.

      Coronet used to be the best for dingleberry-free wiping, but that brand disappeared a while back.

      I can’t believe I’m even discussing this in a public forum. Oh well, at least we’re all anonymous! Sort of.

  25. allstarecho says:

    Nothing out there compares to Cottonelle, either in the green package (Aloe) or in the purple package (ultra soft and strong). Since I switched to it, my butt-hole loves me as much as I love it. ;]

  26. Tom_Servo says:

    I use the Charmin ultra with the aloe-vera in it. My sphincter dances with joy at the prospect of being wiped.

  27. captainpicard says:

    When will we come up w/ something better than wiping our behinds with wads of paper? WE’VE PUT A MAN ON THE MOON FOR HEAVAN’S SAKE!!!

  28. Monica Teasdale says:

    Okay, this whole discussion is working the bitchface lobe in my prefrontal cortex into a frenzy:

    1. I hate the commercials with the bears and their linty buttocks. Childish, patronizing, and silly, all at once!

    2. I really don’t care about all of those things they are testing in the video and her voice is really irritating.

    3. To the person who mentioned that a brand manager is out there silently chortling because we are having this conversation: Bravo.

    4. This is like debating the cotton at the end of a q-tip. Should it be spherical? Is it Egyptian cotton? Is it wound clockwise or counterclockwise? Who gives a rip?

    Okay, neuronal arousal of bitchface lobe has been relieved.

  29. veronykah says:

    An interesting article on where the soft fluffy toilet paper comes from.
    Doesn’t seem right to be cutting down forests for something as inherently disposable as TP.


    • wallspray says:

      @veronykah: Hate to tell you this, but those tree’s are being grown for the sole purpose of bathroom use. If we didn’t need it for that, those trees wouldn’t have been grown in the first place.

    • ElizabethD says:


      No forest is safe from the exacting requirements of my butt, sry2say.

  30. duncanblackthorne says:

    Generally speaking I’ll look to Consumer Reports when I’m looking to make a major purchase, but seriously folks.. buy whatever is on sale. Me? I buy whatever name brand Costco is selling.

  31. ElizabethD says:

    Angel Soft, yo. Not too soft; not too flimsy.

    And “lead pellets”? ROFL Time for a stool-softener commercial.

  32. casey451 says:

    This subject demonstrates the best and the worst of Consumer Reports all at once. As an old-time greenie – not moldy, just old – I know that Scott will come in last in this contest (based on an earlier CR report). Like M&Ms, it practically melts in your hands. To CR, not known for its greenness, this is a terrible thing. To somebody who’s paying attention, it’s exactly what you want, because it will degrade fastest in treatment facilities and septic systems.

    Consumer Reports is a marvelous thing. But it is frequently silly and sometimes outright wrong. For many years it was clueless about computers. And now it reviews TVs every other month. While not catering to advertisers, it caters to its main audience: mid to upper middle class whites.

    A major complaint: it NEVER considers the packaging of a product except in an occasional feature when it lays into a tiny thing with acres of packaging around it. But a complex small appliance maliciously packaged in form-fitting hard plastic with no easy way to release it gets away without a reference to this flaw. The worst kind of unrecyclable packaging will go unmentioned.

    Oh, yeah, I haven’t mentioned the “best” CR does. IT SPONSORS THE CONSUMERIST! Good deal.

    • TechnoDestructo says:


      Seriously, the septic thing is important, as is how easily it flushes.

      I’d rather see a two dimensional scatter plot, performance on this test, versus a test where the integrity of the toilet paper after being immersed for…well, probably several different intervals…one minute, half an hour, and a week. The stronger the better on one, the weaker the better on the other.

  33. fatcop says:

    Charmin ultra only for me. Hope it’s made from virgin rain forest and kittens turned inside out.

    The wet wipe deals were a bit on the odd side.

  34. craptastico says:

    this is a little annoying, i was expecting the results to be posted. i’m a big fan on consumer reports in general, but this post is really nothing more than an advertisement for them. i was hoping to get some information i can use. for those that don’t think it’s worth investigating which TP is best i say it’s probably one of the few products people have that they use every day so it should be worth the research to make sure you’re getting the right product.

  35. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Did they take into consideration about septic vs sewer. If you are on septic, you do not want to use anything like charman or the soft brands. Scott always wins here.

  36. nybiker says:

    Maybe we should get the good folks at Mythbusters to test things for us?
    As for what real men use, I recall the episode of M*A*S*H where, as a result of a fuel shortage, IIRC, just about everything was getting burned for heat. So they’re all packed into Col. Blake’s tent and as someone heads to the latrine, he grabs a couple of sheets of paper artwork. That’ll tighten your sphincter. I have the collection on videotape so if you really want the episode’s details, I’ll have to go watch it again.

  37. Aquasol says:

    @adamczar: You say that now, but what about the inevitable OH GOD IT’S MAKING ME BLEED PROFUSELY?

  38. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    She said “two sheets”.
    Heh heh, heh heh

  39. maztec says:

    Yah, post a notice and link for us when the May issue comes out. k’thx.

  40. Nastrodoodimus says:

    I remember reading some kind of survey on the ‘Net that said peeps using Yellow Pages (TM) was down like 80% or some number of that sort. I think it’s because they are wiping their ass with it, just like the Sears catalogs of old, instead of looking up numbers.