Cottonelle Toilet Paper Contained No Cotton Until 2013

Have you ever stopped to wonder whether Cottonelle brand toilet paper has any cotton in it? Well, of course it does–”cotton” is right there in the name, right? That’s what Ed had always thought. Then he saw a sign on the shelf at Sam’s Club that challenged his assumptions. Not that he had really given toilet paper ingredients enough thought to form any assumptions.

That’s the thing with toilet paper: unless you have an allergy or are particularly eco-conscious, you don’t really think about what’s in it at all.


“I guess I always assumed with the name of the product, it already had [cotton] in it…” Ed wrote when he sent us this picture. That would make sense, but in fact Cottonelle, as a brand name, is meant to convey the idea of soft, cuddly cotton while not containing any. At least, not until 2013.

That’s what a spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Cottonelle, told us. This probably isn’t a question that they get very often, but K-C got back to us very graciously with an answer. The spokesperson explained:

Cottonelle first introduced cotton in the brand’s Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper in March 2013, albeit a small amount. At the same time, Cottonelle began communicating this news to consumers, so it’s likely that the shelf tags appeared around this timeframe. The brand name helps to convey Cottonelle’s message of softness, i.e., cotton is soft and so is Cottonelle.

That means it’s not in every product Cottonelle makes, but that one, and the signage that Ed saw at Sam’s may date back to the introduction of the product in 2013.

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