Clumping and Folding

Interestingly, this topic has come up a few times, independently, among different friend groups. That is of course the debate of whether or not you clump or fold your toilet paper (TP).

For those who are unfamiliar with these techniques, clumping is when you wad up your TP, wipe, and then throw it away/ in the toilet. Folding on the other hand, is when you wipe (some people actually do a pre-fold prior to the initial wipe), and then fold the TP over to reuse it for one or more additional wipes.

The main argument I hear from clumpers is that it is cleaner and you avoid getting your own excrement on your own hand since you usually have more layers of TP between your hand and your anus. Some also seem to think that it makes for a more effective wipe. As a folder, who cares about the environment, I am forced to believe that clumpers use excessive force when wiping and at the same time use haphazard technique. This makes sense though because when TP is clumped there is an uneven distribution of pressure throughout the implement due to variation in the clumped TP layers, so you cannot be sure that you are applying sufficient force across the whole surface without either using excessive force and/or smearing around a bit.

Furthermore, when clumping I imagine it is harder to be sure that you are clean because the gyri in the TP clump obscure one’s vision of the wiping surface. With a flat surface, as you have with folded TP, you can determine with confidence the point at which you have reached the end of the scouring process.

Perhaps looming in the background of this debate are the bidet users who are sitting back and laughing as this unfolds, no pun intended. And I agree that bidets are likely the superior method overall, but that is discussion that most of the U.S. is not quite ready for.


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