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Toilet Paper Is Shrinking. Blame Hand Dryers

Roll of toilet paper on wall holder

No, it’s not just your imagination. Toilet paper squares are surreptitiously shrinking — getting smaller, thinner and/or fewer.

The reason it’s hard for you to tell: Companies are increasing the size of the inner cardboard tubes, so the rolls still look the same to consumers.

And why are hand dryers to blame? Don’t worry — we’ll get to that.

The case of our dwindling toilet paper sheets was explained in an interesting Washington Post column. The old standard size was a 4½-inch square. Now it’s more like a 4-inch square, a reduction of about 26 percent, as a reader of the Los Angeles Times calculated.

Consumer Reports has also noted that our bathroom rolls are being downsized, yet the price has stayed the same. This is important, considering the average American uses 46 sheets of toilet paper a day.

The reason we’re getting less TP for our money has less to do with toilet paper and more to do with paper towels, napkins and maintaining profits, the Post reported.

Paper towel sales have dropped precipitously in the past few years, thanks to folks’ eating out and using the more ecological and hygienic hand dryers in restrooms — even though a recent study found that some dryers may spread more germs by blowing them around. We’re also buying fewer napkins, another possible consequence of more away-from-home meals.

In other words, the paper companies are making less money on other paper products, so they need to increase their profits elsewhere. Namely, toilet paper.

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“They’re hedging their bets with toilet paper, because Americans aren’t ever going to start skimping on toilet paper,” an industry analyst at market research firm Euromonitor told the Post.

So there you have it. Less money from drying our hands affects what we pay to dry our nether parts. Something to think about as you tear off squares from that (smaller) roll.

Photo: Andy206uk/iStock

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