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Toilet paper test results

by George Mullen

Editor's note: The following are the results of the second RV Forum toilet paper test involving a number of forum members testing various brands of toilet paper for acceptability for RV use. George developed the test method, trained participants in its use, initiated the study, and analyzed the results. The test was conducted at the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999. The reader is advised to conduct their own test on current products because paper composition, glues and manufacturing processes can change over time.

First of all, I want to thank all of the good folks who took the time to actively participate in the Second RV Forum Toilet Paper Test program. Without their courtesy and generosity I would be out working in my yard instead of writing this report.

Test procedure
Put a sheet or two of the TP in a drinking glass, preferably clear, filled with water at room temperature (approximating the temperature of water in the holding tanks). Leave it there for 5 minutes or so, then stir it GENTLY with a spoon or pencil. (The water and TP should be stirred about the same as one would stir cream or sugar into a cup of hot coffee). If the tissue doesn't readily break up into countless pieces then that toilet paper cannot be used in my motorhome.

The results are in
They have been individually analyzed, collated, and verified for accuracy (spelling excepted). I have passed judgement and herein render my verdict.

The Grand Winner (insert drum roll): QUILTED NORTHERN.

The Runners-Up: NORTHERN (single ply), THETFORD RV/MARINE, and ZEE.


The following are the individual reports I collected so each of you can see how they stacked up. Products are listed in alphabetical order. At the end of each is the reporting message number and the reporter's name. If I missed anyone's report, please let me know so I can publicly apologize for the Senior Moment and include it in the record.


Three hours in water at 74D's and have stirred three times. No sign of break-up. #: 315165 Fred Thomas

Remained pretty much intact even when lifted out of the water. It did remain suspended in the water after stirring. #: 315053 Jack Stockholm

Rejected it for use in the RV as it did not appear to break up the way it should. #: 315139 Ron Ruward

I tested Charmin Ultra, it proclaims to be ultra strong, and after four hours in the water with frequent stirring (15 min) it came out ultra strong, in one piece....bad for the RV... #: 316473 Ott Gangl

After a hour of just sitting there I stired it gently with a popsicle stick and it broke up very nicely. Some even seems to have "powdered" as there was a suspension of white particles that turned the water milky. #: 315454 Bill Nash

No sign of break-up. Could lift both out of the water intact. #: 315165 Fred Thomas

The current TP acts differently than it did the last time I tested it. It is 2 ply and lightly quilted. After 1 hour with light stirring every 15 minutes there was some "fraying". After 3 hours, the paper had pretty well disintegrated and was in fairly small chunks. By 7 hours the "chunks" were feathery. After 24 hours there was no further change. #: 316349 Don Jordan (Note: Don is not positive of the brand; doesn't have the wrapper.)

Sat overnight in water with gentle agitation at the start and about 18 hours later. I then fished it out, intact! No fragmentation. #: 317782 Raymond Alden

After 1:02 hrs . . . with about 15 secs of gentle stirring . . . I could remove nearly FULLY intact . . . . #: 317179 Val Barrett

ESSEX 1000 Sheets
Manufactured by Page & Talbot, Portland Oregon.
Starts breaking up within 30 minutes, in hundreds of small pieces within an hour. #: 317168 Al Balmer

Tests the same as Chelsea brand -- i.e. no disintegration after 15 hours in water and gental stirring. #: 317851 Raymond Alden

After one hour in the water with gentle stiring of 10 seconds every 15 minutes - still looks like it just went into the glass. NO indications of breakup and am able to remove entire sheet with no problem. #: 315408 Ray B

The Kleenex did pretty well. After about an hour it started breaking up and after about 8 hours is was totally gone. #: 317372 Fred Thomas

I repeated the test on the Kleenex Cottonelle and had the same results I did the first time. Even now more than 12 hours since starting the test, I can stir the water on the active side of gentle and the sheet of is intact. #: 317920 Ray B

I found it to break up somewhat slowly but did not disintegrate completely, or at least to the extent I would willingly use it in my RV. #320732 George Mullen

After one hour, it was starting to disintegrate. After two hours, it was completely disintegrated. This is a single ply, embossed tissue. #: 315580 Ned Reiter

Found . . . to break up very well. #: 315139 Ron Ruward

It tested OK for me also! #: 315874 Val Barrett

After one hour in the water with gentle stiring of 10 seconds every 15 minutes sheets started to shread and water was getting cloudy - after 24hours in the water sheets are breaking up nicely. #: 315660 Ray B.

It does break down in a matter of a couple of hours. #: 315655 Roger P.

It broke down beautifully. #: 315812 Ray B

The results after 1:02 hrs was that the "Northern" nearly *completely* dissolved with about 15 secs of gentle stirring.... #: 317179 Val Barrett

About 1 hour to complete dissolution with modest stirring. #: 317307 Gary Brinck

THETFORD RV/MARINE single ply Disolved easily and settled to the bottom. #: 315053 Jack Stockholm

After about a half hour with two stirings, the single ply started to break up and by the end of 24 hours there were no large pieces left. #: 317142 Ray B

Thetford Aqua-soft 2ply
After one hour in the water with gentle stiring of 10 seconds every 15 minutes - still looks like it just went into the glass. NO indications of breakup and am able to remove entire sheet with no problem. #: 315660 Ray B

ZEE 1-ply 1 sheet in a glass of water, slightly and slowly stirred with a knife for 5 seconds, quickly fell apart into very small pieces. #: 316261 Jayne Murray