Toilet Paper Calculator

Use this toilet paper calculator to easily estimate how much toilet paper you will need to last a given amount of time, or how much your current supply will last. Works for single persons as well as households.

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Using the toilet paper calculator

Using the above multipurpose toilet paper calculator is easy. With it you can:

  • Calculate how many rolls of toilet paper you need to last a given amount of time, be it days, weeks, or months.
  • Calculate how long your current stock of toilet paper will last. The output is in days, weeks, months, and years.

When calculating for the number of toilet rolls needed the results are rounded up to a full toilet roll. When calculating how long a stockpile will last the calculator output is in days if it is less than a week, in days and weeks if less than a month, and so on up to and including years.

Getting fairly accurate estimates of the daily trips to the toilet, the number of wipes and sheets used per wipe is key for getting an accurate estimate from our toilet paper calculator, regardless of what you are calculating for. The more members a household has, the more difficult it is to arrive at a reliable estimate for all of these three quantities so a larger margin of error should be allowed for. Note that we are not to be held responsible for any miscalculations due to inaccurate estimates or violated assumptions. More on the key assumptions behind the validity of the math in the section below.

Formulas and toilet paper usage assumptions

The toilet paper calculator uses the following equations to estimate the number of toilet paper rolls needed to last a given amount of time without a resupply:

toilet rolls needed

whereas the duration of time one can last on a given number of toilet rolls is estimated by the formula:

toilet roll stock duration

In both equations the following notation is used:

  • Qrolls - the number (quantity) of toilet paper rolls
  • tdays - the time duration in days
  • P - the number of persons in the household
  • Spr - the number of sheets per toilet roll (Per Roll)
  • Vd - average number of toilet visits per day
  • Wv - average number of wipes per visit
  • Sw - average number of sheets used per wipe

For the purpose of converting the number of days into weeks, months, and years, a week is seven days, months are approximated to 30.5 days, years are approximated to 365.2421 days.

It should be noted that the calculator assumes you will continue eating the types and quantities of food typical of your present diet - a generous assumption indeed, if the lockdown gets really bad. It should be noted that certain foods which are good for stocking up on as they last longer without spoiling might increase or decrease the average number of visits, wipes, or sheets per wipe used, thus making the estimate inaccurate. To account for that some overstocking might be reasonable.

A further assumption in the toilet paper calculator applies when calculating how long a toilet paper stockpile will last: all rolls are assumed to be of the same number of sheets per roll and of the same quality (2-ply, 3-ply, 4-ply, material quality, etc). This is important as some low quality toilet rolls might increase your average usage per wipe. Similarly, a high quality toilet paper might decrease it.

Why are people stockpiling on toilet paper?

Despite what some of our younger readers might think, hoarding of toilet paper is not a new phenomenon. The recent 2020 COVID19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the associated quarantine measures are just one example of a situation in which people panic buy and stockpile toilet paper. In fact, many so-called "preppers" have been doin so for many years (except for the "panic" part) and so we figure they will appreciate a toilet paper calculator any time. But why does it happen?

An obvious reason is fear of toilet paper running out, no matter how unfounded it is given most producers have stocks that can last for many months even with zero new production. Another one cited by psychologists is that "It allows some to feel a sense of control" [1] (emphasis ours). When there is lack of clear guidance on what to do, doing something seems better than doing nothing, and toilet paper is an easy way to accomplish that as it is useful and doesn't spoil, so it seems rational to buy large quantities of it. As Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Mary Alvord puts it [2]: "There is comfort in knowing that it’s there. We all eat and we all sleep and we all poop. It’s a basic need to take care of ourselves."

Toilet paper alternatives. What if I run out?

out of toilet paper

Even if you stocked well enough, your estimate for the duration of the lockdown or emergency might be off. The situations might have changed in terms of the available food and other factors. Due to these and a variety of other issues you might end up without toilet paper despite using a good toilet paper calculator like ours. What then?

In such a scenario you should consider that you can simply wash your bum and private parts. If you already have a bidet in your toilet room then washing yourself should be very straightforward. Modern bidets use a plumbed-in water supply and have a drainage opening and so should be hygienically safe. If you don't have one you can always use a shower or bathtub, even though that might be an inconvenience.

Note that while toilet paper is specially made for its particular application, when it is absent basically any other type of soft paper can be used as a replacement. For example, in countries under socialist/communist regimes it was not uncommon to use newspapers - neatly cut into pieces, crumpled, and stacked, as toilet paper [3].

References:

[1] Andrew S (2020) "The psychology behind why toilet paper, of all things, is the latest coronavirus panic buy" CNN [online], accessed Mar 25, 2020

[1] Kluger J (2020) "In the Wake of the Coronavirus, Here's Why Americans Are Hoarding Toilet Paper" Time [online], accessed Mar 25, 2020

[3] Berkovich G. (2009) "Watching Communism Fail: A Memoir of Life in the Soviet Union", published by McFarland

Cite this calculator & page

If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Toilet Paper Calculator", [online] Available at: https://www.gigacalculator.com/calculators/toilet-paper-calculator.php URL [Accessed Date: 29 May, 2020].