Shaken and Stirred – Toilet Paper Test

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This toilet paper evaluation aimed to find out three things: how quickly the different TPs dissolved in water, how strong they were, and how soft they felt. Each brand was given a number (1 through 10) for blind judging. Four sheets from each roll were crumpled and placed in a clear plastic canister with two quarts of lukewarm water and were stirred for five seconds, or five swirls, with a plastic straw.

Tissue paper put into plastic jars

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Testers made initial observations and notes, waited five minutes, stirred again for five seconds, and made more notes. We let them stand for an hour, then mixed it up again by gently shaking, not stirring (to satisfy 007). Testers observed and noted differences.

To test strength, we used spring-clips to attach a plastic bag to individual sheets of tissue. We then added ¼-ounce fishing bullet weights until the tissue tore. Each product was tested three times to confirm the weight of the breaking point, and the average listed on the Value Guide table. The brands were ranked for strength (1 being strongest).

West Marine Mega-roll

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Thickness was tested with a Starrett #1010L gauge, and weight was measured on a Pitney Bowes postal scale.

To evaluate softness, seven volunteers were enlisted for a blind comparison. The volunteers rated each product’s softness on a scale from 1 to 5. The scores were averaged to determine the three softest products.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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