Okay, I admit it. As a single dad on a budget, I have a bias towards bargain brands, and toilet paper is no exception. I’ve used my favorite warehouse brand TP for decades and never made a connection between it and the underwear skid marks (I always assumed it was operator error—mine and the kids’). So when the folks at Charmin sent me some Charmin Ultra Strong and asked me to review it, I wasn’t terribly excited. I mean, toilet paper is toilet paper, right? Coincidentally, though, it was time to install new rolls in two of our four bathrooms, which gave us a chance to do a butt-cheek-to-butt-cheek comparison.
The difference was immediately noticeable in several ways. First, Charmin Ultra Strong is really soft. It made all those commercials with the family of bears seem a little less silly (plus, they always make me miss Mr. Whipple, who, sadly, died in 2007.) That by itself wouldn’t have been enough to get me to switch brands (although if I lived in Morocco, where the TP feels like sandpaper or one of many countries where they use newspaper, I would have switched immediately).
Second, there were fewer skid marks (aha! So it might not have been operator error after all). Maybe it’s just our family’s diet, but even with bleach, those marks never got completely out of our underwear, which meant I needed to buy replacements pretty regularly. The difference seems to be Charmin Ultra Strong’s washcloth-like texture. Human bottoms are apparently kind of like English muffins, in that they both have all sorts of nooks and crannies. Regular, flat TP can’t clean out those hiding places very well unless you use a ton of it and wipe three or four times (and, let’s face it, who’s got time for that?). But Ultra Strong’s texture did the job after just one wipe. The bottom line? You end up with cleaner underwear and use less three or four times less toilet paper to boot. Actually, let’s call it half as much: Ultra Strong is so soft that you may end up giving yourself an extra wipe just because it feels so nice. Either way, the trifecta of using less TP, cleaner underwear, and softness is definitely reason enough to switch.
Disclosure: I received free product and some compensation to facilitate this review. However, it would take more than a few rolls of toilet paper and a few bucks to make me give something a thumbs up that I don’t honestly believe it deserves.
photo credit: charmin.com