Toilet paper is a soft paper product (tissue paper) used to maintain personal hygiene. It differs in composition somewhat from facial tissue: most modern toilet paper in the developed world is designed to decompose in septic tanks, whereas some other bathroom and facial tissues are not. Most septic tank manufacturers advise against using paper products that are non-septic tank safe. Different names, euphemisms and slang terms are used for toilet paper in countries around the world, including “loo roll/paper,” “toilet roll,” “dunny roll/paper,” “bathroom/toilet tissue,” “4 inch” “TP,” or just “tissue.” Toilet paper can be one-, two- or three-ply, or even thicker, meaning that it is either a single sheet or two, three sheets placed back-to-back to make it thicker, softer, stronger and more absorbent.
Color, scents, and embossing may also be added, but fragrances sometimes cause problems for consumers who are allergic to perfumes. Although paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC,the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China.In 589 AD the scholar-official Yan Zhitui (531–591) wrote about the use of toilet paper: “Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes”.
During the later Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), an Arab traveler to China in the year 851 AD remarked: “They [the Chinese] are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper.” During the early 14th century, it was recorded that in modern-day Zhejiang province alone there was an annual manufacturing of toilet paper amounting in ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets of toilet paper each. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), it was recorded in 1393 that an annual supply of 720,000 sheets of toilet paper (two by three feet in size) were produced for the general use of the imperial court at the capital of Nanjing.From the records of the Imperial Bureau of Supplies of that same year, it was also recorded that for Emperor Hongwu’s imperial family alone, there were 15,000 sheets of special soft-fabric toilet paper made, and each sheet of toilet paper was even perfumed.