Rick Souza runs his own business as an interiors and architectural photographer. Originally from Belo Horizonte in Brazil, he has lived in London for many years and now lives on the riverbank of the Thames with his wife Mel and daughter Sophia. As a family, they prioritise quality in their tissue products, but are also keen on Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGOF) deals. Products with a funky design are also used for when guests come to visit.

Besides loo roll, other tissue products we use are paper napkins – my wife likes the different designs and colours but we usually use these only when we have guests – on a daily basis we usually use kitchen towel on the table, or to hold a sandwich.

Rick Souza
Rick Souzasandwich.

We look for both price and quality when buying toilet paper. Quality toilet papers can be expensive, but no one likes to rub sandpaper on their bottoms! Until recently, when I made regular trips to a big cash and carry store, I used to get a very good deal on a good brand (Cushelle) – something like a BOGOF deal, so I would get 2 x 24 for £10.99 (+VAT). Now, at least temporarily, I haven’t been going to this cash and carry lately, so I have been buying toilet paper from my local supermarket (ASDA), where I usually look for offers but won’t go for the cheap stuff.

We look for quality in a loo roll which obviously has to do with the softness and thickness of the paper, but we also check the length of the roll (i.e. how many sheets) to see how much we are getting. We don’t go so far as to look for certification stamps on the package but we always buy white paper as we hear coloured ones are not eco-friendly and that they release the paint, or coloured chemicals, in the water. If that is the case then I suppose it could also cause skin irritation. There are probably some eco-friendly and coloured toilet papers in the market now that are also harmless for your health, and if they are not absurdly dear I would consider buying a roll or two of a stylish or funky design to use on occasions when we have guests, like we do with paper napkins.

When we travel abroad, I do usually notice and compare the difference in toilet paper quality. When I visit my home country – Brazil – I find the quality of toilet paper varies greatly, depending on where you are. At my family home, my mom says that despite the price she usually goes for quality stuff. If you go to a nice restaurant you’re likely to get good quality toilet paper. But I guess this is true anywhere in the world. If you go to a public toilet or a scruffy pub, they will not offer a loo roll as good as a nice restaurant or hotel. But this is indeed something I unavoidably notice.

I have been to China and Southeast Asia and have noticed the poor quality of toilet papers in the places we visited – and the quality of WC facilities in general. Having a child has of course increased our use of kitchen towels, especially when we weaned her off to solid food. At this stage a meal can be quite messy. A bib alone will not keep the baby clean. We have to wipe her face, hands and there’s also the table and furniture around… and frequently ourselves! We also usually have some Kleenex tissues at home. In fact, as we speak I currently have an annoying cold, so I stop every couple of minutes to clear my nose. Just like loo rolls, it is important to have soft tissues that won’t irritate the skin around the nose, especially if we are using it on our daughter.