Are Toilet Paper Roll Crafts a Safe and Sanitary Idea?
The FaveCrafts team looked into whether or not making toilet tube crafts are as germ-infested as some of our readers feared.
Toilet paper roll crafts are one of the most popular and classic recycled crafts out there, especially when it comes to crafting with kids. These often adorable and always cheap craft ideas are a great way to teach kids all about reusing and recycling products in the home. About once or twice every few months, we receive a comment or an email about how it may be unsafe to craft with toilet paper rolls. They do, after all, come from the bathroom and could be covered in icky germs you do not want to be hanging out with during your craft time.
Some daycares, preschools, and kindergarten programs in Australia, UK, and even America have even gone so far as to ban toilet paper rolls from their crafting time for this very reason. When we asked out Facebook audience about whether or not their schools had banned them, many readers had first hand experiences of schools declaring TP roll crafts a no-go in their classrooms.With so many questions floating around about the health and hygiene of a crafting darling, the FaveCrafts editorial staff decided to look into whether are not this is a myth that should be busted or something we should consider. Scroll down below to learn the answer to Are Toilet Paper Roll Crafts a Safe and Sanitary Idea?
If you love recycled craft ideas but need some help making sure you're crafting with clean materials, check out our full-length article on how to clean and prepare your toilet paper tubes, plastic bottles, cardboard, and more -How to Prepare Recyclables for Crafting
Why Toilet Tube Crafts Might Be Unsafe
The argument behind toilet paper tubes being unsafe and unhygienic stems from the fact that they live in the bathroom before being recycled in crafting projects. Bathrooms are hot spots for disease and germs, which means everything in them has the potential to be crawling with microscopic particles that may make you or your kids sick. A study conducted by the Microbiology Department of Leeds Old Medical School, for example, found that flushing the toilet without the lid down can lead to a splash of bacteria throughout the entire room. The Mythbusters team confirmed this when they checked for the presence of bacteria on a toothbrush in a rest room.
These risks, while they might present some danger to those extremely susceptible to disease or somewhere germ-laden like a hospital, are pretty negligible. Rest rooms and therefore toilet paper tubes are covered in germs, but so is everything else! Your risk of catching something horrific from a bout of crafting specifically is pretty small. If the germs in a bathroom were unsafe, we'd be sick constantly from touching other bathroom-dwelling items like the door knob, toilet itself, sink, and more.
So, Why Are Some Schools Banning Them?
Despite the above evidence, many schools have banned parents from donating these materials for classroom crafts. Oftentimes the stated reason is the risk of spreading nasty bathroom germs. The reality is, however, that the germs they are probably worried about are not necessarily bathroom-centered entirely. Bringing in toilet paper rolls from any home will come with that home’s germs.
Schools have no way of confirming whether or not one home or the other is sanitary. There is also the risk of carting in something a child might be allergic to like dog or cat dander, peanut particles, etc. Since toilet paper rolls have a higher priority of being germ-covered, banning them is more of a precaution on their end. It has not been scienfifically proven (or studied as far as we could tell) as to whether or not germs from a toilet paper roll specifically could or have made a child sick. Much like banning egg cartons in the UK due to the risk of samonella, schools always err on the side of caution.
The Conclusion: Live Your Life, Wash Your Hands
Making toilet paper roll crafts is not likely to put you on your deathbed. The instances of bacteria making its way from a bathroom to a crafting material to a human are actually pretty rare. So, long as you continue to take care of yourself (and your kids, as usual) you are not likely to get sick. Make sure to wash your hands before and after crafting to prevent the spread of disease. The only real threat a toilet paper roll probably poses to an everyday crafter is the anxiety caused by thinking about those creepy crawly germs.
But Now I’m Grossed Out!
Sometimes the actual risk of germs is not quite as high as our anxiety. Don’t let the facts above deter you from creating adorable craft ideas. Here are some toilet paper tube alternatives and/or tips for keeping them clean:
Use wrapping paper tubes and paper towel tubes instead. You can easily cut these down to size for crafts that require a toilet paper roll length tube.
Set your rolls out in the sun. Sitting out in the sun should help kill off any bacteria that might be lingering.
Spray down tubes with Lysol or wipe them down with a Clorox wipe. This is not the best option when crafting with kids who are likely to place the tubes in their mouth.
Not fazed by the information above? Good! Check out our full list of toilet tube crafts and get to creating - 62 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts
Do you craft with toilet paper rolls or find it absolutely disgusting?
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