Colored Toilet Paper: What Happened to Them?

Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by toilethaven

When you are about to walk into any bathroom today, you may not know what to expect, but you can always be guaranteed to find white toilet paper. That was not the case in the 1960s and 1970s, though. Colored toilet paper was almost in every bathroom.

So why did they stop making colored toilet paper? This is a question that has always bugged me, and so I decided to dig deeper and find out why.

The main reason colored toilet paper stopped being made is because the dyes used to make them were harmful to people’s skin. Apart from the fact that they were expensive to manufacture, there was also a tremendous change in bathroom style which phased them out.

To understand this better, I had to go back in time to the time toilet paper was invented. Another thing I have always wanted to know is what was invented first, between the toilet and toilet paper.

Toilet paper was introduced into the market in 1857 by Joseph Gayetty of New York. He marketed it as “Medicated Paper for the Water Closet’’. This was the time when flush toilets were known as water closets.

Surprisingly, this is many years after the invention of the flush toilet in 1592 by Sir John Harrington. If you have ever wondered why a toilet is called a “John,” then wonder no more.

So what did people use before toilet paper was invented? Interestingly, the choice of what to use at that time depended on where you were in life economically.

According to Toilet Paper History, before toilet paper was invented, the average citizens used grass, leaves, corncobs, water, stones, ferns, seashells, fruit skins, sand, and even snow. The wealthy used wool, lace, or hemp.

When was Colored Toilet Paper Invented?

Of course, Joseph Gayetty didn’t also invent the colored toilet paper. He didn’t even use one himself. It is important to understand that his “Medicated Paper, for the Water-Closets” was just a minor improvement of the ordinary paper.

Colored toilet paper was introduced in the market in the 1950s, and it was an instant hit! It’s good to note that it was not the toilet paper, only that it was colored. Toilets, bathtubs, and sinks all came in bright blues and pinks.

Bathroom color coordination was a thing then. Wives expected nothing less of their husbands. The idea of an all-white bathroom at the time would frowned upon.

Colored toilet paper and colored toilet fixtures are however only heard of these days but rarely seen. So what happened to colored toilet paper? Why did they stop making them?

Why They Stopped Making Colored Toilet Paper

Colored toilet paper stopped being made for a couple of reasons. The following are the reasons why colored toilet paper stopped being made:

  1. The dyes were potentially harmful to people’s skin.
  2. There was a change in bathroom style.
  3. The dyes posed a danger to the environment.
  4. Colored toilet paper is expensive to make.

Colored Toilet Paper vs. Doctors

I don’t wish to get into specifics, but we all know that the actual body parts or parts where toilet paper is used have very sensitive skin. What could go wrong?

Back in the day, dyes were not very much regulated or regulated at all by any government body. As a result, toilet paper manufacturers used whatever dye they could get to satisfy the great market that existed at the time.

Later in the 1980s, doctors in the United States started to warn consumers that colored toilet paper contained dyes that were harmful to the skin. Whether people heeded the doctors’ advice or not, I will leave it to your imagination.

What I know is that colored toilet paper started disappearing from store shelves and was immediately replaced by white ones.

Colored Toilet Paper and the Environment.

Although this is reported as one of the contributing factors for colored toilet paper disappearing from the market, I really don’t think it has a lot of weight.

I am not contesting the fact that colored toilet paper dyes were/are harmful to the environment, but I am merely asking if there aren’t other more environmentally harmful products that are still being produced. Just compare the effects of fossil fuels and agrochemicals against toilet paper dye. Which ones are worse?

What I think is that the colored toilet paper dye argument was used to add weight to other contributing factors. Otherwise, if that were the only issue, colored toilet paper would still be everywhere.

Colored Toilet Paper Is Expensive to Make

It is true that colored toilet papers are more expensive to manufacture than white ones. In order to make colored toilet paper, you must first make it white and then dye it to the desired color. That adds up to the total cost of production.

While the above statement is correct, there are also white toilet papers that are more expensive than other white toilet papers. That’s the nature of marketing. There is always something for everyone.

I don’t think a large number of the population was all of a sudden unable to afford colored toilet paper, forcing manufacturers to change their tact. If they were affording it all that time, what is it that happened in the 80s that made them realize that they were being overcharged for toilet paper?

Bathroom Styles Changed

This is the one argument that carries weight as far as I’m concerned. It is not only the colored toilet paper that disappeared but all the other colored bathroom fixtures.

Think about it this way; What people were wearing in the 1950s is not what they wore in the 1990s. That is the nature of life. Styles and fashion come and go.

It is, therefore, correct to say that when people started using brighter/white fixtures, the colored toilet paper had to go. This, combined with the healthy implications that colored toilet paper brought to the population, is ultimately why colored toilet paper rolls are no longer in our bathrooms.

modern bathroom

Although bathroom fixtures have been all-white since the late 1900s, black ones are starting to come back, especially toilets and sinks. Modern black toilets are stylish, bold, and more conspicuous.

These black toilet papers have also become very popular. I guess when they said, “You can’t go wrong with black,” they had done enough research. Black goes well with just about any other color.

Where to Buy a Colored Toilet Paper


When Scott stopped making colored toilet paper in 2004, I thought that was the last time I would ever see a red or pink toilet paper again. I was wrong. Colored toilet paper is still being sold to this day.

As a matter of fact, I know someone who can’t use plain white toilet paper. Renova is the one company that has refused to let the colored toilet paper tradition die. They make toilet paper in many colors, with black, red, and blue being the most sought-after.

These colored toilet paper come at a premium cost, so be prepared to spend more. For the people who still believe in them, that is a small price to pay for the satisfaction and convenience they get from them.

If you would like to buy colored toilet paper online, check this one out on Amazon. I know a few people who use ordinary white toilet paper but also use colored toilet paper on special occasions.


While colored toilet paper is still available in the market, they are not what it used to be in the 60s and 70s. Whether the colored toilet paper will make a complete comeback to our bathrooms is something that remains to be seen, although I’m doubtful.