I work in a workshop, and share toilets with 25+ workers. When they dispense paper towels the roll keeps spinning and some paper towel is wasted when it falls to the floor (5 or 6 squares at a time). So, we need to buy paper towels a lot to keep in stock.

I was planning to use a spring to hold a metallic piece against the paper towel to keep it from spinning out of control, but I am not sure because this isn't so original and may be a bad idea.

How can I decrease the waste of paper towels in the bathroom? (Without Electricity!)

toilet paper This is very bad :(

  • 5
    Buy a paper towel dispenser. It's a tool designed for this problem.
    – gunr2171
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:06
  • buy higher quality paper towels so people don't need to use as much
    Sep 2, 2015 at 18:06
  • 3
    There must be like a thousand of different paper towel dispensers not needing any electricity, Why lifehack it when it only costs a few bucks ? By the way, it looks like you're using regular paper towel in the toilets, be aware this might be more prone to clogging your toilets than usual toilet paper which dissolve much faster in the water.
    – Laurent S.
    Sep 3, 2015 at 8:35
  • 1
    @LaurentS. I know the thousand types are available, but I didn't buy this. If I find a good solution with using this, I would be more happy. By the way, we are not using paper towels, we have toilet papers to do so. The place is far from closets.
    – Bay
    Sep 3, 2015 at 11:56
  • 1
    It's a shame that you're in a building full of supposedly intelligent people that could use the tools attached to the ends of their arms to prevent this from happening (i.e. this shouldn't need a life hack, just a level of paper dispensing competence slightly above that of a kitten/2 year old child)
    – Caius Jard
    May 7, 2021 at 9:23

4 Answers 4


This has a built-in tension spring to get around just this problem. As you can see from the image below, the disk on the side of the roll adds tension and keeps the roll from spinning endlessly.

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  • Seems like this would work Sep 18, 2015 at 16:02

The spinning in my experience happens most when the rolls are half or more empty, then gravity will help and the lid/cover “brake” less. One of the holders in our house has the same problem as the model in the question.

We circumvent the problem by giving the roll one good squeeze, flattening the cardboard core. This prevents the “free spinning” without hampering regular tissue pulling. No modification or exchange of the paper holder required.

enter image description here


Me and my friend have been found a solution. The way is very basic and economical. The plastic spare is a part of 19LT water bottle. With only 8 screws, we can bring three woods together and put some glue for making strong each other. Now, nobody can hold lots of towel, it is limited by the plastic part.

enter image description here

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You can also ask owner of the place (or whoever responsible for the toilets themselves) to buy and install such a dispenser:

Toilet paper dispenser with hole in the middle

The paper comes out of a small hole in the middle, one in a time, so there's no waste. I have this in my own workplace for several years now and it's really good, though sometimes the paper get stuck.

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