Ever Wondered Why Tissue is Always White?

Believe it or not, it’s not always like that.


Everywhere we go, we need something to wipe our hands, face, mouth, or any part of our bodies with. Yes, a handkerchief is a stable answer but a lot of people usually go to the disposable side and use toilet paper or tissue instead. That white piece of paper pulp is an essential thing to bring almost anywhere. Have you ever thought of its color? Have you ever questioned why tissue is always white?

Tissue is always white but why? Are there colored ones?
This image was taken from Pixabay | Pixabay.com

Firstly, we need to understand how it’s made. Before we dive deeper into the topic, let’s find out why and how toilet paper or tissue is made. Making a product is the start of everything, right? So understanding how tissue is made is a key factor in determining the reason why tissue is always white.


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What is tissue made of?

Well, toilet paper and tissue—they’re technically the same thing. It’s just that toilet paper is a bit harder in texture compared to tissue because it has heightened uses as compared to regular tissue.

Tissue vs. Toilet paper

To end the dilemma, they’re literally the same thing. Toilet paper is the type of tissue you use in the bathroom for wiping… tissue, on the other hand, is the softer version that we use to wipe left debris off of our mouths after eating. They’re the same thing, they’re made the same and just has different variants on how to be used depending on what and where the situation is.

Tissue or toilet paper is made up of cellulose fibers that come from a variety of things like recycled paper, even trees. Innovation Manager of Research and Development for the Cascades Tissue Group and Chemist Jessica Carette explains how these make up tissue.

She says that the fibers that either come from trees or recycled paper is mixed with water and that creates the pulp. The creation is actually a simple two-step process: making the raw paper for it and the conversion of it to the end product—the type that you purchase in stores.

Tissue manufacturers say that the wood pulp is dissolved and converted to raw paper. It becomes whiter when the wood pulp gets bleached with chlorine and/or hydrogen peroxide. The funny thing is, the whitening and the bleaching process is not necessarily made to make the tissue white. In fact, it’s the process that softens and cleans that paper.

The question still stands on why tissue is always white…

The real reason why tissue is always white!
This image was taken from Pexels | Pexels.com

Wood pulps and cellulose fibers are naturally white in color, says Carette. The only thing different in color is the glue or the stick that is holding them together—that color, however, is a shade of brown. When it gets bleached, though, that brownish color goes away. So, it’s safe to say that because of the natural color of what composes tissue, it would really become white. Add bleach to the formula and the whiteness of the final product intensifies.


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Recycled paper

Another thing worth noting is the fact that since tissue is made from paper, recycled paper, which is usually white paper with plain black text, is an additive to the equation. The thing here is that whatever tissue is made of, the natural composition of the raw materials in creating tissue is—guess what—white.

To conclude, the white color of tissue is actually a better conventional reason and functional because tissue does not necessarily have to be white for it to become absorbent and soft for the touch of the skin.

Other tissue and toilet paper colors?

If you try to look at pictures back in the 1950’s and 1940’s, you will notice that toilet paper and tissue is not always white in color, at least naturally. Although white tissue and toilet paper is the norm, colored tissue was a trend in the past especially in the mid 1950’s.

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Usually, business owners and designers would partner up the color of their tissue rolls or toilet papers to the theme of their bathroom or whatever the room is. Before, this was considered to be a complementary style to add to the architecture of a room or an establishment.

The trend, however, eventually fell because of the concern that pastel dyes aren’t, in any shape, good for our skin and our overall health and the environment.

In addition to the reason why tissue is always white, producing colored tissue and toilet paper is a bit more costly. This forced a lot of establishments to make and create natural tissue and toilet paper—which is white in color, naturally.

Since then, it has been the norm and is followed by a lot of different brands. As it became an accepted fact that tissue is always white, we still can’t deny the fact that there was a time when toilet paper and/or tissue also comes with style.

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Consumer views and preference

North American consumers also actually believed that the whiter toilet paper and tissue is, the cleaner it is. This is why people from all over the world accepted the fact that tissue is white because of the preference of Westerners.

However, some places, especially in Europe, they still have colored toilet papers. Some tissue papers even come in black, according to Carette.

So, in conclusion, the real reason why tissue is always white is because of what comprises it; recycled paper, wood pulp, and tree bark—they’re white in color naturally. Even if you “think” and see that it’s brown (because of the glue), the natural colors of these raw materials is white. Plus, it gets bleached to make the surface smoother and to even out the linen.

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But, contrary to popular belief, the color of tissue does not indicate anything in terms of hygiene and cleanliness. It’s more of a style and a preference of theme.

So if you are looking for a bit more style to add to your room or your bathroom, try tampering with the color of your tissue. You can buy a lot of different colored toilet paper including Renova. They offer a lot of colored tissue paper that has a wide variety of colors. From pink, blue, even green—it’s something you really should try because it’s not just pleasing to the eyes, it’s also an additive factor for style.


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