What Did People Use Before There Was Toilet Paper?

Before toilet paper, people used stones, clay, corncobs, leaves and even sticks tipped with a sponge to clean themselves after going to the bathroom. Southeast Asians innovated with scrap paper, and later Sears catalogs and other mass mail were put to good use in the outhouse.

When water was available, it was customary for the poor of many cultures to simply use one hand after eliminating, washing well afterward. When they did use material, it was generally the simplest, softest disposable items at hand, such as leaves, grass, moss or rags. Wealthier people often used cloth or raw wool. Roman bathrooms, whether they were public or in private homes, shared the stick and sponge, which was kept in a highly saline bucket to sterilize it.