It’s easy to take toilet paper for granted, but just picture this: you’re out in the woods, nature calls, and all you’ve got is a leaf to work with. Suddenly, that roll of TP seems like much more of a blessing.

Believe it or not, toilet paper as we know it today only really came into the picture in the 1800s. Before that, our ancestors had to get pretty inventive to stay fresh after handling their business.

Without further ado (a-poo?), let’s dive into the history of how people wiped their bottoms through the ages, look at how different cultures handle it now, and explore the many ways we get our wipe on post-loo!

Japanese Toilet Sign
Pompeii Bathroom

How did ancient cultures wipe their behinds?

Back in the day, ancient cultures had to come up with their own ways of staying fresh and clean. Here are just a few notable examples:

  • In ancient Rome, most people used a "tersorium" – basically, a stick with a sponge on the end. After using it, they'd dip it in a mix of water and vinegar and pass it around to the next person. You might have your own personal sponge if you were wealthy enough, but most folks just shared the stick.
  • The ancient Greeks would use smooth bits of pottery called "ostraka" to clean themselves. Ostraka were also used for writing messages, prescriptions, and receipts, so let’s hope they were never mixed up with the bathroom-variety!
  • VIkings used whatever nature offered – moss, grass, you name it – along with their left hand, for post-bathroom tidying up.
  • Islamic cultures would use a small pot of water, known as a "lota," and use their left hand to clean themselves. It matched up with their teachings about staying hygienic.
  • Ancient China used water and even laid the groundwork for toilet paper way back in the 6th century AD, although the paper they used looked and felt a lot different to the kind we use now.

Some of their methods might sound odd to modern ears, but they were making the best out of what they had – there was no TP or bidets for them to rely on. Still, I bet you’re glad you’re not stuck sharing a sponge stick with your friends today!

How do people in different regions clean themselves?

Thanks to the advent of modern sanitation systems, we’ve been able to step up our bathroom game over the last few hundred years. That doesn’t mean we’re all sticking to loo roll, though – 70% to 75% of the world’s population doesn’t use it at all!

So, what other alternatives are out there? Let’s take a look at how a few different regions keep things fresh:

  • Toilet paper is the go-to choice in many Western countries, like the US, Canada, and parts of Europe. It's pretty simple – just grab some paper and wipe!
  • Some countries in Europe and Asia prefer to use a bidet, a bathroom fixture that sprays water to clean you up after you've done your business. It may or may not be used alongside TP.
  • In much of South Asia and the Middle East, people use water and their left hand to clean up. Their right hand is for eating and other daily activities, so they save the left hand for this. They might use a small pitcher or a spray bottle to help out.
  • Special mention goes to Japan and their famously futuristic toilets. Featuring built-in bidets with water pressure control, adjustable seat temperatures, and even air drying options, they take getting clean to the next level!

All in all, how people tidy up after going to the bathroom depends on where they live and what they’re used to. Whether it’s toilet paper, bidets, or good ol’ water and hand, everyone’s got their own style!

Japanese Toilet Controls
Toilet Kiss 1

So, how do you wipe your bum?

Of course, even people who use toilet paper have their own unique ways of doing things. According to a survey, about 65% of people like to do their wiping while sitting, while the remaining 35% prefer to stand up.

Some people like to dampen the loo roll with tap water before they go in for the wipe, while a few adventurous souls use hand sanitiser or even vodka to amp up the cleanliness. This isn’t something we’d recommend, mind you – your skin is likely to rebel after enough exposure to these harsh substances, with stinging and chafing sure to come. Ouch!

Shop five-star sugarcane loo rolls for a five-star clean

Not to blow our own trumpet, but we at Sweet Cheeks think we’ve nailed the art of keeping things clean back there. Our secret weapon? Our super sustainable, super soft sugarcane toilet paper!

Not only are our rolls soft and gentle on your skin, but they’re also as strong as regular wood-pulp rolls – so if you’re into dampening your TP pre-wipe, you can rely on our rolls to handle it like a champ. They’re also 100% fragrance-free, making them a win for anyone with sensitive skin.

That’s not all. Our 3-ply loo rolls pack a whopping 400 sheets each, making them double the length of other brands. That means fewer trips to the store and extra money staying in your pocket!

So, why not take a peek at our whole lineup of rolls? Your bum will thank you, promise!

loo roll