It was the mid-19th century when toilet paper started its unstoppable march into American bathrooms, thanks to a canny entrepreneur called Joseph Gayetty. And there you might think is the end of the matter, because toilet paper is what everyone uses. Right? Wrong! There’s a whole new movement of people renouncing paper and instead using what they call “family cloth.”
Instead, some Americans are using what’s called “family cloth” to clean up after using the bathroom. We’ll get back to why that should be so in a moment. But for now let’s find out a bit more about the history of toilet paper and the range of alternatives that fulfilled the same purpose before its invention. First, it’s worth pointing out that best estimates indicate that some 70 percent of the world’s population, that’s about 5.4 billion people, never use toilet paper.