The xylospongium, also known as sponge on a stick, is the ancient precursor of the modern toilet brush. It consists of a wooden stick ( Greek: ξύλον, Xylon) with a sponge (Greek: Σπόγγος, Spongos) fixed at one end.
In the classical antiquity a xylospongium might be used in the same way as we use a toilet brush. All primary sources implicate the use of a xylospongium in the context of ancient latrines, but none clarifies the handling exactly.
In the baths of the seven sages in Ostia, a fresco from the 2nd century contains the Inscription (u)taris xylosphongio which is the first known mention of the term. Also in the early second century a papyrus letter of Claudius Terentianus to his father Claudius Tiberianus uses the term xylospongium in a phrase.
In the middle of the first century Seneca reported that a Germanic gladiator had committed suicide with a sponge on a stick. The German hid himself in the latrine of an amphitheater and pushed the wooden stick into his gullet and choked to death.