Sunday, January 30, 2011

The trick to getting the most out of your toothpaste

Getting the last drop of toothpaste out can be a breeze if you just follow this one easy trick. You can get your toothpaste container to look like the emaciated tube shown without any gadgets, any effort, or any time!

Before closing the lid, squeeze all the air out of the tube. This will push the paste right up to the edge of the cap as shown in the image.

Amazing! But how does it work?
Well the way that monkeys squeeze toothpaste is with their hands and fingers. The problem with that is they can only squeeze hard on one part at a time- the paste will leave the spot under your finger and move around it. Then when you let go, or squeeze another spot - the paste goes right back.
Instead of this frustrating method, I use air pressure to squeeze every inch of the tube all at the same time, and all day long! When you close it, there is a small amount of tension created by the reinforced circular bit near the lid. This tension creates a small low-pressure area directly under the cap. The atmospheric air pressure then squeezes the whole tube and pushes any free liquid up into the cap area. This happens constantly, whenever the lid is closed. If you make this a new habit then you won't have to squeeze at all until almost all of the paste is gone.

Once you get nearer to the last drops, pull on each end (it will feel like you are stretching the tube apart) for about 2 seconds, with the cap still on. That should suck enough paste into the cap region to temporarily relieve any pressure and allow you to easily squeeze out some paste and re-cap in the right condition.

How do fools solve this problem?
Now its time for me to rant. It turns out that most frugal people find this task really difficult, lots of people have talked about it, some have written poems about it but there are only four ways that people suggest
  • The caveman method: Push and squeeze with table corners, books, rocks and fingers.
  • The spoiled kid method: Purchase a moronic tool to help you caveman it, there are loads of them out there.
  • The nerdy method: Design some "brilliant" contraption to get it out.
  • The OCD method: Cut the tube in half and wipe every last molecule off (perhaps by licking it - then quickly brushing your teeth before swallowing.
Out of all these methods, only the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder strategy works better than mine, but the downside is that you need to be OCD to actually feel like carrying it out.

One more word on the scope of this problem:
consumer reports says that people leave about 1-13% of it in the bottle when they throw it out.
They actually recommend all the silly methods above:
"Squeeze or bend tube as best you can, pull it over a counter's edge, or use a toothpaste squeezer, about $3."
--- Consumer Reports
I would like to give a name to this new method of getting all the paste out:
  • Paste Pressure Pusher
Feel free to comment if you are going to give this a try, have seen this done before, or have other ideas for names.


  1. physics saves the day again :D

  2. I guess that my english is not that good: "tug both ends"?

    Video anyone?

  3. Hey I edited it to be more clear "Once you get nearer to the last drops, pull on each end (it will feel like you are stretching the tube apart) for about 2 seconds, with the cap still on."
    ... maybe I'll make a video ...

  4. Hey, congratulations!

    You're on Gizmodo: