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Thank Goodness for Toothpaste Tube Instructions!

November 30th, 2017 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

We live in a silly world. We shrug as the list of countries with nuclear weapons grows but we have printed warnings that coffee may be hot, plastic bags should not be placed over your head and, now, we have instructions for getting toothpaste out of a tube.

I noticed the other day, on a tube of “regular paste” Crest, the instructions for use are printed on the tube in bright red letters, all caps. (As can be seen above.)

Actually, I am thankful that Procter & Gamble, makers of the paste, were thoughtful enough to include instructions because I confess to sometimes being a bit unsure of the process. It can be tricky, no?

For example:

When first confronted with a tube of paste, in those years after my mother stopped putting paste on my brush, I wondered if the end that has a screw top was meant to be bitten off — like the safety pin of a grenade. I watched a lot of movies where GIs pulled the pin on grenades with their teeth.

But as the years went by I became a bit concerned that pulling a grenade pin with your teeth probably was not good for teeth … and since paste is meant to promote dental health, probably biting off the cap was wrongheaded.

But when I used the cap, and squeezed the tube just below … I got about 10 or 15 caterpillars of paste — and then all of it in the other half just sat there! Beyond my reach. I could barely get a toothpick into the capped end, and I certainly couldn’t reach the rest of the paste.

Upon further review, I considered using scissors to get to the paste. Scissors are good for cutting those kind of rubbery/hard plastic coverings. Like those put around electronic goods to curtail pilfering.

I first tried cutting the tube in half, because then I could access the paste from either direction of the (now) two-part tube. I used my finger for a while, but then I noticed that I could stick my toothbrush through the large cut the scissors had made, and wiggle the brush around and it would come out with some paste on it.

Eventually, I noticed that cutting the tube in half was causing something of a mess on the washstand. Some of the paste was oozing onto the porcelain, especially in the summer, and that did not make for an attractive vision — though it did catch a few flies.

So, I began cutting the tube at the end opposite the screw top. Only one opening, and not nearly as much paste got on the porcelain.

The problem with that was … that the paste eventually was not reachable from the cut-off end. And no matter how long I held up the tube, open end down, waiting for gravity to aid in my quest … nothing happened! Once, I held up the tube for half an hour, and not one iota of paste came down to the open end. What was up with that? Toothpaste in tubes defies the laws of gravity? Do physics professors know about this?

Sometime around the turn of the century, I noticed this red type on each and every Crest tube. In bright red. All caps.

Finally! Instructions for extracting paste. After all these years of negligence on the part of the company. (Though I should note that the type really is kinda small, and had I discovered it much later my eyes may not have been good enough to read the instructions.)


I read that once, twice, thrice, and thought about it … and after some practice I figured it out. Finally!

This method works in a couple of ways. You can squeeze from the flat end right from the start, and the pressure steadily moves most of the paste toward the capped end. It takes a little practice, but give it a try!

Or, you can squeeze in the middle until it goes flat and, after a time, address the bulge at the far end by squeezing it vigorously, pushing it up and through the flattened middle of the tube.

This now works like a dream. Not only does my tube of paste last weeks, I can get a few more days by squeezing the stiffer area just below the cap.

And to think, all these years of doing it wrong!

Thank goodness P&G got around to printing this. I have fewer cavities and the washstand is much neater and I save money by needing fewer tubes of Crest. Now I can turn my attention to nuclear proliferation.



1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Bob Ama // Mar 1, 2021 at 4:37 PM

    This advice has been printed on tubes of toothpaste since at least the 1980s, you young whipper snapper!

    …and get off my lawn!

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