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Are Dispensing Holes in Products Getting Bigger So You Use More?

We have reported on various packaging and product tricks like shrinkflation, skimpflation, slack-fill, and measuring cap changes, but we haven’t talked about the size of the holes through which a product is dispensed. Some people have suggested the hole is getting bigger, so you wind up using more. We even got an inquiry from a New Zealand consumer TV show asking about this.

So MrConsumer checked his bountiful stock of toothpaste and found two tubes to compare. While not a perfect comparison because they are different varieties, it gives you a good sense if the allegations are true at least for Colgate.

The tube on top is Colgate Optic White with an expiration date in 2023 while the one beneath expired in 2013 — a 10 year difference.

Colgate boxes

Checking the diameter of the holes reveals something surprising.


Colgate holes

They are both 8mm wide. So at least with respect to these varieties of Colgate over a decade, the hole did not get bigger.

I am not able to compare Crest tubes because I do not use the brand generally and don’t have a supply of old ones. Maybe some readers do and can take measurements and report them in the comments.

Even if it is just a perception that toothpaste holes are too big and may be getting bigger, a product called Screwge was sent to me to make toothpaste tubes last longer. These are specially-made replacement caps for both Colgate and Crest with only a tiny hole in them, so you use much less.


With respect to other products, the hole on some eye drop bottles is larger than it needs to be because the drops wind up dripping down one’s face.


Eye Drop holes

Dr. S, a regular reader and optometrist, wrote in to say you can screw on a cap replacement called Nanodropper that dispenses a smaller drop to reduce waste. It is compatible with most, but not all eyecare products.

And clearly, the hole on Dawn dishwashing liquid has gotten larger over the years.


Dawn holes

Feel free to comment on the hole size of various products you use in the comments.

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22 thoughts on “Are Dispensing Holes in Products Getting Bigger So You Use More?”

  1. You are correct I noticed the holes were much larger on the new container of Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser for SS pots and pans, but unfortunately I didn’t save the the old container to send a photo comparing the two. I only peeled the top sticker half way so not all the holes were exposed.

  2. I use a prescription eyedrop and also Visine. The prescription bottle has a tiny hole and very little is wasted. The Visine has a larger hole and my cheeks always get wet.

    • Same is true for Clear Eyes drops. I thought it was just me being clumsier or something. Now I know better but feel duped. What will they think of next?

  3. I wet my brush and dip it into my inexpensive box – with the very large hole – of 79 cent chemical-free baking soda.

  4. What we all are learning week after week from reading Consumer World is that many companies leave no stone unturned in their efforts to deceptively extract money from us consumers. Have they no shame?

  5. This is a nice report to read. At least this one is probably not happening. I would encourage readers to get a clip to use for toothpaste, it seems cheap, but I promise you’ll get like 15-25% more use out of the tube by pressing it with a clip/roller.

    Something I would add that is in a similar vein to this is that companies are finding new ways to “encourage” users to use more doap. Dawn is a great example as they have two new products out that are hoping will greatly increase how much soap people use:

    The first is their dish soap bottle that can be stored spout down. While convenient, this design is going to give you a better grip on bottle and encourage you to squeeze out more soap.

    The second is their new spray which just basically encourages you to spray a sink worth of soap onto each dish.

    • Have you also found that dish soaps are a lot more “liquidy” so to speak? A while back when I was using my dish soap (Palmolive maybe?) I noticed that it ran like water, ridiculous amounts. I thought it might have been just that one bottle, a fluke. I checked out the different kinds the next time I went to the store and nope, all the Palmolives were like that. Dawn seems to be a little better but still liquidy. Talk about using way more than needed!

      • I have used the green Palmolive for years, it’s the only one whose smell doesn’t make me gag, but I also noticed that it wasn’t lasting as long & has been a bit more watery (I think it’s when they changed the formula & made it more environmentally friendly)?

    • I’ve never tried a roller but with various other simple means of flattening an almost-empty tube I am able to get a few extra days of use from the tube. Carefully use a long nose pliers or use a hard block to squeegee the tube against a hard, flat part of the sink top. Not only do I save money but I minimize waste.

    • I have one of those spout down bottles and like it. I don’t think I’m dispensing more soap.

  6. I’m getting too old. I remember when the only make-you-use-more trick was the label that read “Apply a liberal portion, lather, rinse, and REPEAT.” (Capitalization is mine)

    And with my prescription toothpaste at 20 bucks a tube, I draw the tube down over the edge of the counter to push every last bit up to the top.

  7. Bigger Dawn holes are fine with me. I have used Dawn for a long time, and for convenience have cut off the little snap lid on the top. However, I found that over a week or so, it would gradually plug up because the viscous liquid was not able to drain back down, so dried up and eventually sealed the hole. The solution was just drill out a bigger hole by 50%, and now the entire bottle can be used without a plugging problem. Sure, more comes out, but you quickly learn to moderate it and get just the amount you need for the job at hand. What about bigger holes in general for other products? Again, they might get you the first time, but you figure it out quickly enough and it becomes the new normal.

  8. I have no research to back up my allegation, but it seems to me that toothpaste is getting soupier (is that a word?) By watering down the product you get less and squeeze out more.
    The hole probably looks bigger because the tubes keep getting smaller.

  9. I noticed the ‘hole’ size difference with Lawry’s Lemon Pepper, the holes are almost twice as large as they were a few years ago.

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