Being an ID major makes being poor fun! That's what we told ourselves as indigent art students, inventing creative ways to get the last iota of toothpaste out of the tube. Anyone who's dedicated time to this activity discovers a shocking amount of extra brushing sessions hidden in that seemingly flat foil wedge.
Methods we experimented with: flattening the tube between a 2x4 and the sink top, the "triangle fold," mashing the tube flat with a ball-peen hammer (not recommended!), and cutting the tube open with a straight razor to scrape out the last 12 cents worth of fluoride goodness.
If we had access to tooling and start-up capital we'd have designed a product to solve the problem. We'd also have found quite a bit of competition--click the link below to see what's out there.
The Toothpaste Squeezer is backed by a lifetime warranty--which saves you the hassle of trying to locate a Toothpaste Squeezer service technician, in the event this device with one moving part somehow breaks down. (Source.)
The Rolling Toothpaste Squeezer and Hanger Gadget has been rated 4 out of 5 stars! Admittedly, those rankings come from only two customer's reviews. And one of the customers said the $2.57 device should be "cheaper"--he must be an ID student. (Source.)
These promotional toothpaste squeezers can be custom-imprinted with company logos and surprise marriage proposals. Then again you have to order a minimum of 125, so if you're doing the proposal thing you'll have to cast a pretty wide net. (Sources 1 and 2.)
The Toothbrush with a Detachable Toothpaste Squeezer & Flexible Tongue Scraper Holder features a built-in toothpaste squeezer, tongue scraper holder, and detachable brush head. Why does it detach? So you can swap it out for "other oral hygiene implements." Unsurprisingly, this one is still in the patent stage. (Source.)
Allegro Medical's Tube Squeezer is the least offensive-looking of the bunch, with that clean hospital aesthetic. It's a "turn-key operation." (Source.)
Ableware's Easy Out Tube Squeezer has "a unique feature allows the last drop to be squeezed from the nozzle of the tube after the tube has been expelled up to the collar." Unfortunately they dont' tell you what that feature is, and it sure as heck isn't obvious from the photo. We hope they fire their marketing person. (Source.)
Eggmix's method on Instructables yields impressive results and doesn't require you to buy anything. And as you can see, the resultant tube looks like it can now be used to split atoms.
The apparently Mick-Jagger-inspired "Lip-o-Suction" we saw on BoingBoing a couple years ago has, we think, been discontinued; finding one for sale is harder than getting Stones tickets.
Gill Mechanical Co's Tube-Wringer is our hands-down favorite. Plastic version, photo above. Sure it's intended for paint tubes, but the metal version, photo below, puts the "industrial" in industrial design. Plus they sell it at art stores, like this one.