Why Is There a Colored Block on My Toothpaste Tube?

Square, colored marks are circled in red on five different product tubes.
Jason Fitzpatrick

There’s a curious little detail on your toothpaste: a colored block right at the top seam. Given that it’s truly just a small, colored square, does it serve any real purpose? It does!

Those color blocks at the top of your tube of toothpaste are for the manufacturers, and the color and location can vary. They can be red, green, or blue, and they might be located in the center of the tube or on the side, but they always sit over the sealed seam at the end.

Thanks to the color variety, you might be inclined to think the blocks are related to ingredients, or even toothpaste flavors, but the explanation is simpler than that.

According to Colgate, these colored squares tell light sensors at the factory where the end of the tube is. When the square is recognized, a machine cuts and seals the tube exactly where needed.

Pretty neat, right? And this isn’t limited to toothpaste. Check out any other products that come in tubes in your bathroom or kitchen, and you’ll see that they have these blocks, as well.

This isn’t the first time we’ve explored weird shapes on products that have a specific purpose.

At the base of your bag of chips, you’ve probably seen a few multicolored circles. Like the toothpaste blocks, these aren’t related to the food itself, but they’re for the printers. They ensure that the correct colors are being used for each brand.

So, next time you go to brush your teeth or grab a snack, you’ll know why those funny little details are there.

[Via Taste of Home]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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