Toothpaste Dots and Other Toothpaste Packing Hacks

We’re excited to introduce our new series, “Packing Hacks,” which turns the female traveler into MacGyver. We’ll take everyday objects and come up with new uses to make your travel experience easier. 

This week we’re starting with a liquid (well… paste) that can be pretty annoying to pack, particularly if it explodes in your bag: toothpaste!

Travel Size Toothpaste Refills

Ah, those pesky travel sized toothpastes. You buy one for $1 every time you go on a trip and end up tossing them afterwards, but you could easily refill them. Just press a full-sized tube up against the travel-sized tube and squeeze gently, as you would when refilling a shampoo bottle. After all, reusing bottles is better for the environment.

Make Your Own Travel Toothpaste Container

make your own travel toothpaste tubes

Make your own travel toothpaste tubes.

Another toothpaste hack is to find another container for your toothpaste that’s not as fragile and takes up less room. An eye dropper works great, particularly for weekend camping trips. Just squeeze enough out onto your toothbrush and you’re ready to start the day. Pictured below, we have a small squeeze bottle that could work for longer trips.

DIY Single Use Toothpaste Packs

DIY single use toothpaste packs.

DIY single use toothpaste packs.

A secondary storage option is making single use tubes of toothpaste and other liquids. Take a pair of needle nose pliers and pinch the end of a straw. Hold it over a flame to seal the plastic until you can’t see any holes. Cut the straw into one inch pieces. On the other end, squeeze one brushing’s worth of toothpaste or however much you prefer. Clamp the second end and seal with the flame as you did before. You can also punch holes in one side to put on a string. This packing hack ensures that you bring only as much as you will need for the trip.

Liquid Free Toothpaste Dots

Toothpaste dots.

Make your own dry toothpaste dots.

To avoid liquids altogether, we’ve tested out Lush’s Toothy Tabs solid toothpaste that you chew to brush. But you can make your own at home with items you already have. Get a piece of aluminum foil and gently squeeze out small dots of toothpaste onto it. Sprinkle with baking soda to avoid sticking. When they’re solid, which may take three or so days, pop them into a plastic bag and you’re ready to go! Be sure to avoid gel toothpastes, as they won’t solidify. I had to test it out a few times before I changed toothpastes.

Do you have any other toothpaste packing hacks to share?


  1. Carol says

    For long trips and/or when you want to save pack weight, tooth powder instead of paste works well. It’s also TSA compliant. I used both Colgate and Pepsodent tooth powders for years, but they’re impossible to find these days.

  2. Yonna says

    I put my toothpaste in a thoroughly cleaned eye drops bottle. I put the toothpaste into the bottle, and poured a bit of mouthwash in with it (shake very well to mix it up), to thin it out a bit. Once it’s at a consistency that allows it to be squeezed out of the bottle, I am ready to go! The whole bottle lasted me a 2week trip to Europe, and didn’t take up much space in my 3-1-1 bag either.

  3. says

    Oh I love the dots! I am really excited to give it a try. The travel sized toothpastes are always just a bit too small for a full week trip. It drives me nuts.

  4. Christina H says

    I think this post is missing the point of Toothy Tabs. One of the main reasons for them is to cut down on waste. Once tabs are gone, the box is recyclable. However with these “tooth dots” above you have the non-recyclable tube plus the (if you’re using the baking soda container pictured, not the box) a recyclable (well, photodegradable) plastic container. Or you can reuse it. But the point is that by doing this you have created more waste. Freezing it on tinfoil (that will likely not be reused) and then transferred to a plastic bag. This is a far cry from Toothy Tabs.

  5. Christina H says

    I would like to note that I realize the point here is for traveling — but it doesn’t change these are nowhere near comparible to the Lush product.

  6. Tamara says

    So if I dried out like 10 days worth of these toothpaste dot things would I be better off doing that or just taking a tube of it? And would I be able to just take these in a little jar in my carry on in my 3-1-1 bag?


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