The Last Drop

You could say I’m cheap. Or I’m lazy and didn’t want to go to the store. Or that I didn’t want to buy something that I was just going to have to move in two weeks (yikes! two weeks?!). I prefer “environmentally responsible.”

Whatever you call it, I believe in using every bit of what I paid for.

So when we had to re-glue the dinghy rubrail after its winter storage (the dinghy we had at the house and were selling, not the one on Barefoot Gal), I ended up cutting the tube of 4200 apart to get it all out using an old discount card. There was just enough to do the job.

Call it being cheap. Or environmentally responsible. Tips to help you get the last drop out of everything you buy.

Many times, when there’s a cured plug of sealant blocking the opening, the whole tube isn’t bad. If you squeeze it and it’s still soft below, you can cut it open and scrape out the good stuff. True, you can’t save any of it (quick — look around and see if there’s another project you should do with the rest) but it’s better than throwing the whole tube away.

Similarly, when dish soap, shampoo and condtioner are getting to the bottom of the bottle, I add some water and shake it up. Voilà! Enough for at least another week . . . or, I’m hoping, two. It’s thinned, so I have to use a bigger squirt, but it still works perfectly well.

Call it being cheap. Or environmentally responsible. Tips to help you get the last drop out of everything you buy.

We do the same thing on the boat. Not only does it save money, but we don’t have to carry as much with us to remote places.

And for things like sealant, not having to open another tube to finish a job reduces the chances that it’ll go bad before we need it the next time.

My mom always saved the “empty” catsup bottles and then when she made meatloaf, she’d add a bit of water to the bottle, shake it and use it in place of the catsup and water called for in the recipe. I do the same when making my own barbecue sauce — which calls for both catsup and mustard and a bit of water doesn’t hurt it even though not actually part of the recipe.

Got other ways for getting the last drop out of containers? Leave it in the comments!

  • Janice Fleischmann
    Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

    Add a little cider or balsamic vinegar to an almost empty mayo jar and swish around and add herbs or spices of your choice – makes great salad dressing. Anything that is sugary like jam or syrup can be warmed to loosen it up so you can pour the last bit out.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

      Ooh, I like the salad dressing idea — hadn’t heard of that before. And I’d forgotten about the honey and syrup trick! Thanks for adding it.

  • susanlynn allen
    Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

    Carolyn, I have been doing this “saving” things for years. When I slice into a tube of something to get to the amount left there and there is more than I need to use, I put both halves of the tube into an old moisturizer tub. With the lid on tight, this usually keeps the leftovers for the next job. The old 4 oz tubs cleaned out can come in handy for a variety of uses. (I have always felt that companies could come up with better packaging so that there is a smaller amount of waste.)

  • Sara Burns
    Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

    Oh man, I am an habitual last dropper. I pour my hot coffee into the half and half container and shake it up to get the last drop of that.

  • Ginny Teatro
    Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

    I am such a getitall gal, I use a spatula for hair products, lotion, shampoo,mayonnaise, I think you get the picture.

  • Shireen Beeson Reynolds
    Posted at 01 June 2015 Reply

    I put anything in a tube on the counter and use the back of a comb to flatten the tube from the bottom up to get every last bit I paid for…

    • Barbara Lowell
      Posted at 26 June 2015 Reply

      YES, and after I do this I cut the tube in half, look into the newly opened end and you find a glob in both ends. Take out with a q-tip or popsicle stick, then slide the end of the tube of the flat part over the newly cut end of the tube with the original opening and it stores until you use it up. So then you have basically the tube cut in half slid together which looks like half the size of the orig. You will have to usually squeeze the bottom together and then slide the other end over. I learned this with expensive face creams. Works on anything, even tubes of caulk.

  • Bert Sailor
    Posted at 02 June 2015 Reply

    Before you go throught all that trouble, just estimate the value of he left overs against the value of your effort

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 02 June 2015 Reply

      If it’s all I have and there’s no store nearby, the value is pretty high! Likewise, the value of storing a little less stuff on the boat can be pretty high when it’s already stuffed to the gills for a trip. 🙂

      • Louise
        Posted at 02 June 2015 Reply

        I agree! And don’t forget the benefit of having completely cleaned out food containers to put into the garbage or recycling. In hot climates, any little residue will mold and stink quickly, or attract bugs. When traveling through places where getting rid of the garbage can take a week or more (such as the Bahamas), the value of that alone skyrockets.

    • Lynn Kaak
      Posted at 02 June 2015 Reply

      Good call. If their time was worth, say, $15/hr, is 50¢ of product worth the effort? Unless you are trying to be environmentally responsible, then there is no price tag on that.

  • Cookie Johnson
    Posted at 02 June 2015 Reply

    I use the ketchup bottle with water to make sloppy joes! I look for moisturizer and makeup in jars so I can use all of it! I hate makeup in the bottles where most of it is left behind!

  • phototristan
    Posted at 03 June 2015 Reply
  • Diane D
    Posted at 04 June 2015 Reply

    I found a “new” funnel this year for draining bottles…like this one even BETTER…holds the 2 bottles together much better than my former gadget…

  • Betty Adams
    Posted at 04 June 2015 Reply

    When I can’t squeeze any more out of the tube of sunscreen, I cut it open and scrape the remains with whatever is handy, then put it in a little jar. Actually I do this with any empty tube or bottle. I am always amazed at how much is left.

  • Connie Smith
    Posted at 07 July 2016 Reply

    If you refrigerate the 4200, 5200 after opening the tube, the top doesn’t dry out.

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