Tracing its history back to New York in the early 19th century, Colgate was the first company to ever mass-produce toothpaste. William Colgate was a soap and candle maker who began selling his product under the name William Colgate & Company. Most people know that Colgate started as an American-made brand, but do they continue to produce their world-famous toothpaste in the United States?
In this article, we’ll dig into exactly where Colgate makes their toothpaste, as well as their history and other interesting facts about the company.
Colgate toothpaste is made in the United States, Mexico, and other countries around the world. The Colgate Total line is manufactured in Morristown, Tennessee.
Their toothpaste that is made in the USA is usually clearly marked with “made in the USA” or “proudly made by American workers,” as you see in the picture I took below.
When you buy any Colgate product, you are supporting an American-based company, but some products have a bigger impact than others; their Total toothpaste, and other products that are manufactured in the US, also support American jobs at their American-based facilities in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and other states. Now that you know about Colgate’s history and product lines, as well as its charity initiatives, it’s up to you as a consumer to decide what to do next.
You can find Colgate Total toothpaste, which is made in the USA, here. There are currently ten products in the Total toothpaste line, which cover most of the specific dental hygiene needs you might have. Colgate offers Whitening, Gum Protection, Deep Clean, Daily Repair, Advanced Whitening, Whitening + Charcoal, Fresh + Whitening, Whitening Gel, and other varieties of Total toothpaste. There are no kids’ toothpaste varieties in the Total toothpaste line as of yet, but pretty much any other variety of toothpaste that Colgate offers is present in some form in the Total line.
If buying Colgate toothpaste in person, it’s best to always check the box to confirm where it is manufactured. If buying online, it’s a good idea to check the listing page to see where it is made, and if it’s not listed, ask the seller.
More About Colgates Roots in the USA
Colgate produces a variety of different toothpaste types for a variety of different purposes, and with that comes the variety of manufacturing plants they have in order to produce said products. Not all toothpaste made by Colgate is manufactured in the USA, and the same goes for their different lines of products.
They have toothpaste that is focused on whitening teeth, toothpaste that strengthen and desensitize sensitive teeth, toothpaste that offers preventative care, and even toothpaste that is designed to appeal to kids, to help encourage them to brush their teeth. And of course, pretty much every toothpaste they make is intended to serve the basic toothpaste functions of freshening breath and cleaning teeth. Most people select their toothpaste based on which of these options suits their needs, but if you’re reading this article, then you probably also make your selection based on a desire to support American jobs.
If you want to buy Colgate toothpaste that is guaranteed to be from the US, then your best bet is the Colgate “Total” product line. This is because Colgate has a production plant dedicated entirely to their Total toothpaste in Morristown, Tennessee. They moved production of the Total toothpaste line to Morristown in 2008, which provided a big boost to the local economy, and there have been no announced plans to change location or produce Total toothpaste elsewhere.
The good news here is that anyone who wants to buy American-made toothpaste has some nice options to choose from with Colgate. The bad news is that Total toothpaste makes up a relatively small percentage of the products that Colgate makes, so you still need to pay careful attention when picking up Colgate products in-store. That being said, if Colgate’s selection isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of other great options.
More Background on the Colgate Company
Colgate is an American brand that has been selling products like toothpaste for nearly 150 years. The company has been around even longer but started out selling soap and only transitioned to oral hygiene a number of years after the company founder’s death.
They began selling toothpaste in glass jars in 1873. In 1896, they introduced the toothpaste tube design that we are familiar with today. The company’s advertising gained them significant popularity in the 1950s, and they have been one of the best-known toothpaste manufacturers in the country ever since.
Although “Colgate” is the name of the popular toothpaste brand and the company founder, the company itself is actually called Colgate-Palmolive, after the two brands that merged to form it (Colgate toothpaste and Palmolive soap). And back when it was founded in 1806 as a factory in New York City, it was called William Colgate & Company.
Colgate was very much an American family business at the start, and after William Colgate’s death, his son continued under the name Colgate & Company. Samuel Colgate, the son, actually did not want to take over the business, but he thought that it was the right thing to do for his family and the memory of his father.
Colgate-Palmolive is now a large, diversified company with dozens of product brands under it. The company owns 14 production facilities in the United States, and they operate another 46 facilities that they don’t fully own. They also own 80 properties overseas and operate an additional 200 properties.
With these production locations all over the world and the different products and types of brands that they own, it can be confusing to determine where Colgate toothpaste itself is made. Fortunately, some answers about that are available if you know where to look, which we do.
If you’re curious about how Colgate toothpaste is made, check out this video about the process in Morristown, Tennessee.
Which Colgate Toothpaste Not Made in The USA?
Colgate has a wide variety of lines, and because most of them don’t have their own dedicated production facilities, it can be a bit harder to determine where they’re made, so not all Colgate toothpaste is made in the USA.
Colgate’s toothpaste lines other than Total include Optic White, Enamel Health, Max Fresh, Sensitive, Activated with Charcoal, and Kids. As far as we can determine, product packaging and online retailers provide information on where a given run of the products was made, so we can make some assumptions at the time of purchasing.
Optic White Renewal and Optic White Advanced toothpaste appear to be manufactured in Mexico, according to current product packaging. Max Fresh toothpaste, according to Colgate Consumer Affairs reps, is made both in the US and overseas, so the only way to know for sure whether a certain package of Max Fresh toothpaste was manufactured in the States is to check for that information on the label.
Sensitive Prevent and Repair toothpaste is currently made in Mexico, but we were unable to find information on other varieties of Colgate’s Sensitive toothpaste line. Colgate’s Kids toothpaste is made in both the US and Mexico, so just like their Max Fresh toothpaste, you’ll have to check individual package labels to know for sure.
Unfortunately, this means that you probably won’t have the option of buying certain Colgate products online if you only want products that were made in the US, but buying in-store can be a better method in terms of supporting the American economy, anyway; it’s a good sign that at least some of these products are made domestically. And for now, the Optic White and Sensitive toothpaste lines should be avoided altogether if you want American-made toothpaste.
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Other Colgate Products
In addition to toothpaste, Colgate also makes toothbrushes, mouthwash, whitening kits, and even some oral rinses and gels that are only available with a prescription through your dentist. As is the case with toothpaste, some of these products are made in the US, while others are made overseas, so you may be curious about which of Colgate’s other products are actually American-made.
Continuing the trend set by the toothpaste, some of the other products in Colgate’s Total line also appear to be made in the US. The line includes three types of mouthwash and two toothbrush models, which are currently made in US production facilities.
According to Consumer Affairs reps, the mouthwash is currently made at Colgate facilities in Wisconsin. At least some of the Total toothbrushes, on the other hand, are made at a manufacturing plant in Switzerland; it’s not clear if Total toothbrushes are also manufactured in other locations, so it’s possible that they are sometimes made in the US.
Some consumers have reported that other Colgate toothbrush models, including Optic White toothbrushes, are made in China. This is based on what they have allegedly read on the packaging, but we cannot find confirmation on this statement from any official Colgate source.
The Optic White Whitening Pen is made in the US, according to Colgate reps. There are consumer claims that the Professional Whitening Kit is made in China, again based on product packaging, but we haven’t been able to confirm this or find any official information on the manufacturing location of the Professional kit.
So, aside from the Total toothpaste, Colgate products are sort of all over the board. A good rule of thumb is to check package labels in-store or call customer service when you are wondering about a specific product’s manufacturing location to get a precise and current answer.
Colgate Missions in the US
Like many large companies, Colgate has made a big push in the last decade to “give back” to the areas they serve. Since Colgate products are sold in countries around the world, their environmental, educational, and other missions impact communities in dozens of different countries, but a large part of these initiatives are dedicated to the US. Although this is a different type of domestic support than creating jobs by having production facilities on US soil, these missions may be of interest to people looking to support American interests by buying American products.
One of Colgate’s big “give back” programs is Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, a project dedicated to improving children’s oral health through education and dental care. The project was started in 1991, but it has received particular attention in recent years. Their oral health education curriculum is currently being used to educate around 4 million children across all 50 states, and Colgate’s mobile dental vans have provided free screening and treatment referrals to more than 10 million children in rural and urban communities in the US.
Another Colgate program in the US is their “Make the U” program, a college grant program started in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for US citizens and permanent residents of Hispanic heritage. The program awards 31 educational grants, for a total of $100,000, to graduating high school students who are headed to accredited higher education institutions in the following school year. Make the U has been running for 11 years and awarded a total of 373 educational grants so far.
Colgate also has a number of environmental programs directed at reducing water use, energy use, and plastic waste, which have long-term benefits for the planet as a whole, including folks in the United States.
Those of us who chose to buy American-made products, whether we are motivated by a desire to support American jobs, to contribute to the domestic economy, or to enjoy a higher product quality, often have to deal with the same dilemma. Making a small one-time purchase from a company that is not American or of a product that wasn’t made in the US is an acceptable break for many people.
When it comes to products that we use every day and will be purchasing for the rest of our lives, we usually want to find a brand that we can trust to provide high-quality, American-made products. Toothpaste is a perfect example of this type of product, so at some point, most people who regularly try to buy American are naturally going to wonder where the oldest and most popular toothpaste brands are made.
Colgate toothpaste is a brand that started as a small, family-run American business and grew to be one of the most popular oral hygiene brands in the world. Like most companies with a similar story, part of Colgate’s incredible growth involved expanding to manufacture products in overseas facilities. Although Colgate owns and operates a number of manufacturing facilities in the United States, some of its products are made in multiple countries, while others are exclusively made in certain countries overseas.
We hope that this guide has provided some insight into which Colgate products are currently made in the United States, but if you ever feel uncertain, remember that customer service reps can typically provide all the answers if you call or email, and the labels of products that you see in stores should also contain manufacturing location information. If you have any further questions about where Colgate toothpaste is made, let us know in the comments below.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choosing products made in America is important to me because it supports local economies, creates jobs, helps the environment, and ensures ethical labor practices. I also find that American made products are usually of higher quality so although they’re a little more expensive, you save money in the long run. Before starting this website I was in the USMC infantry and nowadays I work on this website as a hobby.