cleanser [=detergent, soap, liquid hand soap, dishwashing liquid?]

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jokaec

Senior Member
Chinese - Hong Kong
Does "cleanser" include the detergent, soap, liquid hand soap, dishwashing liquid? Thank you!
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    "Cleanser" usually refers to specific skin cleaning products and doesn't include regular soap. I've never heard it used to refer to detergent or dishwashing liquid.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It depends on context. All of those things might be found in the supermarket on the "cleanser aisle", but if I asked you for "cleanser" and you handed me laundry detergent, bath soap, hand soap, or dishwashing liquid, I would think you had lost your mind. ;) I would expect bathroom cleanser, toilet bowl cleanser, sink cleanser, counter-top cleanser, ...
    With regard to skin products, I would expect "cleanser" to be used for specialized products that are not simply based on soap or detergent so that they are very gentle or medicated or antibacterial or something.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Why do you ask, jokaec? Do you have some context for your question? "Cleanser" doesn't tell us what the product is meant to do - except that it cleans or "cleanses" something.

    Personally I know about facial cleansers only, but from the answers of the other members in this thread the use of the word seems to be much broader.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    When I hear the word "cleanser" with no qualifying adjective, I think of a powdery product that comes in a sprinkler container and is used to scour sinks, tubs, toilets, etc.

    See this page for an example.

    If there's an adjective (as in "skin cleanser" or "facial cleanser"), that's something different.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Cleanser is the word used by advertising agencies to refer to whatever cleaning compound they're trying to sell. An early advert for Ajax scouring powder was "Ajax, the foaming cleanser!" (See Ajax (cleaning product) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.) You wouldn't use that on your skin!

    By and large, it's only the cosmetic products that are called simply 'cleanser' in everyday English.

    So I see I'm using the same evidence as Parla in #11 to come to the exact opposite conclusion!:rolleyes:

    A comparison of the various collocations as in Google Ngram Viewer is interesting, but proves little.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Cleanser is the word used by advertising agencies to refer to whatever cleaning compound they're trying to sell. An early advert for Ajax scouring powder was "Ajax, the foaming cleanser!" (See Ajax (cleaning product) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.) You wouldn't use that on your skin!

    By and large, it's only the cosmetic products that are called simply 'cleanser' in everyday English.

    So I see I'm using the same evidence as Parla in #11 to come to the exact opposite conclusion!:rolleyes:

    A comparison of the various collocations as in Google Ngram Viewer is interesting, but proves little.
    If you add the single word cleanser, it seems to suggest that it is usually used without (those) adjectives, and presumably the context would be enough. If we had any from the OP:)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I'm not so sure, Julian. I assume that the occurrences of the single word 'cleanser' far outnumber the others because they include all the others, no? And they include chemical cleanser and organic cleanser and non-bleach cleanser and lavatory cleanser and... That's why I say the ngrams are interesting but prove only that the two-word phrase skin cleanser is three times more common than (say) household cleanser. This is suggestive but by no means proof that 'skin' is the most commonly understood type of cleanser.

    (A two-person survey in this household confirmed that conclusion 100% :p)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Keith - I did have "those" in brackets referringt to the adjectives, but it was indeed a quick rather than thorough look;)
    Furhter digging reveals some interesting patterns in the published works (as distinct from conversations:))
    Skin cleanser is the most popular version (after a cleanser and the cleanser).

    For AE the order of words before "cleanser" is "a, skin, the, blood, of, wound, and, facial, household, abrasive, palate, household"
    For BE the order is "a, the, skin, of, and, cream, blood, denture, wound, hand".

    Make of this what you will:D
     
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