laundry detergent

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  • snowyyy

    Senior Member
    English & Hindi
    Is "washing powder" a BE term?
    I am not sure of it to be a BE term, but I have heard this term being used a lot even in the advertisements. The wikipedia link of "laundry detergent" also mentions "washing powder" as its synonym.
     

    jancho

    Senior Member
    Czech
    I will continue in this topic, because it wasn't answered.

    Is one of expressions

    washing powder / laundry detergent

    used more often in BrE and/or AmE?

    Thank you.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    I will continue in this topic, because it wasn't answered.

    Is one of expressions

    washing powder / laundry detergent

    used more often in BrE and/or AmE?

    Thank you.
    'washing powder' is the name most commonly used in Britain.
     
    Laundry detergent and laundry soap are common terms in American English. Before this thread, though, I had never heard of "washing powder". Even a rare usage is more common than no usage at all, so if anyone in the UK commonly says "washing powder", then it is a more common term in BE.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I don't use 'laundry soap' (though I've certainly heard it), and I always use 'laundry detergent'. 'Washing powder' is something I've only heard from people from outside the US.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Once upon a time we used washing powder.
    Now that it comes in squished lumps, we call it detergent, except when we still call it washing powder because old habits die hard.
    On second thoughts, we probably use the current favourite proprietary name.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with manon: "washing powder" is the usual term in BrE. My current box of Persil describes its contents as 'Automatic Biological Washing Powder'.

    Of course, we don't call liquid detergents "washing powder". They're usually .. erm .. liquid detergents.

    EDIT Oops, I hadn't seen panj's post when I posted this. Now, what do I call those squished lumps?
    Ah yes, "washing powder".
    According to my box of Tesco 2-in-1 squished lumps, they call themselves 'washing tablets'.
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have just conducted a comprehensive survey and I can report that MrsP never calls the stuff detergent.
    She calls the squishy lumps by their proprietary name or, to generalise, washing powder.
    Forced into a corner she reluctantly suggested that she might call them cubes.
    Like Loob, she is aware that the squishy things call themselves tablets but she would never dream of calling them that.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    I have just conducted a comprehensive survey and I can report that MrsP never calls the stuff detergent.
    She calls the squishy lumps by their proprietary name or, to generalise, washing powder.
    Forced into a corner she reluctantly suggested that she might call them cubes.
    Like Loob, she is aware that the squishy things call themselves tablets but she would never dream of calling them that.
    I don't think most people have reason to call it anything, most of the time.

    If you think about it, loading a washing machine and using the powder/tablets/whatever you call it, is usually a solitary activity. It's not something you do with someone else; you tend not to chat about it as you load the stuff. So the only time most people would need to refer to the stuff is when asking for it in a shop (but most people get it from self-service supermarkets), or if they are bored enough to be having a conversation about it.

    That's my theory,:) anyway.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    For those innocents prone to look terms up in dictionaries, we have this, from the Oxford Advanced Learners' Dict.

    washing powder noun (BrE) soap or detergent in the form of powder for washing clothes

    ©Oxford University Press, 2005.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I So the only time most people would need to refer to the stuff is when asking for it in a shop (but most people get it from self-service supermarkets), or if they are bored enough to be having a conversation about it.
    Manon, you are quite clearly younger than I am (despite the fact that I am, of course, extremely youthful).

    I have to write shopping lists, otherwise I would never remember what I have to buy. And as I walk round the supermarket, I talk to myself, saying things like "What's next? Oh yes, the washing powder".

    At least I don't have conversations with other people about it.
    Not so far.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Manon, you are quite clearly younger than I am (despite the fact that I am, of course, extremely youthful).

    I have to write shopping lists, otherwise I would never remember what I have to buy. And as I walk round the supermarket, I talk to myself, saying things like "What's next? Oh yes, the washing powder".

    At least I don't have conversations with other people about it.
    Not so far.
    When you do, then start to worry...!
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Moderator note: The original topic seems to be hanging on the line to dry. All washed out perhaps? Shall we stop talking about what we talk to ourselves about, and how we do our shopping?
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Regarding the term "laundry soap", I use that to refer to actual bars of soap that I use when hand-washing. I wouldn't use it to describe laundry detergent/washing powder.
    That has just reminded me. In the UK people also refer to 'soap powder' as well as 'washing powder'.
     
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