I Thought Those Sheets Were Clean

If you have slept in our guest bed anytime in the last year, the cleanliness of your sheets may be questionable. When I first moved to Cornwall, I used John’s choice in laundry detergent for a short while, but given the lack of a tumble dryer combined with John’s desire to buy the cheapest best value soap powder, I found my line dried clothes felt a bit like cardboard. So I launched a campaign for something that would satisfy my requirements and went in search of a laundry soap that would not have an overbearing fragrance or be too hard on my clothing.

After several trips to Morrisons, I found what I thought was just about perfect. I read a lot of packaging information while trying to decide which one would work best. You would think it would not be too difficult, but being an American living in Britain can sometimes make product recognition a little confusing. Even if it has a name I recognize it is often packaged in a completely unfamiliar way or smells differently than the American version. For the record, I have yet to find an unscented laundry soap over here, but I thought using the product below that was made for babies was a good compromise. It had an acceptable smell and it left my clothes soft.

I think it was an easy mistake to make, I mean it looks like liquid laundry soap … right? It clearly reads 42 WASHES at the top. I see wash and I think detergent which seemed reasonable until I tried to buy some more yesterday in a different store. Something in the display made me think hmmm … followed by, uh oh!

Do you see what I see in the box midway down? That’s right, the words, ” Comfort clothes conditioner.” ย In America this would be referred to as fabric softener, a product designed to make your clothing soft to the touch, not to wash away dirt.

Okay, so now I’m better equipped with the bottle of Surf detergent above, but you should have seen the look on the faces of the two women who were stocking shelves at Trago Mills when I said, ” You mean Comfort concentrate is not laundry soap.”

I can’t say for sure, but I think I saw a smirk and a head shake pass between them. I was too busy thinking about how long it had been since my clothes had seen a bit of soap. On the positive side, it’s nice to know that my itchy skin is more likely due to excess fabric softener instead of early menopause.

If you happen to be some of our friends or family that have been planning a visit this year … rest assured, I have it sorted now and you will definitely have clean sheets.

11 thoughts on “I Thought Those Sheets Were Clean

  1. haha!! Too cute!!!!

    I once spent months living in a foreign country where my vocabulary didn’t stretch very far “sautรฉing” my vegetables in . . .vinegar. I mean it’s one thing not to recognize in the bottle, but I used it and still didn’t get it!! Just shows how inept I am in the kitchen.

    So you are not alone!

  2. Hey, do not feel bad. The marketing boys ‘n girls have been at it again and obfusaction rules. You re not confused because you are an American. I always knew this as fabric softener, in UK. More recently, they call it something that is not regognisable, fabric “conditioner”. Wassat, when it’s at home? I know because of the brand name, and actually the smell. Hardly a good guide.

    I have the same problem with bath suds stuff. I live in an area of seriously hard water, and so no water softener. Dig 18 inches down where I live, and it’s pure white chalk. Good for arteries, but not much else. So OK chaps and chapesses, what does *Bath Creme* mean? Or even *Creme Bath*? Is it bubble bath? Are you supposed to use it as soap? Is it ambernectrous, no matter what colour it is in the bottle, so you can use it as both soap AND bubble bath? Who knows?!

  3. This…now this is funny and I utterly relate. This past summer on our London trip when Sophia got sick and we had to head to the grocery store to find some thing to settle her tummy and decongest her nose it took me FOREVER to figure it out. I kept thinking “it can’t be THAT hard, I mean I supposedly speak the same language here” It was finally found and what trumped me the worst….haha…was when I was trying to find some laundry soap! Now I am only guessing that we actually cleaned our clothes….they certainly smelled nice.

  4. I have been reading your blog for awhile and absolutely love your writing and especially your photos. I have not commented yet. But, today I read this and had a really good laugh. Thank You. I so could see myself doing this exact same thing. At least you smelled clean. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I had a German exchange student living at my home a few years back. She did her own laundry, but I began to wonder why the only product I saw on her part of the shelf was “Snuggle.” She made the same mistake you did. She liked the teddy bear on the bottle and was really surprised when she found out it wasn’t soap.

  6. Even we Brits have made the same mistake…. it always happens to me, but only when I have got it home..but no problem it will be used, it is just annoying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We also say Fabric softener, or just just conditioner .. we never say clothes conditioner. We know it is for clothes because that is what we are washing.

    As for the question about Creme Bath, it is bubble bath, you had a capful to your water.

  7. I found you via Rima’s blog.

    My story was marrying a Scotsman and moving from Africa (Zimbabwe-South Africa) to Northern Scotland. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The scariest moment was the first time grocery shopping and you haven’t a clue about brands, prices or even what some products are! I think I bought horrific expensive things as first, because I simply didn’t know the price range of things to have a clue. :-\

    My funniest moment came via a word… “Cheers”. Here they say it as a thank you, but in Africa it usually means goodbye (as in cheerio/ciao type thing)

    So… we walk into a shop. My new hubby asks about something and store guy replies. Hubby says, “Cheers.” …and I leave the shop. But no-one follows me. :-\ I’m out there thinking, HUH???

    Nowadays my brain is wedged between the two versions and when someone says, “Cheers!” I have to ask, “Are you thanking me or leaving me?” lol

    I’m glad I found your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nice meeting other far flung romances. I have a blooger friend who went from Indonesia to Finland. We’ve managed to share some mutual bonding moments on the moving from HOT to “AHHH COLD! COLD!” ๐Ÿ˜€

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