washed out

Washing out mouth with soap

Washing out mouth with soap, also known as mouth soaping, is a form of corporal punishment, usually given to children for cursing (using profanity) or lying. It is done by placing a bar of soap, liquid soap, or dishwashing liquid in a person's mouth and sometimes, forcing them to ingest it. It was most common through the 1950s and its use has decreased since then .

Depictions in popular culture

Washing out mouth with soap is occasionally depicted in movies and television.

  • It was depicted in the 1983 film A Christmas Story, where the character Ralphie’s mouth is washed out by his mother for using language that his father employs on a daily basis.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the main protagonist washed out a toon weasel's (the leader) mouth for using bad language, causing him to hiccup soap bubbles.
  • In Georgia Rule, a strict grandmother played by Jane Fonda washed out granddaughter Lindsay Lohan's mouth with soap for speaking blasphemously.
  • In an Animaniacs episode called "Roll Over Beethoven", when hearing that he's a pianist, the characters Yakko, Wakko, and Dot proceed to wash Beethoven's mouth out with soap, due to the way the word is pronounced.


This punishment still has advocates today, even though its use has diminished considerably in recent years in favor of discipline methods that are not considered violent or humiliating. Additionally, soaps and detergents can have potentially harmful results, especially if swallowed, including vomiting, diarrhea, irritation of the lining of the mouth and digestive tract, and in rare instances, pulmonary aspiration. A teacher in Rochester, New York was suspended in 2004 for washing out the mouth of a student for using vulgar language, but was reinstated after parents and family members of her students signed a petition supporting her actions.

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