A Matey Bubble Bath Bonanza

You know what kids love? Lanolin and hexachlorophene. I know I did when I was a kid, which is why I spent so much time in the bath whenever my parents bought Matey.

I’m a sucker for novelty bubble baths, which is a shame because now I’m 34, I have to use things like ‘lettuce and pinecone scrub-me-down’. Joke’s on them though – I still buy Matey. Being an adult can sod off.

matey main

I’ve just got why Matey was originally a sailor bottle. After 34 years.

I’m not sure any living human knows exactly how many different Matey bottles there have been over the years; I’d guess at somewhere around 2 billion. Every time I think I’ve seen all the characters, a new one pops up. I’d put money on there being ‘gynaecologist’ and ‘Isis’ Matey bottles knocking around somewhere on Ebay.

The 1970s Matey advert makes it sound even more interesting:

From what I can gather, you just put your kids in the bath, and Matey somehow dissolves all the dirt off them, and off your bath. Also it takes the enamel off your bath. I don’t remember that happening to me.

Anyway, here are some of the Matey bottles I’ve found on my internet travels…

Clown Matey

clown matey

Easily the most HILARIOUS of all the Mateys. I also think this must have been around in the late 80s/early 90s, because I’m sure I remember that bottle shape. Although, it does also have the 1970s ‘sad and utilitarian’ aura about it. What am I talking about.

Miss Matey

miss matey

Did they ever make a Matey cartoon or anything? If they didn’t, they missed a golden opportunity, especially since they have a ready made ‘woman one’ right here. Throughout Matey’s history, there always seems to have been a princess or equivalent pink one for girls. I have a theory about this: most Mateys are aimed at boys, because boys smell and must be encouraged to have a wash. Girls do not smell, except of roses and violets. And Matey.

Robot Matey (M8E)


Robots are the best. I fucking love robots. Who doesn’t? And not only a robot, but a space goddamn robot. Matey knew their audience.

I had to look several times before I realised the robot didn’t just have an MBE. I thought that didn’t sound right.

Santa Matey

santa matey

My God, imagine getting to have a bath with Santa Matey. Not only would that mean novelty bubble bath, it would also mean it was Christmas. I bet I had this one Christmas, but now my brain’s blocked it out because it was too exciting.

Sticking with the winter theme, we have –

Frosty Matey

frosty matey

Clearly a more modern bottle than Santa, I’m not a huge fan; there seems to be something unsettling about his face. He seems to have been frozen with a ray gun, just as he was about to say something really interesting. That’s probably just me though.

Snorky Monster Slime Matey

Snorky monster slime

Hands up who thinks this is going to smell of Pickled Onion Monster Munch? I would have replaced the words ‘mild and gentle’ with ‘deadly and terrifying’. You know, monsters and all that. And if people couldn’t figure out it was a joke, then they didn’t deserve to have any Matey.

Princess Sparkle Matey

matey sparkle 90s

If anyone had this as a kid, could you please answer the following questions:

1) Did it have bits of glitter in it?
2) Did the glitter stick to you for days after your bath?
3) Did your dad ever accidentally have a bath in it, and then have to go to work covered in glitter?

I hope so.

Wizard Matey

wizard newer matey

With, if you please, MAGIC COLOUR CHANGING BUBBLE BATH. I don’t remember ever having this; perhaps my parents didn’t want me messing with the occult. I would have killed for this. Killed.

Related, but a lot more badass – for experienced magic bubble bath users only:

Scorcher Matey

scorcher matey

Featuring a dragon that I at first thought was a badly drawn Edd the Duck. That’s not a slight on the artist, I think I just need to find my glasses.

Did anyone have this? Did it change from red to green, or from green to red? Let me know – I’m going for green to red.

Giant Matey

giant matey

What a brilliant idea – literally a giant bottle. For once I am not being sarcastic.

I wonder how big the giant bottle actually was. In my opinion, in order to deserve the title ‘giant’, the bottle would have to be at least 4ft tall. In reality, it was probably just an extra 100ml. Booooo.

I’ve got some shit on RedBubble if you’re interested. Remember, I never said it was any good. 

14 thoughts on “A Matey Bubble Bath Bonanza

  1. I always remember just after we got married, my husband insisted that he only bought “The grown-up Matey”. The grown-up Matey is apparently the one with a parrot on the bottle. The sailor/pirate/dragon/princess bottles were for kids, he insisted, but the parrot was OK for adults. I don’t know what the difference is, I can only assume that to him it’s kind of like when they published the Harry Potter books in covers that business men could read shame-free on the Tube.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Being a Yank, I was denied the pleasures of “Matey” in all his/her/its manifestations. I DO recall my childhood friend “Mr. Bubble” who was a great bathtime companion until banned due to a propensity to leave Urinary Tract Infections in his wake (like soooo many of my lost loves!) We also had “hexachlorophene” in the form of Dial soap which we were told had medicinal properties, then it was banned (like sooo many of my childhood “medicinal” products.) Good times, good times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Matey started in the USA circa 1960, then after a few years went over to Britain, but by 1970 was off the American market. So if you were denied the pleasures of Matey by being a Yank, that means you were born no earlier than the late 1960s. Mr. Bubble outcompeted it and the pioneer brand, Charlie Eaton’s Bub.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At 29 I thought my Matey days were numbered, and then we realised we could just make a kid. So two years and 9 months later, we have a toddling spawn who, miraculously independent of us, discovered the enthrall of Matey characters of his own accord. And now we are on a perpetual hunt for new Mateys.

    With a meagre 3 in current circulation in the UK (afaik), we have until Miss Matey runs out to find a new addition to the Mateyverse. Help us, Matey fans!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I occasionally call people “matey bubbles” by accident, and then they think I’m a weirdo because apparently no-one’s heard of Matey any more. There’s still a massive green stain on my parents’ kitchen ceiling due to an overturned Matey.


  5. If you really were only 34 when this was written in 2018, then you never experienced the “lanolin and hexachlorophene”. which were present in the powdered versions of Matey that were the original as it came from the USA in the 1960s. I’m guessing you found a photo online of a box from then. And at that time Matey and the other “family” bubble baths WERE advertised primarily for boys. This was probably because before about 1960 bubble bath was most familiar to consumers as a fragrance product via the Avon Lady, and as something to make female bathers appear naked in movies, so it had developed a feminine stigma which the popularizers of family use of such products were at pains to push back against.



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