1

It might be Procter & Gamble that makes the most washing powders.

Do we need “the” here?

It seems to me that the sentence means the number of washing powder trademarks offered by Procter & Gamble – not superior properties of these washing powders, and therefore “the” is redundant here.

Source: “Objective IELTS Advanced” ("Grammar folder" - So the sentence comes without context.)

2

“The most” means a plurality, and “most” means the majority

In your example,

  • “the most washing powders”

Means nobody else makes more washing powders — they are the #1-ranked company.

For every 100 packages that are sold, they sell the highest number.

  • “most washing powders”

.. means they make the majority of all of them. Nobody else makes a lot.

For every 100 packages that are sold, they sell at least 51 of them.

The dictionary says:

Most is used to form the superlative of many adjectives and adverbs:

  • Joanne is the most intelligent person I know.

Most also means almost all:

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