There are certain things that you should always have in stock at home. You know, staples that are constantly used and frequently replaced, aka the things you buy in bulk at Costco.
These are also things that you don’t want to be in short supply of and realize it too late (think toilet paper during the first few months of the pandemic), because these are the products that you use on a daily basis that you’ll find flying off the shelves in times of crisis.
We’ve scoped out the 15 top-rated and best household essentials that you should be stocking up with.
1. Toilet paper
Let’s face it, when you gotta go, you gotta go, so why not use the No. 1 toilet paper we’ve ever tested for your No. 2?
While toilet paper may not be the flashiest purchase you can make, it’s certainly essential. Plus, anyone who’s ever bought a few rolls of the cheap stuff can tell you it’s worth putting some thought and an extra dollar or two into what you’re buying.
In our testing, we found that you can’t go wrong with Charmin Ultra Soft. With unparalleled comfort and solid durability, it’s the only toilet paper you need.
2. Paper towels
They say you never know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone—and that’s definitely the case with paper towels. They’re used for so many things you probably take for granted (cleaning up spills! wiping your hands! scrubbing the counter!).
Never be without these valuable rolls again by keeping a stash of our favorite paper towels from Kirkland Signature. Though the brand isn't as popular as some other names in the game, these Kirkland Signature paper towels out-performed the competition and are one of the better values out there.
3. Laundry detergent
While we’ve all been guilty of re-wearing the same pair of jeans two days (ok, maybe three) in a row, there are some things you absolutely cannot dig out of the laundry bin (looking at you, underwear!).
To avoid that smelly situation, you’ll need high-quality laundry detergent. We put some of the most popular brands to the test and found Persil ProClean to be the best at removing stains—even better than Tide.
4. Dishwasher detergent
“I love spending hours manually scrubbing all of my plates and forks by hand,” said no one ever. That’s where this top-rated dishwasher detergent comes in.
According to its nearly 9,000 reviewers, the fresh-scented pods not only do a great job at removing even the worst stuck-on food but they also help keep the inside of your dishwasher clean (which in turn makes your dishes cleaner). Win-win.
5. Hand soap
There are some things you can go without but soap is not one of them. (Do you know how many disgusting, germ-covered things you touch every day?!)
One of the best-rated hand soaps on Amazon is this one from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, which is free of artificial colors and chemicals. People love that it smells so nice—thanks to the essential oils it’s made with—and that it’s gentle on sensitive skin.
6. Dish soap
If it’s good enough for baby ducks caught in oil spills, then yes, it’s obviously good enough for your dishes.
When testing for the best dish soap, we washed over 125 plates, glasses, bowls, and spoons, and found that Dawn Ultra is the only dish soap you need next to your sink. We threw pretty much everything at this soap, from burnt-on sugar to crusty lasagna, and even bacon grease. Not only did it cut through all the grime and stains, it even left a pleasant fruity fragrance behind.
7. Disinfectant wipes
There are few people out there who actually enjoy cleaning—dragging out mops, busting out the broom, whipping out the vacuum at a moments notice brings them a certain level of joy incomprehensible to others (if you’re one of these people, please come to my home, I need help).
At least for the rest of us, there are disinfecting wipes. Usable on pretty much every surface in your home, these bad boys can easily cut through grime, all while leaving a fresh lemon scent in their wake. And though we’re all for reducing waste, please use more than one for scrubbing your entire kitchen, as disinfecting usually requires the product to remain on the surface for about 3 to 5 minutes.
8. Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer has become a staple in all our lives lately, and that's unlikely to change any time soon. Whether it's Covid or cold and flu season, hand sanitizer can help keep you healthy. The perfect companion for your office desk, car, or the bottom of your purse, hand sanitizer is ideal for when you feel like your hands need a quick refresh or you don’t have access to a sink for a good scrubbing.
The only downside is it can sometimes dry out your hands and leave them a bit scaly, but that’s what quality hand lotion is for, right?
9. Trash bags
The only thing worse than an overflowing trash bag (which is likely to happen when you’re stuck at home 24/7) is an overflowing trash bag that subsequently rips the minute you try to take it out of the trash can. Keep all your garbage where it belongs—i.e. in the bag, not on your kitchen floor—with our experts’ most-recommended trash bags.
These Glad bags not only were able to withstand up to 45 pounds before breaking but they also are scented with Febreze to mask any unpleasant odors that are sure to arise.
10. Diapers and baby wipes
Learn from our mistakes, people: You do not want to be caught without extra diapers on hand. I repeat, you need all the diapers your home can physically hold.
Not only do these diapers have a triple leak guard, but they also have over 9,500 reviews on Amazon. Comfort for your baby, peace of mind for parents, what’s not to “Luv”?
11. Feminine products
No matter what time of the month it is, it’s always good to have a full supply of feminine products. Let’s face it, anyone woman who’s had a period before knows what it’s like to have a moment of panic when there aren’t any pads or tampons available, or the feeling of being an absolute hero when you help a sister out with a spare product.
Moral of the story: stop fishing around the bottom of your purse or the back of the bathroom cabinet for old, loose tampons. In the words of Scar from the Lion King: be prepared.
Get Stayfree Maxi Pads (66 count) on Amazon for $7.11Get Playtex Sport Tampons (48 count) on Amazon for $9.68
12. Pet supplies
Don’t forget about your furry friends! They can’t express in words when they are in need of something, but you have such a special bond, you know exactly what every bark, scratch, meow and purr means. And when it comes down to it, they either need food or they need to go to the bathroom.
If petcare-101 has taught us anything, it’s that you should ALWAYS be prepared for either scenario. They’re your fur babies and deserve the absolute best, so naturally, you need to get them fan-favorite food and create a comfortable space for them to do their business.
Get Purina Pro Plan SPORT Formula Dry Dog Food on Amazon for $58.98Get Meow Mix Dry Food on Amazon for $9.56Get AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags on Amazon for $19.29Get Boxiecat Cat Litter on Amazon for $24.99
13. Disinfectant spray
Need to clean your countertop? Lysol spray. A doorknob? Lysol spray. Your family? Actually, please don’t use Lysol spray, a shower will do just fine.
This disinfecting spray is basically the jack of all trades when it comes to cleaning products. Whether it be in your bathroom, kitchen, or common living areas, Lysol spray will have your back. Germaphobes, UNITE!
14. Facial tissues
Have you ever tried to blow your nose with a paper towel? If not, don’t try it. And if so, you know that nothing—especially not a scratchy, rough paper towel—beats a good-quality tissue.
Of all the ones we’ve tested, we like Puffs Ultra Soft the best. The tissues really live up to their name: They’re gentle on your nose yet are durable and strong so you can blow with reckless abandon.
15. Kitchen sponges
While you may not enjoy washing dishes by hand, it’s sometimes necessary (read: for those bulky pots and pans). And it’s a lot easier if you have a good sponge.
Here at Reviewed, we recommend these Scotch-Brite pads because they’re soft enough that they won’t scratch your cookware yet textured enough that they’ll actually scrub off all that burnt-on gunk. Bonus: It’s thin and flexible so it can get into all the nooks and crannies.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.