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As most of the country remains under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are continuing to stock up on cleaning and household essentials per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, as a result, those essentials are selling out at many online retailers.
From hand sanitizer to toilet paper to thermometers, these products can help you and those you live with feel prepared for quarantine or if anyone gets sick. But they are becoming hard to find online, which can be especially stressful when you’re trying to shop without leaving the house.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the most hard-to-find household products to have during the coronavirus outbreak and where to get them while you still can. There may be shipping delays because of increased demand, but we’ll be including the products most likely to get to you the fastest. We’ll also continue to update this list as supplies dwindle, so be sure to check back often.
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1. Hand sanitizer and wipes
Hand sanitizers from Purell and GermX are flying off the shelves right now, but you should be picky because the truth is, they’re not all the same. Some contain an alcohol substitute known as benzalkonium chloride, which isn’t as effective if you’re trying to stop the spread of germs. Instead, you want to look for a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content, according to the CDC.
But these items are selling out fast, so we definitely suggest you grab them as soon as possible. Or, you could just make your own, especially since the World Health Organization (WHO) just put together this do-it-yourself guide to creating your own sanitizer. A word of caution though—their step-by-step instructions do require 96% ethyl alcohol.
2. Hand soap
According to the CDC, one of the best things you can do right now to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently. That means scrubbing them after you use the bathroom, ride public transportation, blow your nose, cough, or sneeze, as well as before you eat. The American Red Cross also recommends that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in order to effectively clean them. While antibacterial soap is crucial, regular hand-washing is a crucial way to stop germs from spreading.
3. Toilet Paper
During natural disasters and other emergencies, toilet paper always seems to be the first thing to go out of stock. The thought of running out of wipes to do your business when you can’t leave the house is absolutely horrifying. While we ranked the Charmin Ultra Soft as the No. 1 toilet paper for your No. 2, in times like these, you’re better off taking what your can get—even if it’s one-ply. Here are all the places you can still order toilet paper.
4. Paper Towels
In most instances, paper towels can seem wasteful. While they’re definitely a popular household purchase—and we’ve even rounded up a list of the best paper towels you can buy right now—they’re not eco-friendly and they’re expensive, which can make them seem like a luxury.
But the fact that paper towels are disposable could actually make them beneficial to have, particularly in homes where there’s already someone impacted by coronavirus. The CDC recommends paper towel usage for cleaning and disinfecting homes, which makes them good to have around—just in case.
5. Dish soap
Dish soap is another household item, you’re going to want to have on hand. The CDC recommends that those who are affected by the coronavirus not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or utensils. After these dishes have been used, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. (FYI, when we tested the best dish soap, we washed more than 125 plates, glasses, bowls and spoons, and found that Dawn Ultra was the clear winner. Not only does it cut through grease, but it’s a great disinfectant as well.)
A thermometer is essential for knowing whether or not you have a fever, which is one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC. With many people attempting to grab a thermometer that they’re missing from their medicine drawer, there are very slim pickings in-store and online right now. Thankfully, you can still find a few online—though they may take a few days to ship.
7. Disinfectant Spray
Disinfectant spray can help clear surfaces of harmful bacteria and potentially guard against the spread of coronavirus. The CDC recommends sticking to household cleaners with at least 70% alcohol, and most EPA-registered disinfectants should be effective for regular use. If you haven’t already grabbed a bottle or two we’d suggest you hurry and snag one fast, as it’s still hard to find.
If you’re stuck at home for an extended period of time, you absolutely don’t want to run out of diapers—it could be a mess, both literally and figuratively. As you’re trying to plan ahead, you may even want to buy a few extra boxes worth of diapers. Every baby is different though, and some diaper brands may work better than others, so we recommend you grab your favorite brand (whichever it may be) while you can.
Although the major symptoms of coronavirus include a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC, it’s always a good idea to have an extra box of tissues lying around. You could wind up with a runny nose due to allergies or get the cold or flu. After testing nine different boxes (and blowing many noses), we found that Puffs Ultra Soft are the best tissues and won’t irritate your nose. You can stock up on these or other brands at the stores below.
10. Cleaning Wipes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of disinfectants that are safe for American households to use right now to protect against the coronavirus. One of the top disinfectants on the list? Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Made to kill up to 99.9% of surface bacteria and viruses, these wipes are easy to use, safe on most surfaces, and great to have around the house when you can find them, with manufacturer’s hoping to have more in stock by this summer.
Editor’s note: There are currently no cleaning wipes available, but we’ll update this as soon as they are back in stock. In the meantime, we have put together a guide to making your own disinfectant wipes here.
These aren’t the only things selling out, non-essential items like fitness products, board games, and more are going quickly too. We’ll be covering the inventory of these high-demand items, too:
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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