10 Household Essential Items to Buy for a Second Lockdown—and How Many to Get

Covid-19 is surging again. Cities and states have already started adding new restrictions designed to slow the virus’ spread. Add the winter weather, and it makes sense that people have started to wonder if there will be shortages again.

While panic buying and hoarding don’t help, it is a good idea to stock up on some essential items. Here are 10 Household essential items to buy now to prepare for a potential lockdown or product shortages.

  1. Hand Sanitizer
  2. Disinfecting Wipes and Spray
  3. Toilet Paper
  4. Hand Soap
  5. Tissues
  6. Paper Towels
  7. Face Masks
  8. Thermometer
  9. Canned Goods
  10. Trash Bags
Using wash hand sanitizer gel

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is absolutely necessary whenever you go anywhere.

Early on in the pandemic, hand sanitizer was hard to find. Things got better as retailers and manufacturers pivoted to make sure there was more available. So, right now, hand sanitizer is in stock, but it’s a good idea to get a few extra bottles to carry you through a lockdown. Make sure you have one bottle in your car in the front seat and in the back and carry one in your purse or backpack. Having an extra by the door makes it easier to use on your way out or on your way in. Of course, make sure the hand sanitizer you choose contains at least 60% alcohol, so it is effective, based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.

How much should you purchase? One to two bottles for each member of your household who may go out alone. Plus, add 2 for every vehicle and one for each door in your home.

Get the Eco Finest Hand Sanitizer Gel, 5-pack 2 oz Travel Size, 75% Alcohol at Amazon. All 5 for $8.49.

Get the Livpure Extra Strength (80% Alcohol) Hand Sanitizer Gel – 8 fl oz at RiteAid for $3.49

Get the Happy Home 1 Gallon Hand Sanitizer Gel with Pump 70% at Walmart for $32.99


Two people wearing bright red latex gloves hand off a package of disinfecting wipes.

Disinfecting Wipes and Spray

Disinfecting wipes and spray are in stock right now in select online locations but are still hard to find. Apparently, Clorox is at maximum production and expects to continue to be hard to get into 2021. So, many people find they have had to switch brands, but you should still be able to find some. Many stores are limiting how many you can buy at a time because they know there is a risk of another shortage. But we have several options here at Essential Items.

How many should you buy? An extra for each floor of your house and each vehicle.

Get Caresour Advanced 75% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Wipes, 4 Packs of 50 (200 Wipes) at Amazon for $29.99

Get Big Win Antibacterial Hand Wipes, Fresh Scent – 15 ct at RiteAid for $1.09

Get Suave Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Based Spray Kills 99.9% of Germs 10 oz at Amazon for $10.93


Rolls of toilet paper


Toilet Paper

Yes, again with the toilet paper. No doubt you remember the panic around getting toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic. The reason? It’s all about the supply chain. TP is bulky and inexpensive, so it is only made based on typical demand levels. Nobody wants to use their warehouse space to store big, cheap boxes of toilet paper, so it is still being shipped only to supply the demand.

How many should you buy? To be safe, double whatever you would typically purchase for each bathroom in your house. Then keep that extra on hand.



applying a moisturizing hand wash to hands


Hand Soap

Hand sanitizer is ideal for disinfecting when you are out and about, but the CDC says that handwashing is more effective. So, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water several times a day to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Popular hand soap brands went out of stock at the start of the pandemic, so it’s a good idea to stock up this time. Spare soap bottles for each sink and refills are a great idea.

How many should you buy? Have a hand soap dispenser at each sink and a large refill size container on each floor of your house.

Get the Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap at Staples for $2.99

Get the 4 pack Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap at Amazon for $12.05

Get the Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Gold at Walgreens for $1.99




Tissues were also hard to find during the first stages of the pandemic and in the initial lockdown periods. If you or a family member are going into self-isolation or quarantine, you’ll want to have tissues at hand.  Obviously, they are good to blow your nose during this year’s cold and flu season, but you can also use them as a barrier when you touch things. Hold a tissue when you touch a doorknob or gas pump, in case they might have coronavirus on them.

How many should you buy? A couple of boxes per family member.

Get the Puffs Ultra Soft Non-Lotion Facial Tissues, 4 Mega Cubes at Walmart for $5.98

Get the Kleenex Antiviral Facial Tissue, 3 Boxes at Staples for $8.29

Get the Puffs Ultra Soft Facial Tissues, 8 Family Boxes at Amazon for $14.69


Rolls of paper towels on a table indoors

Paper Towels

Paper towels were also hard to find early on during the pandemic. Again, the paper supply chain works on-demand, so these big bulky but inexpensive items tend to quickly go out of stock. So, this is another essential item you will want to make sure you have at home. And at times like these, you are likely to go through more paper towels than usual. They are great for cleaning spills and drying hands, but there is more disinfecting of surfaces required during the pandemic. And with paper towels, you can dispose of the potentially infected wipe immediately.

How many should you buy? Probably twice to three times as many as usual. Make sure you have an extra in the kitchen, one in each bathroom, and an extra on each floor of the house.

Get the Great Value Ultra Strong Paper Towels, 6 Double Rolls at Walmart for $8.47

Get the Scott Choose-A-Sheet Kitchen Roll Paper Towels, 6 Mega Rolls at Staples for $9.29

Get the Perk Choose-A-Size Kitchen Paper Towels, 8 Rolls at Staples for $14.99


Face Masks

Whether your state has mandated wearing masks (yet) or not, they are pretty much part of daily life now. Many retail locations won’t allow you to enter without one (although many will provide a cheap disposable mask for you to use while you are in the store.) We recommend a variety of masks, so each family member has one that fits them well and is as comfortable as possible. Expect another run on masks again in the event of another lockdown.

How many should you buy? It is recommended that for reusable masks, five per person is the minimum. That assumes regular washing and less than all-day wear.

Get 12 Pcs Set Unisex 100% Cotton Face Mask Reusable Washable at Walmart for $13.99

Get 50 Pack Disposable Black or Blue Face Mask at Amazon for $15.99

Get 6 Pcs Face and Eye Shield WIth Breathing Valve Men and Women at Amazon for $14.69 



Make sure you have a thermometer! One of the initial symptoms of the corona is a fever, so you’ll want to regularly check your temperature. Checking and rechecking temperatures is a good way to follow the course of the virus and make sure other family members are not sick. Of course, early on, the thermometers flew off the shelves. They have been replaced now and are readily available. Still, in the case of another lockdown, it is quite likely they will become scarce again.

How many should you buy? One for absolute sure. Many families like to “be safe” and have one per person, requiring each family member to regularly take their own temperature.

Get the Equate 30-Second Digital Thermometer at Walmart for $5.16

Get the iHealth No Touch Thermometer Digital for Adults and kids at Amazon for $29.99 

Get the Mini Temple Digital Thermometer at Walgreens for $23.99 


Canned Goods

If you are in self-isolation, the stores are locked down, or you or someone in your family gets sick, you’ll still need to eat. There’s only so much delivery food a person can stand, so stock your shelves with some canned goods for quick, easy, and relatively nutritious meals. Grab a few extra cans of your favorite beans, soups, chili, vegetables, fruits, and fish.

How many should you buy? A three months’ supply.

Get the Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup, 10.75 oz  (12 Cans) at Walmart for $10.68

Get Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli 15 oz( 12 Cans ) at Sam’s Club for $8.98 

Get Campbells Tomato Soup, 12 Pack 10.75 oz at BJs Wholesale Club for $9.99

Trash can in the kitchen.

Trash Bags

If someone in your household is sick with the coronavirus, they should have their own trashcan, says the CDC. Keep their garbage separate and dispose of anything that could have been in contact with the virus quickly. So, consider trash bags an essential item worth stocking up on in case of another lockdown.

How many should you buy? Double what you would typically to keep some on hand.

Get the Glad ForceFlexPlus XL X-Large Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags at Walmart for $9.96

Get Glad OdorShield Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags Febreze at Amazon for $15.97 

Get HDX 13 Gallon White Fresh Scent Drawstring 50 Count at Home Depot for $7.97 


It’s hard to say what it will be called. Another lockdown, slow down or pause, but with the resurgence of covid, there is likely to be a reason to stock up on these Essential Items.

The prices quoted here were accurate when this article was published but could change at any time.

Related Posts:

How to be Ready for a State of Survival with Emergency Essentials

How COVID safety protocols protect you from Cold and Flu?

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