25 Very Awesome Trader Joe's Products That Aren't Food

Turns out it's not just for groceries.

January 16, 2019
Photo by Food52

Trader Joe's plays a special role in our lives here at Food52. Not just because we love the prices, the wines, and of course all of the snacks. (Actually, we love the snacks so much that our editor keeps a bag of them under her desk for meetings and birthday celebrations.)

But like any good grocery store, Trader Joe's is also a one-stop shop for the other useful things we need at home and in our lives, like soaps and shampoos and flowers. (Is there anything better than being greeted at the front by all those flowers?) I asked the team for their personal non-food favorites and, as expected, got a slew of passionate responses.

Here's what they had to say:

"I love the French Liquid Soap. It smells amazing without being a gazillion dollars." —Joanna Sciarrino, executive editor

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I like the Botanical Bounty foaming hand soap (thick and foamy without an overpowering smell) and LOVE TJ's Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer (w/Aloe & Green Tea Extract). Awesome product. I wish TJ's would bring back the tea tree bath soap bars. I thought TJ's could only break my heart when they discontinue a loved food product, but I do miss that soap too.”
— mbzr

"Flowers and little plants! For treating yourself and brightening up your desk..." —Celeste Scollan, copywriter

"Yes, air plants. Guillermo, my sugar skull air plant, has been growing a thick head of hair for two years now." —Brinda Ayer, managing editor

"Their cut flowers are always at great prices! I try to buy some eucalyptus and greenery to liven up my apartment every few weeks." —Annalee Leggett, strategy and finance manager

"I swear by their Spa Face Wash With Tea Tree Oil. It works wonders and is still very gentle. One more for you: the Head-to-Toe Moisturizing Balm! Awesome for hands, lips, even taming wild hat hair!" —Nicole Murray, customer care

"I use their Tea Tree Oil Shampoo—was recommended by my dermatologist!" —Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO

"+1 for Tea Tree Oil Shampoo! I also picked up their Blueberry and Acai Facial Scrub recently. It's exfoliating but still pretty smooth and smells great!" —Grace Montgomery

"Greeting cards. They're so affordable and cute for every occasion. I almost always grab a card when I'm in line then I have a nice stockpile to chose from when something comes up!" —Danielle Curtis-Williams, marketing coordinator

"Their candles! Super cheap way to treat yourself, and they smell great but don't make you feel like you're in a Yankee Candle." —Maggie Rouen, customer care

"They're ahead of the game on Dr. Bronner's." —Peter Romero

"I really like their Tea Tree Tingle Body Wash, too. Oh, and all of their paper products: TP, table napkins, and paper towels are so cheap, but thankfully don’t feel like sand paper." —Megan Güntaş, digital designer

"It's so basic, but I love their paper towels." —Erin Alexander, associate editor

"I'm all about the vegetable-based pop-up sponges (they come in a pack of 12 and as sponges go, are really lovely). Also their toothbrushes come in cute colors (my only stipulation for good dental care)." —Maggie Slover, senior copywriter

"The cellulose sponges because they take up like no space and I always have a fresh one ready." —Maurine Hainsworth, copywriter

Photo by Trader Joe's

"I love their Lavender Salt Scrub. It's perfect for dry elbows and heels, and makes my shower smell like a garden (but like, not in a bad way). Also, the Cedarwood & Sage Multi-Purpose Cleaner; it's good for countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and glass surfaces." —Emma Laperruque, food writer and recipe developer

"The cinnamon brooms during fall—oh, and the fruit and veggie wash. I don't know if it really does anything, but it makes me feel good to wash my produce." —Caroline Mullen, assistant editor, lifestyle

"It's that time of year when I basically turn into a prune, so I've been stocking up on their Ultra Moisturizing Hand Creams for handy hydration. Bonus, the seasonal ginger scent makes me feel relaxed, too." —Katie Macdonald, contributing writer

What's your favorite non-food product at Trader Joe's? Let us know in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • Hannah
  • Judy
  • mbzr
  • Roger Dube
    Roger Dube
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.


Nancy February 12, 2020
Ok, I will start by writing that I like so many love most all of TJ's products but (there's always a but, right?) I am very disappointed in how they continue to package most everything in PLASTIC. Hence my passion in trying every way I can to NOT purchase anything plastic is making me NOT buy products at TJ's that I think are great. I was actually told by a TJ employer that the only way they will stop using plastic is when people stop buying the product because of the plastic concern. So, if all who love the products but hopefully want to protect our environment will consider writing to TJ's and letting them know you are very concerned about TJ's over the top use of plastic and will stop purchasing products in plastic containers just maybe they will get it. I've written them in the past, gotten a "we are working on it" reply, but nothing has changed. The thing is TJ's could so easily be the front runner in this "ditch the plastic" thing, which would make them even more cool would that be?! I'm writing this here because obviously Food 52 supports TJ's and all of Food 52's readers which there are oh so many seem to love TJ's that it would be a big impact for them to hear from us all...thanks!
Hannah February 12, 2020
It’ll be the day when supermarkets and companies are forced to limit their use of plastic, and need to sell everything in bulk. It ain’t just about plastic bags anymore.
mountain February 13, 2020
I'm trying to seriously cut back on my plastic use, so I appreciate your comments. However, let's give credit where credit is due. Whoever told you that TJ's will only cut back their use on plastic when customers quit buying items with plastic was apparently expressing a personal opinion. TJ's used to wrap almost *all* of their produce in plastic, whether it needed to be or not, but has since moved to reducing packaging and allowing customers to buy individual pieces of produce with no plastic/packaging. They have also switched the "plastic" bags they use for customers to put produce into, if they should choose, to a plant-based compostable bag. So, they are definitely "working on" reducing their use of plastic packaging, and those are just the areas I know of. Can they do more to reduce plastic? Abso-fricking-lutely. And while your campaign to ask them to do more to reduce their use of plastic is a great idea, my impression is that they are cognizant of the need to do so and of customers desire for them to do so, but that they have to balance needs to keep food fresh and relatively inexpensive and many alternatives to plastic just aren't cheap.
mbzr February 13, 2020

The above is a link to a 1/1/2020 TJ's report on their sustainability progress (so far).
Nancy February 14, 2020
Thanks for sharing the TJ report on sustainability. Good to read they are stepping up in so many ways. I still stand by writing that the more they hear from their costumers about continuing their elimination of plastic use...all the better. We are all in this together and all impacted by the real need to eliminate plastic as much as we can. There is much to do and again TJ's could be a real leader in this.
Hannah February 11, 2020
I love their oatmeal bar soap! It’s cheap and very gentle on the body. And their tea tree oils and vitamin E oils are great for my skin before or after a shower.
Judy February 11, 2020
I love their cut flowers. I always have a vase full in the winter to remind me spring will come sometime to the high Colorado mountains.
mbzr February 11, 2020
I use many (so, so many) of the products in the article as well as those mentioned by other commenters. I will try to avoid repeating praise for those already mentioned, and only mention likes/loves I don't recall on other lists. I like the Botanical Bounty foaming hand soap (thick and foamy without an overpowering smell) and LOVE TJ's Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer (w/Aloe & Green Tea Extract). Awesome product.

I wish TJ's would bring back the tea tree bath soap bars. I thought TJ's could only break my heart when they discontinue a loved food product, but I do miss that soap too.
Roger D. March 29, 2019
I work at TJ's. I discovered an UNBELIEVABLE hand lotion just after I started there. To my EVERLASTING dismay, it's only available around the holidays. It's called "White Pine" and, to me, it's better than "Working Hands".....I stocked up when it went on hiatus but am running low :(
Christine January 31, 2019
I love TJ’s Head to Toe Moisturizing Balm. You can use it anywhere and everywhere. It smells great, is extremely emollient, lasts a long time, and is incredibly inexpensive.
Jaye B. January 31, 2019
Oh dear, now I will be in TJ's twice as long as usual. I've bought the dryer balls, lavender dryer bags, and body butter but haven't spent too much time examining other non-foods. Thanks everyone! :)
Rae K. January 29, 2019
Don’t get me Started on trader Joe’s water ! Do you not buy water anywhere else
Francine January 30, 2019
I buy the 1.5 liter bottles of spring water by the case!
Jean L. January 28, 2019
Microfiber cleaning cloths! We use them to clean our bodies and (other colors) our kitchen/baths as well. Priced well, and very long lasting.
Marianne H. January 31, 2020
I don't think microfiber cloths are a good idea since they are made from plastic.
Hannah211 January 27, 2019
Their honey oatmeal soap bars that are under $2 for a pack of 3. They are moisturizing, too-great for the sink or the shower. I really like the dish towels they have, too-they are very durable and the three I have bought have lasted over a year so far. Plan to get a few more colors.
Andrea B. January 27, 2019
The Essential Oil Wool Ball set! Such a great gift and a steal for $11
Monte M. January 27, 2019
The Lemon Verbena Soap is wonderful. Great fragrance and long lasting bar.
Pam January 27, 2019
The Argan Oil is a well-priced all-purpose emollient for replenishing face and hands.
Lilliana January 27, 2019
It’s time that TJ open store in Merritt Island, FL. Driving to Orlando is way to fahr.
Nance January 27, 2019
The Trader Joe's website has a section where you can request that a store be opened in your area. It's worth a try.
Lilliana January 27, 2019
Thanks Nance, will search for that.
Diane R. January 27, 2019
I love their Body Butter! Very moisturizing for my elbows, arms etc!
They change fragrance with the seasons!! Love the Coconut!! Cannot beat the price compared to Bath& Body Works, etc.
Ellen S. January 27, 2019
I love the Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum. Better than many I've tried for 3x the cost.
Becky A. January 30, 2019
The Trader Joe's Nourish Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum is great as well. Light, non greasy, and a little goes a long way.
Robin January 27, 2019
I love the cards as well. I am a bit of a crafter so I often spruce them up with a bit of glitter or trim...and I also have often loved some enough that I picked up a clear envelope type magnetic frame at the craft store and will slip a card in and post it on my office door.
Jill January 27, 2019
While I am a TJ’s fan, I would like to see them move away from selling so much plastic.
Anastasia January 27, 2019
TJ's 2-pack bar soaps (Tea Tree, Oatmeal) are a deal and the least expensive I have found that don't contain sulfates, etc. Also, I rarely find a better price on Tom's of Maine toothpaste, and appreciate their stores carry the whitening version without fluoride.
Marguerite January 27, 2019
Top of the list is French Liquid Soap, and also healthy Doggy Treats that have ONLY salmon and sweet potato in them.
Anastasia January 27, 2019
My picky dog also loves the dog treats! I buy the box with a variety of flavors of biscuits.
Hannah211 January 27, 2019
How could I forget my pup?? She's head over heels for the beef sticks, and I mean, when I pull that specific bag out she jumps, turns around, and gives me a hungry snort. Anything else she'll just sit down for like a polite dinner guest.
Hinda G. February 11, 2020
My baby girl loves her little 2 calorie liver filled treats! She can splurge and still stay in her diet!! Her brother lives his seasonal treats, so I stock up. Thanks TJ!!