13 Household Essentials We Always Buy In Bulk Online

Another way to make the most of our Amazon Prime accounts.

August 15, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

Going to the grocery store every time I run out of toilet paper or laundry detergent is such a drag. Don’t get me wrong, it usually means I can pick up some more ice cream but having to carry a large and unwieldy package of TP or drive 20 minutes just to get two things is not my idea of a fun time.

That’s why I buy most of my household essentials in bulk on Amazon, either through Prime, Fresh, or its Subscribe & Save options. All three give you the ease and convenience of shopping in your PJs, but there are slightly different advantages with each one.

You already know what Prime offers—free 2-day shipping on literally everything—while Fresh is more like a traditional grocery store with produce, snacks, and general household items in bulk and everyday sizes. My personal favorite though is Subscribe & Save, an underrated subscription service. You can subscribe to products (also in bulk or everyday sizes) and score an extra discount up to 15 percent with each shipment. It’s easy to change the subscription cadence so you’re not stockpiling TP, or just cancel if you no longer want the item. It’s truly a “set it and forget it” situation and I’m genuinely delighted to receive my quarterly shipment of compostable trash bags.

Since we know we had you at “shopping in your PJs,” here’s what we buy in bulk on Amazon.

Photo by Amazon

1. Recess Mood, 12 pack, $45.60

I've been a huge fan of Recess' sparkling water ever since I tested the hemp-infused version for our cannabis gift guide, and a recurring subscription means I always have them stocked in the fridge. They're made with magnesium, ginseng, and lemon balm to help calm your mood, making them a great post-work, or TBH, an anytime-drink.

Photo by Amazon

2. Method Liquid Dish Soap Refill, 6 Pack, $41.99

Former director of content Brinda Ayer likes getting Method’s dish soap refills in bulk because it checks one more to-do item off her list. “The bulk refill containers allow me to top up my current dispensers for months on end,” she said. “Plus, I can ‘set it and forget it,’ signing up for a repeat version of the same box at intervals that fit my household needs.”

Photo by Amazon

3. AYOTEE 4-6 Gallon Biodegradable Garbage Bags, 100 Count, $12.59

I’ve been using compostable bags for years in an effort to cut down on my plastic usage, and a recurring subscription means I'll never run out. I’ve used a few brands but have had the most success with this one, though garbage with sharp edges might cut through sometimes.

Photo by Amazon

4. Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, 62 Count, $18.67

For something so small as dishwasher pods, they can be really heavy! That’s why I prefer to get them online in bulk so I can use that time saved to catch up on Westworld.

Photo by Amazon

5. Tide PODS Free and Gentle Laundry Detergent Soap, 96 Count, $41.98

It’s the same situation here with laundry detergent—why and how are cleaning pods SO heavy?

Photo by Amazon

6. Brawny Pick-a-Size Paper Towels, 12 Rolls, $33.99

While I use cloth napkins and reusable towels for most things, there are just some projects that require a traditional paper towel. I like how you can customize the size with these so you’re just using what you need.

Photo by Amazon

7. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap Refill, 6 Pack, $41.52

Ayer and I are both loyal to buying Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap refills in bulk. Not only is it the best hand soap ever (don’t @ me), but each large refill can fill two or three dispensers in my household so each 6-pack lasts a super long time.

Photo by Amazon

8. Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Toilet Paper, 32 Rolls, $30.49

When we asked our team what they buy in bulk, everyone said TP, TP, and more TP—and understandably so. They’re annoying to carry and even more annoying when it runs out—often in the middle of the week. While you can grab a pack the next time you’re at the store, why not save yourself the trouble with a subscription that’ll last you two months and save some change, too?

Photo by Amazon

9. Mighty Patch Original, $12.99

Since I’ve been wearing masks so often, I subscribe to these hydrocolloid patches for maskne—you know, the acne you get after wearing a mask for hours.

Photo by Kleenex

10. Kleenex Ultra Soft Facial Tissues, 8 Pack, $23.99

Eight boxes of tissues might sound a bit silly, but you won’t be laughing in the middle of allergy season.

Photo by Amazon

11. Vita Coco Coconut Water, 12 Pack, $13.76

Short of sticking a straw into a coconut, I live for my monthly subscription of Vita Coco. Buying them in bulk has saved me so much more money than grabbing a few here and there every time I go to the grocery store.

Photo by Amazon

12. La Croix Sparkling Water, 12 Pack, $18.80

Unless you’re looking for an arm workout, buying La Croix online is such a game changer.

Photo by Amazon

13. Nongshim Shin Bowl Noodle Soup, 12 Pack, $28.75

I’ll usually buy a huge box of Nongshim ramen at H-Mart but seeing how the closest one is more than an hour away from me, I’ll stick to buying it online, thanks.

This story was updated in August 2022 with more information on the bulk items our team loves buying online.

What do you buy in bulk online? Tell us in the comments below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate affiliate, Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.


Gail D. August 29, 2022
Amazon Prime is also great for people with SNAP. First, the monthly subscription is 50% what the going rate is. More important, if you are shopping food, there's a place to click on the left so only SNAP-eligible options come up. Among things I purchase there in bulk are farro, quinoa, sprouting beans, most shelf-stable foods, in fact. Coincidentally, I switched mostly to plant-based proteins a couple years ago, so I've added a lot of the high-protein ancient grains to my diet.
Trustyboard August 29, 2022
Man, I don’t know where you live but some of the prices you’re paying for things are a bit high even for a Californian. I buy an 8 pack of La Croix or Aha flavored sparkling water for about $3.80-$4.00. A box of Kleenex is only $1.50-$2.00. I don’t use the other products but the prices stated in this article are kinda scary.
paseo August 30, 2022
This is buying in bulk (more than one unit).
And yes, you are paying for convenience and delivery charges.
paseo August 30, 2022
This is about bulk buying (more than one unit).
There is also a charge for delivery and convenience. And for those questioning the Amazon links, Food52 is an Amazon affiliate and gets a small commission for each purchase through the link. Which is clearly stated at the bottom of the article. I’ll stick to Costco for my bulk buying.
Terry August 28, 2022
What about Grove? I don't typically buy in bulk (from Amazon or anywhere else) because the kinds of sustainable products I shop for aren't generally offered this way (the one exception here being Mrs. Meyers hand soap refills, which are now unavailable in bulk from Amazon - I just checked). Grove ( doesn't offer bulk buys but it does offer monthly subscriptions to hundreds of safe, sustainable products, many without plastic packaging, and with a price guarantee. They also try to make shipping more sustainable by offering free shipping (it's $4.99 otherwise) for boxes that meet a minimum amount. AND they throw in free samples. Like others here we're out in the sticks with "The Pig" as the closest grocery store, and not a much better selection at the larger chains farther away so I've relied on Grove for most of my household products. I'm surprised nobody here has mentioned it!
Alice F. August 29, 2022
Agree. I also shop at Grove. They offer concentrates (in glass bottles) of some products and the glass spray bottles to mix and use them in once they've been diluted. I've also been very happy with their laundry detergent which comes as pods which dissolve in the washer ... and in a recyclable plastic bag instead of a heavy plastic bottle/cannister.
Rick B. August 28, 2022
VERY expensive. I reserve online purchases for those things which are unavailable in our medium sized Canadian city. I learned at my mother's knee that careful shopping in our 4 major, 2 local, and seasonal markets when items are on sale serves me very well.
Wavey August 28, 2022
Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that compostable bags only break down if they are in fact composted - a municipal landfill does not provide the appropriate conditions. Putting garbage in compostable garbage bags is vapid virtue signalling. Focus instead on reducing waste (and where possible shopping local).
BrightSpark August 28, 2022
Oh nooooo! I was a little excited to read your suggestions for what's worth buying in bulk, but - gah! - you're promoting Amazon? I haven't bought a single item from Amazon since about six months into its existence. There is a VERY long list of reasons why I absolutely will not ever, ever buy from them. And I don't need to! There are other stores that sell things with great prices. Even big box stores like Target or Costco are better choices, but there are many others. Oh, Food52, I've relied on you as such a lovely company with a great blog and many products that are right up my alley... I hope you will consider stepping away from Amazon-related posts, promotions, affiliations and - most of all - behaviors. Support smaller and medium businesses. Open your readers' eyes to allllll the other places to shop. Because, if Amazon has its way . . . there won't be any left. PLEASE make a change!
Amy W. August 29, 2022
I too am astounded that Food52 would promote shopping on Amazon. It breaks my heart because I love Food52 and their suggestions, but this just makes me think they are sponsored by Amazon. So many places to buy in bulk, not just Amazon. And now, I have to rethink my loyalty to Food 52. Amazon does not need promotion. So many other vendors do.
Smaug August 30, 2022
Food 52 is not what it used to be- since they started selling retail it's been a steady move toward rank commercialism, and the new owners completed it; it's all about retail and advertising now. Seems to be inevitable- even Serious Eats is more about plugging their "Partners" than cooking these days.
Alice F. August 28, 2022
Personally, I value a staffer's comments on products. I've bought several items on such recommendations. I am very sorry to see all this Amazon and Food 52 criticism. If you don't want to shop at either of these venues, that is your choice. Personally, I appreciate them both.
louise61 August 28, 2022
Even assuming there's no actual paid advertising here, there's no value in knowing a staffer's particular brand loyalties, especially when they are neither sustainable, ethically sourced, or even particularly low-priced.
Karenteacher August 28, 2022
I buy paper products and cleaning supplies at Costco - and for considerably less than the online prices you list. Was this supposed to be actual recommendations, or is this advertising in disguise?
Leslie August 28, 2022
Badly disguised advertising
Leslie August 28, 2022
This article is appalling for all the reasons already mentioned. Has Food 52 sold out entirely? Wow.
Smaug August 28, 2022
Well yes, they haven't really tried to hide it.
[email protected] August 28, 2022
All pods for laundry and dishwashers contribute to plastic pollution. They release micro plastics into the water supply and are harmful to the environment!
Charlie B. August 28, 2022
Totally agree... though of course it seems increasingly difficult to find dishwasher soap or laundry detergent that doesn't come in pods. The pods are made of polyvinylalcohol (PVA). This is what Wikipedia has to say about PVA: while PVA is water-soluble and technically biodegradable under specific conditions, it's estimated that close to 15,000 metric tons of intact PVA either bypass or make it through treatment facilities every year. Here's some research that looks pretty sound:
Susan August 28, 2022
Charlie's Soap for laundry, Ecover dishwasher soap. No plastic, no fragrance, no awful dishwasher detergent smell.
Terry August 28, 2022
Also Seventh Generation dish detergent powder. No pods. I bought it at Publix all the time and then when we moved and our local stores didn't carry it I found it on - along with a lot of other great products like Mrs. Meyer's hand and dish soap.
Erica L. August 29, 2022
I recently discovered blueland and am really excited about their eco friendly options!
BrightSpark August 29, 2022
We use TruEarth laundry strips for this very reason... and we love them!
BrightSpark August 29, 2022
We use TruEarth laundry strips for this very reason... and we love them!
ustabahippie August 28, 2022
Along with agreeing with all the shock at content here, where in the world do you store all this stuff!??!?!??
Nancy M. August 28, 2022
This is clearly off-brand for Food52.
Thanks for letting us know we can buy lots of Tide all at once, from a place called Amazon. I come here to learn new things, be inspired. This is not that.
Tova E. August 28, 2022
I’m absolutely shocked by the products recommended here - Why recommend Tide when there are detergents that use 100% biodegradeable ingredients and packaging. same with Cascade? Same for the inclusion of Brawny and Quilted Northern - The Natural Resources Defense Council give Quilted Northern and Brawny an F - an F!!! Jeez - the recommendations seem so off target for Food52. Please pull this awful list, research companies that have subscribe & save options that aren’t destroying our planet.
FastFwd123 August 28, 2022
jmarovich August 28, 2022
Not only is Amazon a pretty horrible company, but these items can be found at much lower cost at Costco. I understand that not everyone has access to a warehouse store, but if you do, try that first because Amazon will usually cost you more money while making freaky Bezos richer :)
Lynne L. August 28, 2022
By recommending Amazon, you are just keeping Jeff Bezos horrifically wealthy and his workers essentially enslaved! The products you list are are almost all unsustainable. Ever heard of Seventh Generation?
Dd August 28, 2022
I'm a little disappointed that the choices aren't driven with sustainability and environmental impact as a consideration.
J July 6, 2021
Although my choices are different for all of these items, I totally agree that Amazon Prime rocks! I live in the middle of nowhere, with an itty-bitty grocery store, and AP kept me supplied with all of the essentials I needed during the pandemic. And, as always, the prices on so many items are literally a fraction of what I would have to pay in town.
xhille July 6, 2021
how does an article with today's date (by an author whose account is two months old) have comments from april 2019 and january 2020?

i understand that this is one person's simple perspective on things to order in bulk online.... but really jeff bezos doesn't need any more of our money..... he's already got enough to buy two joyrides to space.

i would have preferred alternatives more focused on lowering carbon footprint (have they minimized packaging? are they using recycled materials? is it biodegradable?) and treating workers better..... for the most part, these products aren't particularly innovative.

heck, nearly any instant soup can be done just with hot water instead of on the stove, without having a disposable cup. major packaging and cost savings right there with minimal effort.

one thing that *is* great about this article is the reminder that ordering a product online wastes less time and uses less gasoline than going to the store for one or two items... and why not get things in bulk that are regularly used in quantity? having products delivered as part of a route is going to use far less gasoline in that last mile to your door.

if you do have the option, i'd order through a local chain grocery or co-op instead.... you can often request items that aren't on the shelf, and many offer case discounts. and do what you can to minimize extra trips: either do all your shopping at once, or combine smaller shops with other trips, like getting groceries on your way home from work.
Jada W. July 7, 2021
Thanks for your comment, and for reading Food52. We regularly update our stories to ensure they're still accurate and relevant, and in this case, the original story from 2019 needed a refresh since Prime Pantry was no longer available. Whenever this happens, there's a little disclosure at the bottom of the story to add context and help with any confusion around older comments. We also really value, and appreciate, your comment about supporting local chain grocery or co-ops, and do speak to that fairly often as well as the benefits of buying in bulk in general and minimizing kitchen and pantry waste. There are no perfect answers, as you rightly suggest, but we hope we can offer information and guidance for the choices people make.
Ginger W. August 28, 2022
I’m just surprised with all the comments you chose to re-release. It’s got to be negative branding for Food 52, and gives more weight to the the assertion you guys got paid to market Amazon. Hoping someone in your management chain sees the backlash. Natasha’s reply is spot on in terms of how your article is received by your readers. We love Food 52.