Pandemic Products That Definitely Belong In A Time Capsule For 2020

Ambar Pardilla
·Contract Commerce Writer, HuffPost
·2 min read

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These are the weird, but also kind of useful, pandemic products that you didn't know you needed. (Photo: HuffPost Finds)
These are the weird, but also kind of useful, pandemic products that you didn't know you needed. (Photo: HuffPost Finds)

Mandatory face masks, quarantine birthday parties and social distancing at 6 feet apart — you probably couldn’t predict back in 2019 that these phrases would become part of daily vernacular.

It’s been a weird couple of months. There was that time early on when “Tiger King” brought us all together. There was a baking craze that led to a flour shortage. And remember when everyone got into gardening over the summer? The new work-from-home wardrobe includes sweatpants, T-shirts and, on a good day, a matching athleisure set. On top of all of this, it’s an election year, too.

It’s going to be difficult to describe 2020 to anyone too little to remember or someone who wasn’t alive to live experience it at all. It won’t be easy to describe how fast toilet paper or flour flew off the shelves.

What we’ve all been buying during the pandemic says a lot about this particular moment in time and how we’re living through it. From roller skates to RVs, there have been products that have risen above the rest during the pandemic.

These <a href="https://fave.co/34zTjwY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">no-touch tools from Food52</a> include a "Clean Key' and nano stylus for digital signing. (Photo: Food52)
These no-touch tools from Food52 include a "Clean Key' and nano stylus for digital signing. (Photo: Food52)

Sure, there have been a few really out-of-the-box ones, like this “cake shield” to blow out birthday candles and uh, plague doctor masks have made a comeback from centuries ago.

But, there are a few weird pandemic products that are actually kind of practical. Take this clean key that can touch everything so your hands don’t have to, or a mask dispenser that can help you avoid forgetting to mask up before you go out.

We found the practical pandemic products that might make these strange times a little easier on you.

Take a look:

A face mask dispenser

Ever step out of the house only to realize that you forgot your mask? It's probably one of the <i>worst</i> feelings in these weird times. Fortunately, there's <a href="https://fave.co/3kAgEV9" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a face mask dispenser</a> for that. Fill it up with either <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-to-buy-cloth-face-masks-for-coronavirus-online_l_5eb9776dc5b665d677b8e1df" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reusable</a> or disposable face masks that'll stay clean in there. <a href="https://fave.co/3kAgEV9" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $22 at Yamazaki</a>.
Ever step out of the house only to realize that you forgot your mask? It's probably one of the worst feelings in these weird times. Fortunately, there's a face mask dispenser for that. Fill it up with either reusable or disposable face masks that'll stay clean in there. Find it for $22 at Yamazaki.

A touch tool so you don't have to touch anything

In the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/funny-social-distancing-products-merch-masks-shirts-pins_l_5ef50c5fc5b6ca97090cf324" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">age of social distancing</a> and staying 6 feet apart, touching things probably isn't something you want to do much of. You don't have to with this clean key for pressing buttons and pulling levers. It also comes with an optional nano stylus for touchscreens. Stay safe out there. <a href="https://fave.co/34zTjwY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it starting at $25 at Food52</a>.
In the age of social distancing and staying 6 feet apart, touching things probably isn't something you want to do much of. You don't have to with this clean key for pressing buttons and pulling levers. It also comes with an optional nano stylus for touchscreens. Stay safe out there. Find it starting at $25 at Food52.

A sexy face shield

Okay, first things first, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CDC doesn't recommend face shields</a>, so mask up too if you're going to don one of these. But, if you're looking for a relic of the times, a <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sexy-face-shields-coronavirus_l_5f15ff47c5b651977c05372a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sexy face shield</a> is just that. This one is a fashionable favorite, featuring a pink baseball cap and pink trim on the vinyl. It's definitely less scary than a <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/weird-halloween-costumes_n_5f7b3ecfc5b64cf6a25443d0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">plague doctor getup</a>. <a href="https://fave.co/3ms5zG3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $28 at Shopbop</a>.
Okay, first things first, the CDC doesn't recommend face shields, so mask up too if you're going to don one of these. But, if you're looking for a relic of the times, a sexy face shield is just that. This one is a fashionable favorite, featuring a pink baseball cap and pink trim on the vinyl. It's definitely less scary than a plague doctor getup. Find it for $28 at Shopbop.

A bidet, because of that toilet paper shortage

Well, there was a time when <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/alternatives-to-amazon-walmart-for-groceries-household-essentials_l_5e820705c5b6cb9dc1a42f98" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">toilet paper was out of stock</a> <i>everywhere</i>. It made sense that <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/easy-to-install-bidets-attachmentsoilet-attachments_l_5e70e3d8c5b6eab7793d093e" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bidets became a bit of an alternative</a> so that you don't leave a paper trail. While bidets were popular around the world pre-pandemic, they <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/05/bidets-more-environmentally-friendly-toilet-paper-shortage-coronavirus/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">haven't taken off too much</a> in the U.S. But you could be looking to change that. (One of our own editors is <i>very</i> pro-bidets.) And this easy-to-install one from TUSHY might be what your tushy needs. <a href="https://fave.co/2U9ujGE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $89 at TUSHY</a>.
Well, there was a time when toilet paper was out of stock everywhere. It made sense that bidets became a bit of an alternative so that you don't leave a paper trail. While bidets were popular around the world pre-pandemic, they haven't taken off too much in the U.S. But you could be looking to change that. (One of our own editors is very pro-bidets.) And this easy-to-install one from TUSHY might be what your tushy needs. Find it for $89 at TUSHY.

A portable toilet for when you're on the go and got to, uh, go

While we're on the topic of toilets, we have to give an honorable mention to this portable toilet, which was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-portable-toilets/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommended by Wirecutter</a> back in July. Raise your hand if you had "portable toilet" on your 2020 bingo board? Oh, no? Well, here's where we're at. You can take the Tinkle Belle (yup) all around and won't even need toilet paper. It basically <a href="https://amzn.to/2TzJLMc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">allows women to go the bathroom standing up</a>. It'll also be useful when we eventually go back to festival season post-pandemic. <a href="https://amzn.to/2TzJLMc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $28 at Amazon</a>.
While we're on the topic of toilets, we have to give an honorable mention to this portable toilet, which was recommended by Wirecutter back in July. Raise your hand if you had "portable toilet" on your 2020 bingo board? Oh, no? Well, here's where we're at. You can take the Tinkle Belle (yup) all around and won't even need toilet paper. It basically allows women to go the bathroom standing up. It'll also be useful when we eventually go back to festival season post-pandemic. Find it for $28 at Amazon.

Face mask chains

It seems we're going back to the "library chic" look these days with <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/face-mask-holders-lanyards-for-around-the-neck_l_5f185e2cc5b6f2f6c9f05f51" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pearls and chains around our necks to hold</a> our masks in place. This holder is much more stylish than some of the others and just needs to be hooked onto ear loops. <a href="https://fave.co/35GSxxE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $30 at BaubleBar</a>.
It seems we're going back to the "library chic" look these days with pearls and chains around our necks to hold our masks in place. This holder is much more stylish than some of the others and just needs to be hooked onto ear loops. Find it for $30 at BaubleBar.

A banner to celebrate one more turn around the sun

Yeah, you've probably been to a <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/quarantine-birthday-gift-ideas-for-adults_l_5f108e02c5b6cec246bffd7c" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">(virtual) birthday party </a>or two in recent months. Another trip around the sun is always a reason to celebrate, and birthdays are a bright spot in this strange year. While no one can really claim this was a <i>banner</i> year, this banner is one to remember. <a href="https://fave.co/37LKP8b" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it starting at $25 on Etsy</a>.
Yeah, you've probably been to a (virtual) birthday party or two in recent months. Another trip around the sun is always a reason to celebrate, and birthdays are a bright spot in this strange year. While no one can really claim this was a banner year, this banner is one to remember. Find it starting at $25 on Etsy.

Hand sanitizers that feel much fancier than they used to

Gone are the days of cheap hand sanitizer — since we're all using hand sanitizer much more now, some people are investing in brands that don't dry hands out as much. You might go for hand sanitizer from <a href="https://fave.co/3ea0QWM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cult-favorite Megababe</a>, <a href="https://fave.co/34vZmmr" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">personal favorite Jao</a> or <a href="https://fave.co/31MLanp" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Aesop's rinse-free hand wash</a>, which <a href="https://www.gq.com/story/aesops-hand-sanitizer-coronavirus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">GQ called a "flex</a>." One of the brands we found that was <a href="https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-hand-sanitizer" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">top-rated</a> was <a href="https://fave.co/34vdpsq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Lather</a>, with hand sanitizer that features aloe vera and green tea extract. <a href="https://fave.co/34yLXdh" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $18 at Lather</a>.
Gone are the days of cheap hand sanitizer — since we're all using hand sanitizer much more now, some people are investing in brands that don't dry hands out as much. You might go for hand sanitizer from cult-favorite Megababe, personal favorite Jao or Aesop's rinse-free hand wash, which GQ called a "flex." One of the brands we found that was top-rated was Lather, with hand sanitizer that features aloe vera and green tea extract. Find it for $18 at Lather.

A UV sanitizer for your smartphone

By now, you've probably gotten used to making sure things are clean before laying a finger on them. And it'll come as no surprise that our devices can become pretty dirty. That's why many of us have turned to <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/phonesoap-review-does-it-work_l_5e62c0bfc5b68d6164544fed" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">UV sanitizers</a>. The science is still out on how they <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/health/coronavirus-ultraviolet-uvc-sanitizers-fda-wellness/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fight against the coronavirus</a>, though an expert we talked said they can help get rid of <i>some</i> germs. One of our own editors tried out this PhoneSoap sanitizer on her phone. It is rechargeable and comes with its own carrying case. <a href="https://fave.co/3jzR01x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $100 at PhoneSoap</a>. There are <a href="https://fave.co/2JgfDUx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wands</a> and <a href="https://fave.co/3jxj31y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pouches</a> that sanitize, too.
By now, you've probably gotten used to making sure things are clean before laying a finger on them. And it'll come as no surprise that our devices can become pretty dirty. That's why many of us have turned to UV sanitizers. The science is still out on how they fight against the coronavirus, though an expert we talked said they can help get rid of some germs. One of our own editors tried out this PhoneSoap sanitizer on her phone. It is rechargeable and comes with its own carrying case. Find it for $100 at PhoneSoap. There are wands and pouches that sanitize, too.

An elastic extension to keep your face mask in place

Sometimes your mask doesn't fit <i>just</i> right. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and lots of folks have found ways to make <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ways-keep-face-mask-from-hurting-ears_l_5ea8c350c5b6fb98a2b47916" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">masks more comfortable</a>. These extensions can help if you always have red marks behind your ears after wearing a mask. <a href="https://fave.co/37O7Szo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $5 on Etsy</a>.
Sometimes your mask doesn't fit just right. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and lots of folks have found ways to make masks more comfortable. These extensions can help if you always have red marks behind your ears after wearing a mask. Find it for $5 on Etsy.

A refreshing spray to freshen up your face mask

I know it, you know it — face masks aren't always the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-to-buy-cloth-face-masks-for-coronavirus-online_l_5eb9776dc5b665d677b8e1df" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">most comfortable thing to wear</a>. But making sure you have a few that are breathable (<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-to-buy-face-mask-filters-face-masks-with-filter-pockets_l_5ece801ac5b6092688f04895" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">experts recommend face masks with filters</a>) is essential. And if you need a little bit of a boost, you can spritz this spray, which smells like lavender. These are stressful times after all. <br /><a href="https://fave.co/31PftcV" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $13 at Uncommon Goods</a>. 
I know it, you know it — face masks aren't always the most comfortable thing to wear. But making sure you have a few that are breathable (experts recommend face masks with filters) is essential. And if you need a little bit of a boost, you can spritz this spray, which smells like lavender. These are stressful times after all.
Find it for $13 at Uncommon Goods.

An adult toy that can go the distance (literally)

So, one of the side effects of everything going on right now is the lack of — well — <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-safe-sex-guidelines-health-advice_l_5e7cdd2fc5b6cb9dc19c3468" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">getting<i> it</i> on</a>. That's meant that lots of long-distance couples have had to find ways to work around that. One of the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sex-toys-couples-long-distance-relationships_l_5f208d6dc5b66859f1f345b2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sexologists that HuffPost talked to</a> recommended this little vibrator that a partner can control with an app from afar. Who knew? <a href="https://fave.co/34wyFhh" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $145 at Good Vibrations</a>. 
So, one of the side effects of everything going on right now is the lack of — well — getting it on. That's meant that lots of long-distance couples have had to find ways to work around that. One of the sexologists that HuffPost talked to recommended this little vibrator that a partner can control with an app from afar. Who knew? Find it for $145 at Good Vibrations.

The matching atheisure set that's become a quarantine staple

Listen, let's face it — the pandemic <a href="https://coveteur.com/2020/08/31/fashion-after-pandemic/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hasn't exactly been great for fashion</a>. There aren't too many trends to speak of as sweatpants, sweatshirts and slippers reign supreme. But one thing <i>is</i> for sure: The <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/athleisure-sets-lockdown_l_5ef3564cc5b663ecc855b94b" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">matching athleisure set</a> has lockdown on lock. And one of the most popular (and colorful) sets comes from sustainable and size-inclusive brand <a href="https://fave.co/36I0Msh" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Girlfriend Collective</a>. Now you might need one, too. <a href="https://fave.co/36I0Msh" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check out the sets at Girlfriend Collective</a>.
Listen, let's face it — the pandemic hasn't exactly been great for fashion. There aren't too many trends to speak of as sweatpants, sweatshirts and slippers reign supreme. But one thing is for sure: The matching athleisure set has lockdown on lock. And one of the most popular (and colorful) sets comes from sustainable and size-inclusive brand Girlfriend Collective. Now you might need one, too. Check out the sets at Girlfriend Collective.

The only essentials you'll need for your bread baking

So many were baking bread at some point during quarantine that there was an <a href="https://slate.com/business/2020/04/yeast-shortage-supermarkets-coronavirus.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">actual yeast shortage</a>. Of course, we couldn't <i>not </i>think back to that time when writing this list, especially since <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cottagecore-trend-quarantine-diy_l_5ecd875ec5b6e3f6739dbdfc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cottagecore has risen as the top trend</a> during all this. If you're hoping to bake the perfect baguette, this kit comes with all the essentials you'll need including a Danish dough whisk and proofing basket. <a href="https://amzn.to/3e2xFVh" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $35 at Amazon</a>.
So many were baking bread at some point during quarantine that there was an actual yeast shortage. Of course, we couldn't not think back to that time when writing this list, especially since cottagecore has risen as the top trend during all this. If you're hoping to bake the perfect baguette, this kit comes with all the essentials you'll need including a Danish dough whisk and proofing basket. Find it for $35 at Amazon.

A metal rack to keep essentials for socially distant outings

You might be keeping your masks away from everything else around the house, and this metal rack is the perfect place to hold them. It even comes with storage slots for <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-to-buy-face-mask-filters-face-masks-with-filter-pockets_l_5ece801ac5b6092688f04895" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">filters</a>. <a href="https://fave.co/3e0UZCS" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Find it for $50 at Uncommon Goods</a>.
You might be keeping your masks away from everything else around the house, and this metal rack is the perfect place to hold them. It even comes with storage slots for filters. Find it for $50 at Uncommon Goods.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.