If you live in France for any length of time, you’ll notice right away that there are different products, prices, and ways of doing things. When it comes to products, moving to France opened up a whole new world. To that end, let me get into a list of six household products you need if you live in France.
French household products
Whether you’ve lived in France awhile, are planning on moving soon, or are just curious, let’s get into my top picks for French household products. Some have to do with cleaning and others are just, well, necessary.
1. Anti-limescale laundry tablets
Hard water is bad for your skin, hair, appliances, and your clothes. To protect your load of laundry from the damaging effects of hard water in France, get yourself a box of these laundry lifesavers.
Located in the laundry detergent aisle of your local supermarket, these little anti-calcaire tablets get popped into the wash with your detergent and will not only protect your clothes, but will protect your washing machine from odor and grime as well. I never do laundry without one of these anti-limescale tablets.
P.S. If you’re in France and need a laundry detergent rec, this plastic free eco-friendly brand Clean Collective is my favorite. Get 5 euros off your first order wtih code DIAWAR49.
2. Anti-limescale bathroom spray
I’m embarrassed to say I just found this miracle product last year. It might be my favorite French cleaning product! Before then, I was elbow greasing all the faucets with my own vinegar concoction after ones from the supermarket left a lot to be desired.
But then I realized there was a better way! Enter Antikal.
This Antikal spray actually smells pleasant and gets the job done. It seriously takes white limescale buildup right off your bathroom fixtures. Just spray, wait five minutes, and rinse. Voilà. It’s really that easy. NO crazy scrubbing required.
You may have to treat heavily calcified areas a few times or for a longer period of time to get picture-perfect results, but once you start using it regularly, you’ll see what a lifesaver it is. Wish I had discovered it sooner!
3. Hard water hair packets
I told you about the prevalence of hard water in France and short of installing a water softener for the whole house, there’s not a ton you can do about it. I’ve tried shower attachments, but they don’t seem to work. FYI, you can get test strips to check your water and I use them regularly when I travel. Hey, it’s not worth the damage to my hair!
So yes, I still wash my hair with filtered water by hand like I mentioned in that post. It’s a small price to pay once you consider the alternative.
If you regularly shampoo with hard water, I’ve found these Malibu hard water hair packets to be great at getting all the ick and discoloration out that’s left behind by the minerals in hard water. Use them regularly. One treatment will leave your hair softer and shinier. They’re also 100% vegan. While they aren’t a French product per se, they are very necessary if you live in France.
4. Skinny radiator duster brush
Many homes in France have radiators in lieu of central heating. Even new homes with modern radiators can benefit from one of these radiator dusters because they’re still hard to dust behind even if they don’t have lots of nooks and crannies.
In our case, our home has a handful of old school radiators, full of nooks and crannies which easily accumulate dust. This is the goat hair duster brush I have that works wonders in between and behind all my traditional column tubes.
5. Dishwasher salt
In France and other areas of Europe, it’s standard for dishwashers to require salt. There’s a special reservoir for it on the bottom of your dishwasher and the reason relates to — yup, you guessed it — hard water.
Dishwashers in France come with a built-in water softener that gets rid of calcium and magnesium in the water, but for it to work, it requires a special salt product. I’m talking about a product completely separate from the actual detergent that you use with every load.
Wikpedia explains that “dishwasher salt, which is coarse-grained sodium chloride (table salt), is used to regenerate the resin in the built-in ion-exchange system.”
Every couple of months (depends on how often you use your dishwasher), our salt indicator light lets us know it’s time to refill the salt compartment. All you do is unscrew the cap and refill the compartment with a box of coarse dishwasher salt like this one that you can buy at the supermarket. It’s easy to find.
Dishwashers in the U.S. don’t generally require salt so this whole concept was new to me when I moved to France. Now it’s second nature, but if you have a dishwasher in France, you’ll find you need to stock up on special salt.
6. Bug zapper racquet
This electric bug racquet is my best friend in the summer months. I’m not a fan of mosquitos in the least, so whenever there are uninvited insects flying around — which is often, let’s be real — I zap ’em like crazy. It’s effective and affordable.
For the record, I don’t take pleasure in killing bugs. But if they come in… watch out! We relocate spiders instead of killing them, but I draw a line when it comes to hard-to-relocate mosquitoes. When it’s me against them, my skin is always going to win. Mosquitos and flies can live outside or take their chances. 😉
Do you use any of these household products in France? What French products are must-haves for you?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links but is not sponsored. I own and love everything I talk about.
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