Household and Personal Products

by Christina Geyer on July 15, 2007 · 15 comments

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Here’s a list with some household and personal products that can be found in Germany. I had three goals in making this list:

  1. List American brands that are sold under a different name here
  2. List commonly searched for items by expats that may not be easily found
  3. And give Stiftung Warentest (a German “Consumer Reports”-type magazine) recommendations – I’ve listed these as “test recommends”, and find their recommendations as a good place to start my own product testing

It is certainly not complete, I’m sure there are plenty of products that I’ve missed, so please make suggestions or queries in the comments! I’ll update the post when new information arises and describe the updates in the comments, similarly to how I’ve been updating the American Foodstuff Substitutes post.

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BABY PRODUCTS

  • Johnson’s Baby (USA) is sold here under the brand name Penaten (DE)
  • For children’s sunscreen, test recommends: Penaten Baby Sonnencreme and Nivea Sun Sonnenmilch für Kinder
  • For diapers, test recommends: Pampers Active Fit, Fixies Active Life Extra Class, Pampers Baby-Dry, Lidl/Cien air comfort maxi play and Budinowsky/dm babylove
  • For training pants, test recommends: Pampers Easy-Up Pants

CLEANING PRODUCTS

COSMETICS AND SKIN CARE

  • Most major cosmetics and skin care lines are available in the US and Germany under the same, or nearly the same brand names (e.g. Maybelline is Maybelline Jade here)
  • Two brands I’ve heard asked about frequently are M.A.C Cosmetics, which has over 30 locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, with over 45 locations in Germany.
  • Another brand that’s come up among expats is Paula’s Choice, which does have a European website. I highly recommend the skin care if you have sensitive skin. It is fragrance, dye and irritant free.

HAND SANITIZER

LAUNDRY

  • Downy (USA) = Lenor (DE)
  • Snuggle (USA) = Kuschelweich (DE)
  • Chlorine-free bleach: Acé Milde Bleiche
  • Tide and Ariel are both manufactured by Proctor & Gamble (as is Cheer and Gain), but they are not the same product, at least not worldwide. They are both on the market in some regions, like in India, where Ariel is marketed as the higher performing of the two (see article Why Tide, when Ariel’s there?)
  • For heavy-duty laundry detergent/laundry detergent with bleach, test recommends: Aldi Tandil Ultra-Plus, Lidl Maxitrat Ultra-Plus, Persil Megaperls, domol Super-Compact (Rossmann, Müller), Schlecker/AS Ultra-Plus
  • For laundry detergent for colors, test recommends: Ariel Sprudel-Aktiv Compact Color, Aldi Unamat/Tandil Color Ultra-plus, Lidl Maxitrat Color, Persil Megaperls Color, Schlecker AS Color, Spee Megaperls Color
  • For stain treatment, test recommends: Sil Brush & Wash, Acè Milde Bleiche Vivative, Oxi Clean
  • Personally, I find a scoop of detergent and a scoop of Oxi product (Schlecker/AS brand works as well as Vanish Oxi and Sil Oxi for me) in the washing machine gets even the little grease flecks out of clothes without pretreatment needed

PERSONAL HYGIENE

  • Degree deodorant (USA) = Sure (UK) = Rexona (DE). I’m not quite sure how Sure (USA) fits into this picture.
  • For deodorants, test recommends: Rexona Activreserve Cotton Dry Stick, Tabac Original Anti-Perspirant Spray für Männer, Rossmann/Isana Pflege Mild Roller, Norma/Elcurina Deo Spray Aloe Vera. I tested the Rexona and was very happy with my results, until the weather turned hot and sticky. On sweaty days, Rexona does not quite perform as well as my old favorite Secret Platinum Protection. I think I will probably use Rexona for most of the year, but continue to import a stick or two of Secret for the summer months.

TOOTHPASTE

ETC

Hope this list helps! Know of something I missed? Want help with a product search you’re making? Leave a comment!

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  • barbara

    Hi Christina,
    How are you feeling ? It’s been so darn hot over in France this weekend. I hope that it was cooler for you.
    This is a great list. Expats always go nuts trying to finding some familar products!
    This is a handy list to print and keep near by.
    Thank you for sharing and see you.

  • ChristinaG

    Update: forgot to include the Skincare & Cosmetics and Personal Hygiene sections – added those in.

    @barbara: I’m feeling pretty good, all things considered. It’s been hot & steamy here this weekend, but luckily because our apartment is on the ground floor, it stays pretty cool inside. Take care!

  • Anonymous

    My German hairstylist doesn’t disinfect her combs/brushes/scissors between customers. Is this normal for Germany? Would she be offended if I asked her to disinfect them before using them on me?

  • megan

    Wow Christina! You’ve only got days to go and yet you’re still able to do exhaustive research. Amazing.

    The deo section made me wonder: what ever happened to clear stick deodorants?? I left the country and they just disappeared. Why? Cancer risk? ‘Cause nothing worked like those things in my opinion AND left no white trace. I’d stocked up and when I went back for more last year… they were just gone!?

    Do you know what happened? Or was I just the only one who used them?

  • Grafs

    That’s pretty interesting. Why don’t they just call everything the same name everywhere?

  • Anonymous

    OMG Christina… why didn’t you have this list when I lived there! :-) I’m off on my journey tomorrow.. wish me luck!

    Lynn O

  • ChristinaG

    @anon: I think it’s pretty normal. I’ve never seen them disinfecting their equipment. I don’t think she’d be offended if you asked, but I think she would think it was a really odd request. You might also need to bring your own disinfection stuff with you because I’m not sure that they would have anything. Germans have a very different attitude towards germs than Americans do. I don’t see them dropping dead of bacterial infections and such though, so maybe what the news in the US is always telling us about food safety and all that stuff is mostly just scare tactics to get ratings.

    @megan: Did they stop selling clear gel deodorants in the US? I haven’t head anything about it. The last time I was there was August 2006 and I stocked up – I’m on my last stick of clear gel now.

    @grafs: I dunno. Puzzles me too. I could see if something was unpronounceable or meant something negative in the foreign language, but sometimes the name changes just seem pretty random.

    @Lynn: Good luck!!!! I hope the flight goes by as quickly as possible and the move goes smoothly!

  • ChristinaG

    Added Ziploc bags

  • jeannie

    I spent a month in Germany in the Spring of 2006 and ran across some wonderful products, the best canned chicken soup I ever ate (I had tonsillitis & I wish I could remember the name) and ISANA Pflege products. The liquid handsoap (anti-bacterial or not) had such a pleasant scent that I wish I could purchase some more. I googled the product and found your web-site. Any ideas on how I get some w/o a return trip… not that I wouldn’t LOVE to go back!

    Thank-you.

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  • http://www.rejuvenateskincare.org skin care aromatherapy

    The information you posted was very helpful to me. I am sure others will enjoy it as well.

  • http://www.mytb.org/kaanosaurus Saskia

    I find that the Aldi diapers actually work better than Pampers, at least for older kids (my son is nearly 25 months now). The pampers always seem to leak… and the Aldi ones are far cheaper!
    .-= Saskia´s last blog ..Turkish Wedding Part Two The Artists =-.

  • Saskia

    I forgot to mention that you MUST rush to your nearest Aldi/Penny/any market and buy yourself some Essigreineger (vinegar cleanser). Our cleaning lady introduced me to the stuff and now I wonder why they don’t sell it in every country with a hard water problem. It is the BEST and it is very cheap. You can use it straight or diluted. I just squeeze some on my “stainless” sink and spread it around with a brush, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Also great for getting hard water deposits off of shower doors. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!

  • http://www.personaldienstleistungen-duesseldorf.de Stefan

    Thanks for the list.
    Ich lebe in Deutschland, too.

  • http://www.lr4you.de Lr4You

    Wow, is really a good contribution. I think I will look öffters pure.

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