- Clorox disinfecting wipes continue to be in short supply, the company confirmed earlier this week.
- Demand for disinfecting products remains high since the novel coronavirus pandemic is still completely out of control.
- Clorox took several measures to increase the production of its popular disinfecting wipes and expects supply to meet demand sometime next year.
- Thankfully there are still tons of face masks, hand sanitizers, and other important coronavirus supplies available, and we told you where to get them earlier today.
With no end in sight for the novel coronavirus pandemic, everyone should continue to pull his or her weight and help with the global crisis. You don’t have to be a healthcare worker or a public health official to take action. What everyone can do is try to limit the spread through a few simple measures that have not changed since the first months of the crisis. Maintain a safe distance from other people, wear a face mask in crowded places (no, face masks can’t hurt you and we just proved it), and practice good hand hygiene.
Of course, washing your hands often is only part of the efforts you need to make when it comes to cleaning. You should also clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces as regularly as possible to reduce the risk of fomite transmission. It’s well documented that the virus can survive for days on certain surfaces. While the risk of transmission isn’t as significant as sharing the same air with other people, it’s still a risk. But it turns out you may have a harder time finding some of the supplies you need to wipe down surfaces around you, as Clorox CEO Benno Dorer revealed earlier this week that disinfecting wipes supply will continue to be constrained through 2021.
Dorer told Reuters that grocery stores won’t be fully stocked until sometime next year, as Clorox is struggling with overwhelming demand. Clorox released its quarterly earnings on Monday, which topped expectations thanks to a 33% increase in revenue from the health and wellness business that accounts for more than 40% of sales.
Clorox usually stocks an excess supply of hygiene products for the flu season, but the pandemic drove up sales for disinfectants. Clorox could not meet the six-fold increase in demand, and it’s understocked across its portfolio, Reuters says.
Supply for some products will improve dramatically in the coming quarters, Dorer said on Monday. That includes products like liquid bleach but not the Clorox wipes that you may have handy around your home and in your car. Disinfectant wipes are used everywhere, not just at home. Your Uber driver, as well as airline crews, may rely on Clorox products to keep surfaces clean.
“Disinfecting wipes, which are the hottest commodity in the business right now, will probably take longer because it’s a very complex supply chain to make them,” Dorer said. “That entire supply chain is stressed. … We feel like it’s probably going to take until 2021 before we’re able to meet all the demand that we have.”
It’s not just Clorox that may be experiencing supply issues. The disinfecting wipes are made with polyester spunlace, a material that’s also used to make personal protective equipment, including face masks, gowns, and medical wipes. Needless to say, it’s in very high demand right now.
Dorer said in May that Clorox wipes would be easier to find on store shelves by this summer, but that estimate is no longer valid. The company made “major” capital investments to ramp up production and simplify its disinfectant product lineup in factories that run 24/7 every day of the year. Clorox also outsourced manufacturing to 10 third-party suppliers and will increase that number to meet demand.