WebMD News Brief

Clorox Wipes Shortage Will Last Until 2021

photo of baby wipes

August 6, 2020 -- Clorox, the largest global manufacturer of disinfectants and cleaners, said wipes and other products will continue to face shortages into next year due to high demand.

In March, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, consumers began buying large quantities of disinfectant products to clean surfaces at home, and wipes have been in particularly high demand. Clorox dominates 45% of the market on wipes, and although the company has increased production, it’s still not enough, according to CNN Business.

“Given the fact that cold and flu sits in the middle of the year, and then we expect the pandemic to be with us for the entirety of the year, it will take the full year to get up to the supply levels that we need,” Linda Rendle, the president and CEO-elect of Clorox, told analysts in a call on Monday.

Benno Dorer, the company’s outgoing CEO, specifically said that wipes shortages will continue through next year.

“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,” he told Reuters.

The company typically creates excess supplies for flu season, the news service reported, but it hasn’t been able to keep up with the 6-fold increase in demand for disinfectants. Other parts of the Clorox portfolio — such as Glad trash bags and Burt’s Bees lip balm — have been in short supply as well.

Dorer said in May that wipes would likely be restocked by the summer, but the demand has continued to increase. Wipes use a material called polyester spunlace, he said, which is also used to make personal protective equipment such as medical face masks, medical gowns and medical-grade wipes.

“That entire supply chain is stressed,” Dorer said. “We feel like it’s probably going to take until 2021 before we’re able to meet all the demand that we have.”

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 06, 2020

Sources

CNN Business, “The Clorox wipes shortage is expected to last into 2021.”

Reuters, “Clorox won’t have enough disinfecting wipes until 2021, its CEO says.”

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