Among the many unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has been unexpected shortages. From aluminum cans to coins, the crisis has been affecting supply chains for all sorts of goods and materials. Now, we can add disinfectant wipes, a coronavirus staple, to the list. According to Clorox, their disinfectant wipes are now experiencing a shortage — and it might not end until well into 2021.
Disinfectant Wipe Shortages
Clorox’s President and CEO-elect, Linda Rendle gave the news to analysts in a call on Monday, August 3.
“Given 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 to be at,” Rendle said.
Meanwhile, the company’s outgoing CEO Benno Dorer confirmed the shortage to Reuters.
“Frankly, we thought we would be in a better position by now, but demand in Q4 exceeded our expectations,” Dorer said. The outlet notes that, in May, Dorrer made a statement assuring that the wipes would be available on store shelves in the summer.
“We’re certainly not at all happy with our service levels for our retail customers on many products,” Dorrer said. “We have a high sense of urgency on this with all hands on deck.”
Complicated Reason for Shortages
Part of the cause is that many disinfectant wipes are made with polyester spunlace. That material is currently in short supply, since it’s also used to make medical gowns, masks, and medical wipes — all of which are in high demand.
“That entire supply chain is stressed,” Dorrer said. “We feel like it’s probably going to take until 2021 before we’re able to meet all the demand that we have.”
Clorox is not the only brand of cleaning products feeling the pressure from the virus. In a tweet from March, Lysol said high demand for their products “is clearly having an impact on our retailers’ inventory levels.”
“Our teams are actively working to increase the production and delivery of products to our retailers, with the goal to maximize access to Lysol products as soon as possible,” the tweet read.
This demand is clearly having an impact on our retailers’ inventory levels. Our teams are actively working to increase the production and delivery of products to our retailers, with the goal to maximize access to Lysol products for consumers as soon as possible.2/3— Lysol (@Lysol) March 23, 2020