Clorox wipes will be hard to find until 2021, thanks to a ‘very complex’ supply chain shared with personal protective equipment

  • Clorox wipes are expected to remain in short supply well into 2021 as a result of a “very complex” supply chain that shares a raw material used for personal protective equipment, CEO Benno Dorer says.
  • The company is struggling to keep up with high demand for disinfectants, which has increased at rates of up to 500% in some categories.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Clorox disinfectant wipes are still flying off the shelves at record rates, and the company says consumers should not to expect the shortages to stop anytime soon – crediting a lack of raw materials available to manufacture the product.  

Unlike items like toilet paper — which became a hot commodity early on during the pandemic because of “panic buying” — the supply chain for disinfectant wipes is “very complex,” Clorox CEO Benno Dorer told Reuters. Clorox wipes are made of the same raw materials, polyester spunlace, also used in the production of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns.

“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,” Dorer told Reuters. 

Clorox on Monday reported a 22% increase in sales in its most recent quarter, with its “Health and Wellness” segment growing by 33%.

Despite a boost in sales and the stockpiling of disinfectant products in advance of major flu seasons, Clorox has struggled to meet the needs of consumers seeking out its products, which have grown significantly in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. In May 2020, Dorer said that though the company had increased production by 40%, it simply couldn’t meet customer demand that had grown by as much as 500%, according to CNBC.

And it’s not just Clorox struggling to keep up — competitors like Seventh Generation and Lysol are also incapable of keeping shelves stocked due to raw material constraints, with the former attempting to respond to demand rising by almost 400%, CNBC reported

Looking ahead, Dorer said on a call to investors that despite current supply chain woes, the company plans to expand its disinfectant products into international markets in the coming months. 

“We absolutely have an opportunity to expand our product forms in countries we compete in today,” he said. “So for example, there are many places around the world where wipes have low penetration or we don’t play and we see that as being an offering that consumers might be ready for in different areas of the world.”

 

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