Bad News: CEO Says Clorox Wipes Are Going to Be Out of Stock for… a While

updated Aug 6, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Consumers have grown familiar with shortages of essential hygiene supplies, from toilet paper and hand soap to hand sanitizers and disinfectants. At this point in the pandemic, it may be easier to snag rolls of TP—but don’t expect to find an abundance of Clorox wipes on store shelves anytime soon. Benny Dorer, the CEO of Clorox, told Reuters that due to stress on the supply chain, it may be 2021 before the company can meet the current demand.

Clorox is generally prepared for smaller outbreaks. Dorer said the California-based company sets aside extra supply of its products (including bleach and other disinfectant products) like for high-demand times like flu season. But Clorox hasn’t been able to keep up with the six-fold demand increase brought on by the pandemic. 

While consumers can expect increasing availability of products like liquid bleach over the next four to six months, that’s not the case for Clorox wipes. On top of the uptick in demand, wipes are just much more complicated to make—especially now that the necessary material is hard to come by, too. Disinfecting wipes are generally made of a material called polyester spunlace, which is also used in short-supply personal protective equipment like masks.

“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 told Reuters. 

If you rely on Clorox wipes to disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home, you don’t have to neglect your cleaning routine. Fortunately, you can accomplish the same thing with EPA-approved disinfectants, like bleach and hydrogen peroxide. (Just make sure to follow instructions on the product label for the surface you’re cleaning, and refer to the CDC’s disinfection guidelines for COVID-specific instructions). And as you clean, pat yourself on the back for being creative—and doing the environment a favor by skipping disposable wipes.