Clorox says wipes shortage expected to last through next year
© Getty

The Clorox wipes shortage sparked by the coronavirus pandemic will likely last into next year, the company's president said this week.

“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 to be at,” Clorox President and CEO-elect Linda Rendle said Monday in a call with analysts, according to CNN.

Outgoing CEO Benno Dorer has said that demand was higher than expected for the cleaning wipes.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Frankly, we thought we would be in a better position by now, but demand in Q4 exceeded our expectations,” Dorer told Reuters on Monday. “We’re certainly not at all happy with our service levels for our retail customers on many products. We have a high sense of urgency on this with all hands on deck.”

The company typically holds its surplus aside for flu season but six times the usual demand has made that impossible this year, Dorer said. The chief executive added that supply of products besides wipes, such as liquid bleach, is likely to recover by the end of the year.

Many of the disinfecting wipes are made of the material polyester spunlace, which is also used in the production of equipment like masks and medical wipes that are also in high demand due to the pandemic.

“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.

The CEO had originally projected in the spring that wipe stock would have recovered by the summer. The company has since streamlined its disinfectant production process to improve quarterly output, according to the news service.