Clorox Wipes Shortage Will Likely Last Until 2021, Says CEO

Consumers looking to stock up on cleaning supplies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will continue to see a shortage in Clorox disinfectant wipes on store shelves.

Benno Dorer, the CEO and Chairman of Clorox, said that supplies of the company’s products — including liquid bleach — will improve over the next four to six months, but Americans should not expect its popular wipes to be in stock at retailers until at least 2021.

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“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 on Monday.

Companies that make disinfectant wipes often use a material called polyester spunlace, which is currently in short supply as it’s also used to create personal protective equipment such as masks and medical gowns, according to the publication.

As a result of the overwhelming demand for the material, the “entire supply chain is stressed,” Dorer explained. “We feel like it’s probably going to take until 2021 before we’re able to meet all the demand that we have.”

President and CEO-elect Linda Rendle said during a call with analysts on Monday that the company “thought we would be in a better position by now, but demand in Q4 exceeded our expectations,” CNN reported.

“We’re certainly not at all happy with our service levels for our retail customers on many products,” she said. “We have a high sense of urgency on this with all hands on deck.”

In May, Dorer told Yahoo! Finance that the company was working with the Consumer Brands Association and the Department of Justice to prevent price gouging of its highly sought-after products amid the pandemic.

“There was an issue early on [with price gouging], but it’s gotten a lot better. I see very little now — I check every single day and I don’t find anything right now,” he said at the time.

Price gouging has become common during the coronavirus crisis, as third-party sellers look to profit off the high demand for and short supply of sanitation products.

“So to be very clear, we do not condone price gouging, we want to make sure that consumers at all times are able to buy our products at the regular prices, especially during this time during the pandemic,” Dorer said. “We’re continuing to monitor the situation, we’re continuing to get people offline, every now and then it keeps popping up. But I would say it’s no longer a broad scale issue.”