Clorox wipes shortage due to COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A national shortage of disinfectant wipes is creating issues for some parents as in-class instruction kicks off in a number of states nationwide. Fox’s Jenna Sachs has more on the story from Milwaukee.  

Heather Lenox, founder of Milwaukee Mom Blog is about to send four kids back to school. Their classroom school supplies lists include Clorox wipes but tracking them down is a team effort.

Lenox said, “In our neighborhood, we have a really good network of friends who will just send out a text, like this morning we got a text, ‘hey, Clorox wipes at Meijer.”

Clorox says its demand has increased six-fold during the pandemic, and store shelves won’t be fully stocked until next year.

On a Friday, contact 6 visited six retailers and found disinfecting wipes at just one. Even then, the shelves were almost empty and we could only buy one container.

We’ve grown accustomed to various shortages during the pandemic, but why have some items been able to largely return to the shelves, and wipes haven’t?

Doug Fisher, retired Marquette professor said, “You are a lower priority than an essential industry, a hospital, a restaurant.”

Doug Fisher is the former Director of Marquette’s Center for Supply Chain Management and says the manufacturing simply wasn’t in place to meet skyrocketing demand.

Fisher said, “You are not going to add a factory in short order, it can take years to add a factory.”

Rebel Converting in Saukville has doubled the time it spends making hospital-grade wipes.

Its owner wants to ‘up’ production even more, but, “The wait time for the equipment we’ve ordered since COVID, we’re really expecting to be up and online on 2022,” said Mike Kryshak Rebel Converting LLC Owner.

Then there’s supply shortages particularly with the fabric for wipes also used in masks.

Lenox said, “I have the amount that I need to send back with my kids to school.”

Heather rarely uses wipes anymore, opting for water and bleach instead saying she knows one place that needs them more.

“I want to do my part to make sure the schools are safe,” said Lenox.

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