Here's how long the Clorox wipes shortage might last

We all love Clorox wipes, but since the pandemic began back in March, they've become as difficult to spot on supermarket shelves as unicorns in a field of rainbows. Unfortunately, things will stay that way for the foreseeable future, because the company's CEO Benno Dorer tells Reuters that the company is struggling to meet demand for Clorox's most popular product. "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 says, adding, "We feel like it's probably going to take until 2021 before we're able to meet all the demand that we have."

Linda Rendle, The Clorox Co's CEO-elect, also said, "Given the fact that cold and flu (season) sits in the middle of the (fiscal) year, and 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," she said during an earnings call (via USA Today).

Clorox wipes are made with the same material as medical protective equipment

Thanks to the pandemic, demand for disinfecting wipes is six times over and above what it usually is, and as a result, the company is understocked in the product. Add to that the problem that Clorox wipes are made with polyester spunlace, the same material which is being used to make personal protective equipment like masks, medical gowns, and medical wipes. 

Clorox devotees have been going on social media for some time now to mourn the absence of their favorite household cleaner. One Instagramer went on Clorox's page to leave a note asking for answers... a timeline... anything. "My last one! This just got real! @clorox you REALLY need to get these back on shelves!" she said. There's even a hashtag now, #cloroxwipes, where Instagramers can show off their stash, or mourn the temporary absence of their best friend. 

The company is running low on its other products too

The company isn't just running low on wipes — it also has a problem fulfilling orders of Glad trash bags, and Burt's Bees lip balm. But Dorer is also promising that at least on one front, bleach supplies will continue to improve. "We'll be bringing more disinfecting capacity online in the midterm. With all the levers we're pulling to expand output, I am confident in our ability to do better for our customers and consumers." Dorer said. He added, "We're certainly not at all happy with our service levels for our retail customers on many products, as demand for our products exceeded our own expectations in the face of this persistent pandemic. We have a high sense of urgency on this with all hands on deck."

So it seems for now, homemade disinfecting wipes made with properly-diluted bleach or alcohol will have to do — if you can find bleach or rubbing alcohol, that is.