5 On Your Side

Demand, production capacity continue to perpetuate hunt for disinfectant wipes

In May, experts told WRAL supplies would be back on shelves by summer.

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Monica Laliberte
, WRAL executive producer/5 on Your Side reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Where are the disinfecting wipes?

In May, experts told WRAL News that supplies would be back on shelves by summer. 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte looked into why that hasn't happened yet.

Store shelves are still empty.

In May, experts told WRAL supplies would be back on shelves by summer.

"Every time I go, I just take a look down the aisle and you just never see them, and I haven't seen them since March," said Tina Subasic. Her son is headed back to college soon.

Recently, finding disinfecting wipes has been all about being in the right store at the right time.

"COVID is causing all kinds of shortages in every supply chain today," said Professor Rob Handfield, who specializes in supply chain management at North Carolina State University.

While some items are back, cleaning products are still hard to find.

"They're saying now late July, early August, that we should see some relief in terms of more of those products being on the shelf in the grocery stores," said Handfield.

But he warns, we won't see pre-COVID stock because of two main challenges: Demand and production capacity.

When the pandemic hit, demand for Clorox wipes jumped 500%. Even running 24/7, Clorox only increased supply by 40%.

With schools starting and COVID-19 not going away, demand will remain for the foreseeable future.

"I hope we can get some soon," said Subasic.

Handfield says lesser-known brands may be more readily available.

And since hoarding initially created the supply issues, it's likely retailers will continue to limit how much of these in-demand products shoppers can buy at once.


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