Even before the virus’ arrival, dispensers of popular hand sanitizer brands like Purell had become a ubiquitous feature in workplaces, schools and other public spaces. But where are these hand sanitizers made and is there a chance they could disappear from shelves in the long-term as the coronavirus outbreak continues?
The most popular brands of hand sanitizers are made in the United States. Purell maker Gojo Industries’ main manufacturing facility is in Cuyahoga Falls, a city between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. It also has a manufacturing facility at the former Rubbermaid headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. Purell is made at both of those facilities as well as at another facility in France.
Meanwhile, Germ-X, another popular hand sanitizer, is made by Vi-Jon. The company has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Smyrna, Tennessee, and St. Louis.
Gojo has seen a “substantial increase in demand” for its Purell products, but it’s not unprecedented when compared to other outbreaks, a company spokesperson told FOX Business. The company is now adding capacity to meet the current increased demand.
Clorox Co., which also makes cleaning products with disinfectant -- including towel wipes -- told The Wall Street Journal last week that it had also increased production to prepare for increased demand.
That demand may not be going away anytime soon. The number of coronavirus cases around the world continued to rise Thursday, with more than 95,000 confirmed, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 149 cases.
Gojo was confident it will be able to keep up.
“As part of our standard business planning, we always carefully monitor all of our sources of supply and ensure we have adequate contingency plans in place should the situation change,” the company spokesperson said. “We have also significantly increased production and are continuing to bring additional capacity online.
Purell has been around as a brand since 1988, though its roots go back 35 years before that with the invention of first-ever portion-control dispenser which was created by GoJo's founder for the heavy-duty hand cleaner the company which was sold and used by garages and factories.
Germ X's roots go back some 100 years as the Peroxide Specialty Company. It went on to become the largest private brand producer of mouthwash, nail polish remover and petroleum jelly. After changing the company name to Vi-Jon, in 1994, the company began manufacturing antibacterial soap and in 1997, Germ-X hits the market in the popular plastic bottles found in a myriad of American homes.