If you walk down any aisle at any department store right now, chances are you’ll see empty shelves where the hand sanitizer used to be.
Rising concerns over coronavirus are to blame, and as the public attempts to go germ-free, it’s leading to a huge spike in demand for products like hand sanitizer.
As a result, Purell revealed that it has “dramatically increased production” to keep up with the increased demand.
But while it may seem out of the ordinary, the company, Gojo Industries, reveals demand is "still below historic levels" when compared with previous outbreaks.
Still, NBC reports that hand sanitizer sales have increased by 300% in the last week with many stores issuing limits per customer so that there’s enough to go around.
The limit doesn’t just pertain to sanitizer – it encompasses several hygienic products including hand soap, rubbing alcohol, facials masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, tissues, and bleach. Costco was even short on toilet paper as people began stocking up “just in case.”
The demand has encouraged some to make their own hand sanitizer including the state of New York, which has taken matters into its own (clean) hands.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is using prison inmates to make free hand sanitizer for the public with plans to produce 100,000 gallons a week.
Gojo Industries commented on Cuomo’s plans underlining the importance of complying with regulations.
"Hand sanitizer is regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug, and there are robust regulations around its manufacture and marketing to protect public health," Gojo Industries said. "We assume the State of New York and the company it has identified to produce hand sanitizer in its prisons understands all of this and will do what is needed to produce safe and effective product in a way that is fully compliant with all regulations and standards."
The CDC emphasizes that for hand sanitizer to be effective, it must have at least 60% alcohol.
Tito’s Vodka even had to issue a statement that their alcohol should not be used to produce homemade sanitizer.
However, the best thing you can do to prevent the spread of the virus is to wash your hands frequently and properly (Ellen DeGeneres has a thorough hand-washing tutorial that may come in handy) and refrain from touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth), which is easier said than done.