Why Is There A Shortage Of Hand Sanitizer?

The most common refrain we keep hearing during all this COVID-19 madness is “wash your hands!” Which is great advice, pandemic or not. Click here to read how hand sanitizer works against the Corona Virus.

The problem is — we’re running out of hand sanitizer. And unlike the mountains of toilet paper, some fine folks are hoarding in their homes, we actually need that hand sanitizer, and need it now. 

Since the virus spreads through contact and can live on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to several days (depending on the surface), our hand cleanliness is more important than ever. 

Because let’s face it — it is virtually impossible to not touch your face. It’s just going to happen! 

That means you want to make sure your hands are clean when you inevitably do. And since we can’t bring soap and a sink around with us, hand sanitizer is the most convenient solution.

So how did we get into this mess or a hand sanitizer shortage? And are there any solutions out there?

What’s Causing The Hand Sanitizer Shortage

Simply put? An overreaction.

As COVID-19 kicked into high-gear, hand sanitizer was among the items to fly off the shelves at stores nationwide. Part of the reason is hoarding, including those Tennessee brothers who scooped up 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer then sold them on Amazon.

Hand sanitizer is becoming increasingly difficult to find in stores, and opportunistic sellers (like the above-mentioned brothers) are charging astronomical prices for hoarded sanitizer or creating their own below-grade products and selling them on sites like Amazon. 

Some of these second-rate hand sanitizers may not even be legitimate (meaning they contain at least 60 percent alcohol). Anything less just won’t do. 

According to USA today, the cost of hand sanitizer skyrocketed after the World Health Organization declared a state of emergency on Jan. 30. A case of a dozen 8-ounce bottles of Purell went from $30 to nearly $160 on March 3. 

Why? Because they can. It’s capitalism and understanding supply and demand at its finest. Unethical? Sure, but it’s nothing new.

Well-known brands like Purell and others cannot keep up with the frenzied demand, which has led to the current situation of a hand sanitizer shortage

Tariffs Against China Adding To Problems

President Trump’s trade tariffs on goods coming from China aren’t making things any easier. Federal trade authorities have repeatedly asked for relief from tariffs on supplies and other products made in China to help. And it extends beyond just the ingredients, as Purell required a waiver to get the dispensers that are made in China for its sanitizer. 

Some tariff exemption requests have been approved by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to bring in much-needed Chinese-made medical supplies, such as face masks, surgical gowns, specimen containers, and more. This may open the door for companies to request coronavirus-related tariff relief, or at least those who make hand sanitizer are hoping so. 

Help Could Be On The Way

In addition to the potential aid provided by tariff relief to assist production, other surprising source of hand sanitizer have emerged. Some health and chemical companies are using resources to create hand sanitizer, mainly those who have isopropyl alcohol on hand. 

The FDA has also actually encouraged pharmacists and physicians to create their own batches of hand sanitizer. Consumers around the country have also tried their hand, but the FDA recommends only licensed professionals create their own as, according to the agency, they “are more familiar with standards and methods for producing drug products” than the standard “untrained” consumer. 

Distilleries around the country are also switching operations and using their supplies of isopropyl alcohol to provide some much-needed hand sanitizer. Using a recipe provided by the World Health Organization, distilleries are working with state officials to produce hand sanitizer

While it might seem easy enough to go mad scientist and make your own, the WHO recommends that the normal person leave it to the professionals. You also don’t need to look far for high-quality, affordable hand sanitizer as it’s available right here from Clean Hands Sanitizer!