Purell Maker Bets You’ll Stay Addicted to Hand Washing

Gojo Industries, the maker of Purell hand sanitizer, is convinced that you’ll remain addicted to washing your hands even after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Akron, Oohio based company has seen soaring sales and exponential growth since the summer, including the opening of a new factory and warehouse in Ohio, with many speculating that the company is looking for continued opportunities to grow. 

A shortage of flu cases amidst the ongoing pandemic has served as a wake-up call for the company/

 “Before the pandemic, hand sanitizing was viewed as not necessary, or not necessarily value added in terms of risk reduction when it comes to health,” said Gojo vice president of hygiene science and public health Jim Abrogost. “The pandemic is a real wake-up call for everyone globally on the importance of infection protection.” 

Hand sanitizer sales have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic after initially being in short supply, much like toilet paper. Filling the gaps between hand sanitizer supply included stay-at-home parents to distilleries and, although supply has recovered, sanitizer sales continue to outpace paper towels and other sanitation products. 

Gojo’s competitors nonetheless are skirtish about building additional factories as a means to ensure adequate supply. Many, such as Proctor and Gamble, believe that doing so could cause them to have excess supply and mounting costs if demand eventually shrinks again. 

In November, Clorox – which has also experienced record sales – stated that its plans for increasing capacity do not include a new factory but instead focuses on boosting production capacity and hiring third-party manufacturers. 

Carey Jaros, Gojo’s CEO, said that she did not expect to add a new facility for at least a decade but that the ongoing pandemic rushed the timeline. In 2020, she oversaw roughly $400 million in spending on capital investments and hired an additional 500 employees. 

GoJo Industries invented Purell, an alcohol-based hand cleanser, in the 1980s before selling the brand in 2004 to Johnson & Johnson and regaining full control in 2010.

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