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Hand sanitizer sales more than triples as Purell steps up production

The greatest increase in demand is for Purell's hand sanitizing wipes and surface spray.

Fear of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on hand sanitizer, leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush. But more of the clear gel is on the way.

Purell, the best-selling hand sanitizer, is pumping up production. GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell, said they increased production in January when the virus began to spread. 

“We are seeing a substantial increase in demand,” GOJO spokeswoman Samantha Williams said in a statement obtained by Cleveland.com and other news outlets. “We have experienced several demand surges in the past during other outbreaks, and this is on the higher end of the spectrum but not unprecedented.” 

The greatest increase in demand is for Purell's hand sanitizing wipes and surface spray.

According to data from the market research group Kantar, U.K. hand sanitizer sales saw a yearly increase of 255% in February. Soaps and household cleaners also saw an increase of 7% and 10%, respectively.

Prices for hand sanitizers have spiked on online sites like Amazon and Walmart, where two small bottles could cost up to $45.

Now videos of how to make your own hand sanitizer are flooding the internet and social media. 

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Walmart and other stores say they are talking to suppliers to stock up bare shelves. Sales of hand sanitizers in the U.S. were up 73% in the four weeks ending Feb. 22, compared with the same period the year before, according to market research firm Nielsen.  

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