Coronavirus National Emergency: Charmin and Cottonelle Promise to Manufacture More Toilet Paper During Shortages

Toilet paper brands Charmin, Cottonelle and Angel Soft promised to manufacture and ship more product to stores as consumers buy up stock at stores across the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Toilet paper has become a hot commodity as Americans prepare to self-quarantine themselves to help slow the highly-contagious virus from spreading. Retail experts say the shortages at stores are not due to a lack of manufacturing, but due to a spike in demand and hoarding.

"We understand how frustrating this is, and we want you to know we take our responsibility to our consumers very seriously," Charmin, owned by Procter & Gamble, said in a statement Monday. "We are producing and shipping Charmin at record high levels, and working diligently to get product to our retailers as fast as humanly possible so everyone can #EnjoyTheGo!"

"In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch or have any questions, please send us a message," the statement continued. "Thanks so much for your loyalty and patience."

Cottonelle, made by Kimberly-Clark, issued a similar statement late Monday.

"Our employees are working around the clock to ensure our products, manufactured right here in the U.S., get to you as quickly as possible," Cottonelle said. "In the meantime, please reach out to us with any additional questions or concerns."

In its statement, Angel Soft, made by Georgia-Pacific, said its employees "want to assure you that production is going smoothly, and we are shipping out product as fast as we can make it."

As the coronavirus began spreading through North America at a faster pace this past week, photos of stores with empty toilet paper shelves have gone viral. While these pictures might lead some to think there is suddenly a toilet paper shortage in the U.S., retail experts told Newsday demand skyrocketed quickly.

"Our industry is working 24/7. Product is going up and obviously, the demand has skyrocketed," Leslie Lake, spokeswoman for the Consumer Brands Association, told Newsday. "But people are going in and wiping the shelves completely clean."

Georgia-Pacific saw retail demand for its paper products double and is shipping out 120% above normal, spokesman Eric Abercrombie told Newsday. The company is also making sure its existing inventory goes directly to retailers instead of using third-party distributors.

COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, is a respiratory illness, but Americans are still buying toilet paper up out of comfort, psychologist Mary Alvord, told TIME.

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"There is comfort in knowing that it’s there," Alvord, an associate professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine, said. "We all eat and we all sleep and we all poop. It’s a basic need to take care of ourselves."

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