Is there or isn’t there a dish soap shortage?

Photo: Ralf Geithe (iStock)

Here’s what we know for certain about America’s rumored dish soap shortage: It’s really difficult to say out loud. Aside from that incontrovertible fact, details are less clear. The question of our nation’s dish soap supply came to light last week as Business Insider reported Walmart, America’s largest retailer, posted signs in stores that warned of an impending “national supply shortage” of dish soap through December 1. But other retailers like Target, CVS, and grocery chains say they’ve experienced no issues. What gives?

The Wall Street Journal confirms there is a basis for Walmart’s signs: Proctor & Gamble, which manufactures Dawn and Gain brand soaps, told Walmart it was temporarily unable to produce normal levels of dish soap. (It hasn’t said why.) Walmart is P&G’s largest retail account and it often keeps less inventory on hand than other retailers, the WSJ explains, so the shortage could affect Walmart shelves while not affecting other retailers. Proctor & Gamble, for its part, was not pleased that Walmart informed the public of the shortage, as consumers stocking up on soap will only create more demand for the product. P&G says it has already resolved the hiccup that caused the supply issue, and more soap will be on the way shortly.

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Bottom line for normal shoppers: You probably don’t need to hoard Dawn in a basement bunker. It’s still available at other retailers, and P&G has promised to resume standard soap shipments soon. Again, don’t try saying that three times fast.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.