SIDNEY — One of the most coveted sanitizing products sought across the country is made in Sidney, Ohio — antibacterial wipes.
Edgewell Personal Care, located at 1905 Progress Way, is the home of Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes. Its employees are working around the clock to get their highly sought-after wipes in stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working 24/7 trying to get these life-saving wipes on the shelves for every American,” said Ann Stringfield, Edgewell Personal Care’s operations superintendent. “We are the sole manufacturer of Wet Ones for the United States, Canada and Central America. We are the only plant that makes the Wet Ones.”
Wet Ones include the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride (0.13%), which is an antimicrobial agent used to kill bacteria on skin, the company’s website says. The hand wipes come in two scents: fresh scent and tropical splash.
“Our formula has been tested and found to kill 99.99% of the most commonly found forms of bacteria including strains of E. Coli, Strep, Listeria, and staphylococcus,” Wet Ones’ website says.
Edgewell is also known as Playtex Manufacturing, as it was previously owned by Playtex. Some of Edgewell’s products still carry the Playtex name on its packaging. Other than the antibacterial wipes, the factory also makes feminine cleansing cloths under the Playtex name. In addition, the company distributes Playtex Diaper Genies, which is a trash can that locks in odor.
Due the increased use of sanitizing wipes amid the pandemic, the plant’s production began ramping up in January, and then surged in February, going from two shifts working 10 hours a day, four days a week, to nonstop production.
“Usually you can find (Wet Ones) anywhere, but right now it is very hard to find them. Our demand is sky-high right now. We can not keep up. We almost doubled (in production) from where we were in January,” she said. “(Wet Ones is) a very seasonal product. We could see usual spikes (of consumer consumption) in the flu season, but since COVID happened, we have basically been running 24/7. Since the end of January we haven’t stopped production.”
Wet Ones can typically be found at all major retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Kroger and Amazon, etc., as well as on its website at https://www.wetones.com/
“We have been actively donating our product to Shelby County to try and combat this terrible virus that is haunting the world. Our team is working so hard,” Stringfield said. “Our plant has been here since 1979, but it hasn’t been until recently that we have played such an impact on the safety of every American.”
Edgewell has given their antibacterial wipes to the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services and other local fire departments, the American Red Cross, Wilson Health, Sidney City Hall and many other area businesses, Stringfield said.
“I’ve known Edgewell Plant Manager Rob Shepherd since he arrived in Sidney to take the reins of the local operation,” Mayor Mike Barhorst said. “Rob has provided product to me before when I’ve prepared gift baskets of products made in Sidney for visiting dignitaries. When the pandemic struck, he offered to provide Wet Ones for sanitizing purposes at City Hall, and I didn’t hesitate to accept his offer. I’m am sure that the use of the Wet Ones has helped to keep COVID-19 out of City Hall.”
“I’m also grateful for the hard work and long hours the employees of Edgewell have expended to help America defeat the pandemic. They are certainly heroes, and they are right here in Sidney!” Barhorst said.
Stringfield praised Shepherd’s leadership and Edgewell’s appreciation of employees, especially during this time. Over the last month, in an effort so show appreciation, she said the business has issued food vouchers for a family meal for employees from Cracker Barrel. Stringfield has been authorized to order the meals and transport them back to the factory to have ready for employees to take home after a long day of work.
To help keep employees safe, in addition to the previous mandatory policy of workers wearing of eye protection and gloves in the factory, Edgewell Personal Care has also implemented the wearing of masks. The company also added an additional break room, to allow for more physical distance, and provides hand sanitizer and paid sick leave for employees.
Due to the increase of production, Edgewell has been actively seeking new employees since March. An additional 40 employees has joined its 110 workers since January, but the factory needs more help. Anyone interested in applying for a job at Edgewell Personal Care should go to the company’s website to apply at http://edgewell.com/careers/
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.