SYRACUSE — Businesses and consumers are scrambling to obtain hand sanitizer anywhere they can amid the coronavirus pandemic. Supply chains aren’t able to meet the overwhelming demand.
Clean All, a 95-year-old Syracuse company that produces swimming pool sanitizing chemicals and janitorial cleaning products like bleach, says it can help by offering make-your-own liquid sanitizer kits.
Sev Gonnella, division manager at Clean All, a unit of Salina–based Solvents and Petroleum Service, Inc., says a number of area businesses and organizations that deal with the public have been calling, asking about hand sanitizer. He declined to name them but said they included companies in the hospitality and health-care fields.
The problem is consumer-hygiene products, like hand sanitizers, are regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The chemicals Clean All produces are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “We don’t have an existing relationship with the FDA,” says Gonnella.
He says it would take at least a few weeks of paperwork to obtain FDA approval in order to package and sell a finished hand-sanitizer product to consumers.
The company came up with another solution that could help immediately. Since Clean All already works with all the chemical ingredients needed to make hand sanitizer, it decided bundle them up into kits with instructions that allow buyers to make their own.
Gonnella says his firm did not have to get regulatory approval for this product. “We’re just providing the pieces for the consumer to put it together. They’re making their own,” he notes.
The one-gallon and three-gallon kits include the raw materials, in the correct strengths and proportions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) formula. That includes isopropyl alcohol (99.8 percent), hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, directions for mixing and WHO references, labels for the finished product, and an 8-oz refillable spray bottle (three in a case).
Clean All is charging $32 for a one-gallon kit (equivalent to $2 for an 8-oz bottle) and $84 for a three-gallon kit (which equals $1.75 for an 8 oz bottle).
The company is selling the kits through its store at 838 Erie Blvd. West on Syracuse’s near westside and taking bulk orders over the phone.
In the production facility in the back of the building, Gonnella says he has a crew of seven employees working two shifts a day. He expected them to produce roughly 150 three-gallon kits and 50 one-gallon kits per day.
Clean All has 15 employees, while Solvents & Petroleum Services (SPS) has nearly 100 employees total, including the Clean All workforce.
Clean All was founded in 1925 by Severino Gonnella and his mother, Amelia, in 1925. It manufactures sanitizing products for use in a variety of applications such as commercial kitchens, hotels, schools, and swimming pools. In 2014, Clean All was acquired by SPS.