Need toilet paper? How to get in stock alerts for hard to find items like sanitizers and wipes

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Try checking online if the store is out of supplies you need.

Shara Tibken/CNET

You’ve made several trips to the store this week, hoping to find toilet paper and disinfectant spray, only to encounter empty shelves. You’ve even shopped online to see if you’d have any luck, but to no avail. Unfortunately, stores are selling out of supplies fast, like disinfectant sprays and wipes, as people stock up to wait out quarantines due to the novel coronavirus. So how do you know when those products are in again? You set an alert with the store.

Or at least, you try to. At the moment, very few retailers provide an option to set up notifications when products are back in stock. It may be that stores are mostly selling these products in person, or just because the run on certain items has caused a temporary disruption in usual delivery and supply. 

We were able to find a few stores that’ll let you know when items are back on shelves — and many more that don’t. 

Read on to set up product alerts and get notifications in your email.

Stores like Walmart let you sign up for in-stock alerts.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Walmart

If a product, like Lysol spray, isn’t available on Walmart.com, you’ll see a note on the page that says Out of stock. Click the button next to it that says Get In-Stock Alert and enter your email address to be notified when Walmart receives a shipment.

Target

When Target runs out of a product on its website, you can press a button that says Notify me when it’s back. Not every product will have that option, or at least that’s what I found when I checked. Target’s help page says “Exclusions may apply for high demand or limited items,” so the notification feature might not extend to products like toilet paper and disinfectants. 

B&H

If you’re looking to install a security camera or need a laptop to work from home, B&H still has stock. But if the security cam or laptop you want is on back order, you can set an alert by clicking Request Stock Alert on the page and entering your email address. Then select Let Me Know.

Use NowInStock.net to find in-stock products

A website called NowInStock.net lets you see which stores have stock available for immediate purchase or preorder. The category is called Coronavirus Related Trackers and will show you items like hand sanitizers, household cleaning products, toilet paper, thermometers and more. While it appears right now that most of the options are out of stock, the website’s tracker updates every minute.

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Stores that don’t have in-stock alerts

These popular stores either didn’t have the option to receive in-stock alerts, the products are available in-store only or the company says it doesn’t know when the product will be restocked.

As we learn more about the novel coronavirus each day, we’re working to help keep you informed so you can stay healthy. Learn how homemade face masks may not protect you from coronavirus, where you can go during the coronavirus lockdown and what you can and can’t do. If you do go out, here are precautions to take and how to help kill coronavirus in your home and car.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.