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Stock shortages: Where to go when your supply of household essentials runs low


Amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases, we're seeing bare shelves everywhere.

As COVID cases continue to rise in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, people are beginning to panic-buy Australia-wide once again. And, these high levels of demand combined with issues in supply are leading to stock shortages everywhere.

Aussies are stocking up on everything from toilet paper and hand sanitiser to face masks, bleach and beyond. The threat of catching COVID and running out of these household essentials while having to self-isolate is sending the country into a spiral.

While the worry is genuine, the need for several months' worth of supplies at home is not necessary. However, there's no denying that the products that are currently in short supply are the ones that no household can live without.

With this in mind, we've created a round-up of all those hard-to-find products. We've also tracked down some reputable online stores that currently have stock available. Scroll on to learn more.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs)

Eager as ever for life to return to normal, rapid antigen tests are being snapped up by customers as soon as the stock arrives. As a result, we are seeing numerous customer reports of missed deliveries and disappointment.

In a bid to help, we've created a guide that is being updated hourly by our teams around the clock. For those looking for where to buy a rapid antigen test online, with fast shipping and actual physical stock right now, check out this guide.

Toilet paper

A household staple that no home should ever be without. Toilet paper is one of those must-have products that we tend to take for granted until it's no longer readily available. Bare toilet paper shelves have been causing mayhem among shoppers. Which is understandable considering no-one can realistically go without it.

If you're looking to replenish your supply of toilet rolls, turn to eBay, Amazon or AliExpress. These multi-seller platforms have plentiful supplies right now. Check out our guide for further info on where to buy toilet paper online.

Hand sanitiser

One of the best ways to protect yourself from infection is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. That said, there are a bunch of instances when you won't have immediate access to soap and water. This is when a bottle of hand sanitiser really comes in handy.

As a result, this is another key product that is proving impossible to find in your local grocery stores. If you want to pick up a bottle or 2 of hand sanitiser to prepare yourself for whenever the need demands, turn to Touch Australia, Nourished Life or Biogenic Health Australia. All these retailers have great stock levels right now. Other online sources for anyone shopping for hand sanitiser online can be found here.

Face masks

Face masks are still a mandatory requirement for many Australians in any indoor setting aside from their own homes. In New South Wales, anyone above the age of 12 must wear a face mask in the majority of indoor settings, and in Victoria this applies to anyone over the age of 8. Western Australia's stance is only slightly relaxed and anyone over the age of 12 must wear a face mask when entering any high-risk setting including hospitals, residential care facilities and airports.

With this in mind, many Aussies are feeling the need to ensure they have a steady supply of face masks at their disposal. This, along with supply-chain issues, is why we're now seeing the in-store shelves stripped bare of face masks. Don't panic though! There are a pile of online retailers that have plenty of stock available.

Check out our where to buy face masks online guide for a full round-up of the retailers that currently have stock. Or, you can just head to Etsy, Clear Collective or Quality Medical Supplies now to replenish your supply with ease.


When it comes to killing bacteria in your home, bleach is one of those must-have products. It comes in handy for deep cleaning, stain removal, sanitising surfaces and toys and more. These versatile qualities have put bleach on our radar as being in high-demand at the moment.

If the shelves at your local grocery store are seriously lacking in bottles of bleach, turn to online retailers instead. Chemist Warehouse, Amazon and eBay are just a few of the options to consider when shopping for bleach online.


The general lack of groceries and fresh produce on the shelves right now is definitely disappointing. This is less down to panic buying and more due to the sheer number of truck drivers having to self-isolate at the moment. However, it is still proving to be an issue.

If you're struggling to find your favourite groceries in-store or are unable to due to self-isolating yourself, why not try ordering online? Amazon, eBay and Catch all offer regular deals on pantry essentials to keep costs to a minimum. And, if you want to check out our full list of online grocery specialists, simply click through to our guide.

And, if you're looking for some inspo to mix up your weekly menu, you could always give meals subscription services like HelloFresh and Marley Spoon a go. Get fresh ingredients and tasty recipes delivered to your door in your hour of need.

What is a supply-chain?

We're hearing a lot about issues in the supply-chain in relation to everything from rapid antigen tests to household essentials right now. A supply chain is a sequence of steps that lead to the final product being accessible to us.

Key steps in a supply chain include:

  • Planning. Both inventory and manufacturing processes need to be thoroughly planned to ensure that supply and demand are satisfactorily balanced.
  • Manufacturing. The materials need to be sourced and processed to create the final product.
  • Assembling. The sourced materials need to be assembled and tested to ensure the product meets the specification requirements.
  • Packaging. The product must then be packaged up ready for dispatch.
  • Transporting. Once dispatched, the finished product needs to be delivered to the distributors and retailers.
  • Re-stocking. When the delivery has been received by a retailer, the inventory must be checked, verified and then displayed ready for us to buy.

Any break in this chain can easily lead to unfortunate stock shortages.

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