How long does Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?

Coronavirus like most respiratory viruses spreads through tiny droplets from the mouth or nose containing virions which are small particles that contain the virus. These droplets are either inhaled by people close by or are spread to clothing or surfaces where the virus is transmitted through touch.

It is important to wash objects that come from outside your home for example when shopping disinfecting the packaging of products can help to reduce bringing the virus into your home.

washing hands

We know how the virus is spread but how long does the virus last on different surfaces?

Recently a number of studies set out to understand how long the coronavirus virions last on different surfaces here are there results and you can find a link to the studies at the bottom of this page.

Plastic and stainless steel – up to 72 hours

The study[1] concluded that droplets can last up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. A Study{2} carried out by the Imperial College London showed that viral DNA left on a hospital bed rail left for 10 hours spread to 18 different surfaces. Although the study used a different virus found in plants, it shows how quickly viruses can be spread without disinfection.

Cardboard – up to 24 hours

The study also found that coronavirus can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours. One limitation with this study is that the study was carried out indoors at a constant temperature and humidity meaning the virus could last longer in different conditions.

Clothing – Unknown

It is unknown how long the coronavirus will remain infectious on porous materials such as clothing. If you are concerned about bringing coronavirus into your home on clothing the WHO advise that washing your clothes with household disinfectants on a high temperature wash which will kill the virus. Be aware not to shake wet clothes when removing from the machine in case you release the particles into the air. Tumble dry if possible.

Where is coronavirus most commonly found in healthcare settings?

A study[3] by a lab in Wuhan China found that during the first outbreak of COVID-19 the study swabbed the most common items such as equipment and Personal protective Equipment (PPE) to test for COVID-19. The Research found the highest contaminated objects were Computers and keyboards with 16.8% positive swabs, doorknobs 16%, and hand sanitiser stations 20.3%. The virus was also found on gloves 15.4% and visors and goggles 1.7% of items swabbed came back positive. The most contaminated area of the hospital was unsurprisingly the ICU unit.

  1. https://europepmc.org/article/MED/32182409
  2. https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30253-X/fulltext
  3. https://europepmc.org/article/PPR/PPR117559