How Long Does The Corona Virus Last On Surfaces

4 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER) Fellowship PICU (Kings College London), Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital

Coronavirus is a broad name that has an array of virus traits that can potentially cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several traits of coronaviruses cause respiratory illness. This ranges from mild common cold to severe Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

However, the current coronavirus that brings about COVID-19 was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan. There is no vaccine or medicine that is discovered so far to combat this viral infection. COVID-19, thus, is now a pandemic affecting many countries worldwide.

Spreading Of Corona Virus

Recently discovered novel coronavirus spread mainly by inhaling respiratory droplets expelled by an infected person when he coughs or sneezes. So far there is no evidence it spread through the air as these droplets are comparatively heavy, and does not travel far. Instead, it promptly sinks to the ground. That is why it is recommended to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who seems sick and to avoid large gatherings.

 These droplets can, however, land on objects and surfaces around the person. Anything the person contacts or anything near him like tables, doorknobs, handrails, paper, etc. can be contaminated. Anyone who touches these contaminated surfaces, and then, without washing their hand, if touch, his eyes, nose, or mouth can be infected. That is why it is highly recommended to wash the hand frequently with soap. Soap kills the virus.


How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Surfaces?

Contact with the contaminated surfaces is the main reason for contracting COVID 19. Novel coronavirus can remain intact on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Again, how long it survives depends on the material the surface is made from. Coronavirus remains longer on some surfaces than others. It is found that the virus can remain active from three hours to seven days. The duration depends on the type of surface. After the proposed time, the virus starts to degenerate.

Here’s a guide that helps you to understand how long coronaviruses can remain on different surfaces you more often used to touch every day. However, remember, researchers still have a lot to understand about the novel coronavirus. For example, we still don’t know the effect of heat and cold exposure or exposure to sunlight on the virus. This also plays a role in determining how long the virus remains active on the surface.

  • Plastic Surfaces: Coronavirus remains from 2 to 3 days in plastic surfaces. It lives the longest on polypropylene plastic. Polypropylene is used in several household products. This includes plastic bottles like detergent/shampoo bottles, etc. It also includes stuff like backpacks, bus seats, elevator buttons, etc. medical goods like intravenous bottles, disposable syringes, pills bottle, etc.
  • Metal Surfaces: In metal surfaces, coronavirus remains up to 5days. Common metal surfaces that you contact every day are public transport handles, doorknobs, pieces of jewelry, silverware
  • Ceramics Surfaces: In ceramic surfaces such as potteries, dishes, tiles, etc., the coronavirus can survive for five days.
  • Cardboard Surfaces: On cardboard, it survives up to 24 hours. The virus starts to disintegrate over the course of a day. Therefore, delivery packages that arrive in the mail usually have only low levels of the virus. Therefore, unless the delivery man is not infected and has coughed or sneezed on it or has handled it with contaminated hands, it is relatively safe.
  • Stainless Steel Surfaces: In stainless steel surfaces such as refrigerators, utensils, pots and pans, sinks, water bottles, etc. for two to three days.
  • Copper Surfaces: It poorly survives on copper. It remains on copper surfaces like tea kettles, coins, cookware, etc. for only around four hours.
  • Wood Surfaces: In wooden furniture, wooden floor, paneling, cupboards, etc. the coronavirus can survive up to 5 days.
  • Paper Surfaces: At room temperature, that novel coronavirus can last on paper surfaces for up to four to five days.
  • Glass Surfaces: In glass surfaces like window glass, mirrors, drinking glass, glass bottles, etc. the virus remains up to 5 days.
  • Aluminum Surfaces: It remains in aluminum surfaces like aluminum bottles, soda cans, tin foils that warp the food for around two to eight hours

How To Reduce The Chances Of Contracting Corona Virus From Contaminated Surfaces?

Now you know the possibilities of contracting coronavirus from different surfaces. To reduce your chance of catching or spreading of coronavirus through infected surfaces, there is only one technique. Sanitize and disinfect all surfaces and objects in your home and office every day. This includes:

  • Remote controls and Phones
  • The keyboard of computer and laptops
  • Cell phone and tabs
  • Tables and countertops
  • Bathroom fittings and doorknobs
  • Toilet seats and fixtures

How To Clean The Surfaces

You can clean the households and offices by means of spray and wipes. If the surfaces appear filthy, you have to clean them first with soap and water. After that, disinfect them. Likewise, after visiting the medical store, grocery store supermarkets, and take away containers, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Do the same things after you pick up a newspaper delivered in the doorstep.

Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER) Fellowship PICU (Kings College London), Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

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