How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?

How Long Does the Coronavirus Live

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, they send droplets containing the virus into the air. A healthy person can then breathe in those droplets. You can also catch the virus if you touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Coronavirus: What you Need to Know

The coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. How long it survives depends on the material the surface is made from.

Here's a guide to how long coronaviruses -- the family of viruses that includes the one that causes COVID-19 -- can live on some of the surfaces you probably touch on a daily basis. Keep in mind that researchers still have a lot to learn about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For example, they don't know whether exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight affects how long it lives on surfaces.

Metal
Examples: doorknobs, jewelry, silverware
5 days

Wood
Examples: furniture, decking
4 days

Plastics
Examples: packaging like milk containers and detergent bottles, subway and bus seats, backpacks, elevator buttons
2 to 3 days

Stainless steel
Examples: refrigerators, pots and pans, sinks, some water bottles
2 to 3 days

Cardboard
Examples: shipping boxes
24 hours

Copper
Examples: pennies, teakettles, cookware
4 hours

Aluminum
Examples: soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles
2 to 8 hours

Glass
Examples: drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows
Up to 5 days

Ceramics
Examples: dishes, pottery, mugs
5 days

Paper
The length of time varies. Some strains of coronavirus live for only a few minutes on paper, while others live for up to 5 days.

Food

Coronavirus doesn't seem to spread through exposure to food. Still, it's a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables under running water before you eat them. Scrub them with a brush or your hands to remove any germs that might be on their surface. Wash your hands after you visit the supermarket. If you have a weakened immune system, you might want to buy frozen or canned produce.

Water

Coronavirus hasn't been found in drinking water. If it does get into the water supply, your local water treatment plant filters and disinfects the water, which should kill any germs.

Coronaviruses can live on a variety of other surfaces, like fabrics and countertops. One study tested the shoe soles of medical staff in a Chinese hospital intensive care unit (ICU) and found that half were positive for nucleic acids from the virus. But it’s not clear whether these pieces of the virus cause infection. The hospital’s general ward, which had people with milder cases, was less contaminated than the ICU.

Coronavirus Transmission: What You Need to Know

What You Can Do

To reduce your chance of catching or spreading coronavirus, clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects in your home and office every day. This includes:

  • Countertops
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Remote controls
  • Toilets

Use a household cleaning spray or wipe. If the surfaces are dirty, clean them first with soap and water and then disinfect them.

Keep surfaces clean, even if everyone in your house is healthy. People who are infected may not show symptoms, but they can still shed the virus onto surfaces.

After you visit the drugstore or supermarket, or bring in takeout food or packages, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Do the same thing after you pick up a delivered newspaper.

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What Our Patients Say About Us

    I have been lucky enough to be one of Dr. Kibler's first patients and have stayed with him ever since!  He is extremely talented - he is a true artist - not only with his gentle, caring dentistry - but when you visit his office, notice the beautiful paintings of various golf course holes - all painted by Dr. Kibler - they make you think you're there on the course!  He brings that same talent to caring for each of his patients.  He treats you as if you are the only person in his office and always takes the time to ask how you are and answer any questions you have.  Recently, he needed to refer me to a specialist and after trusting only Dr. Kibler all of these years, I was concerned, so I asked him if he could recommend someone he trusted as much as I trust him and, as usual, he didn't let me down.  Dr. Kibler is a wonderful person and friend who cares about his patients and their needs and I am honored to be one of his first patients!  Dr. Kibler always has the neatest folks for his staff, too!  They are all wonderful, caring people who, like Dr. Kibler, will make you feel right at home and comfortable from the minute you walk into their office (and they are animal lovers - and we all know how special folks like that are!)  Come visit Dr. Kibler and his staff  and you will see why he has been my dentisit for over 20 years!

    S.D.

    Yes, you are in need of a dentist.  Allow me to help with your decision, as I know a terrific one, Dr. J. Christopher Kibler!!! First though, let me tell you how I found him and most importantly why I have stayed his patient for 19 years. My prior dentist was retiring and sold his practice to Dr. Kibler.  My immediate reaction was probably what your're experiencing now, dread of picking the wrong "new" dentist. Courageously, I ventured into my first appointment with him.  After all, I had to start somewhere. Safe, was my first reaction to meeting Dr. Kibler,  His whole demeanor put me at ease.  And, more than ease, I felt secure.  He has a humor that was disarming.  Looking back on it now, as I write this little piece, it wasn't that he told jokes, he had a wit about him that is clearly based on wisdom, and his joy in life. However, the most important reason that I have stayed his patient, is his skill level.  He and his staff upgrade their education frequently.  I witness the improvements each time I need his help.  There is either a new piece of state of the art equipment or a newer technique that he's mastered.  He is not only a gifted artist giving great attention to detail, he has never hurt me. In fact, when I needed to see an oral surgeon for a skin grafting procedure, I went to Dr. Kibler for my first numbing injection.  He has an absolutely pain free method of giving injections.  I repeat, he has NEVER hurt me. In closing, let me add that I have a high standard for my appearance, and having a beautiful healthy mouth is very important to me.  I have always worked in the beauty and fashion industry, so of course the veeers that Dr. Kibler created for me were beyond pretty, they are believably natural. Last, let me say that although there are many good dentists around my dentist is terrific.

    Terry S.

    For nearly TWO decades Dr. Kibler and his awesome staff have taken care of my, as well as my wife's teeth.  Cleanings, repair, filling replacements, bridges, etc..  This  man has done it, done it right and done it well.  We run a small business of 35 people,  many of them and some of our family also use Dr. K and crew.  Put it simply, they get it and they will treat you with care and compassion.  Nothing to lose, everything to gain.  #Dr.Kibler

    Greg C.