Touching surfaces is one of the most common ways to transmit SARS-CoV-2, the type of coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. It left many people wondering how long the coronavirus lasts on surfaces. Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to that because the virus lasts shorter or longer on different types of surfaces and in different conditions.
Here is the duration of the virus on different types of surfaces:
Coronavirus tends to live longer on hard surfaces than soft surfaces. But fortunately, these surfaces are easy to disinfect by just spraying them with soap, bleach, alcohol-based sanitizer agents, or other types of antiviral cleaners.
● Wooden Materials
Coronavirus can last up to four days on wooden surfaces. Things that we commonly touch in this category are desks, chairs, and other pieces of furniture.
Coronavirus has different endurance on different types of metal. It can typically last up to seven days on metal surfaces. Stainless steel is the environment in which the virus can survive for the longest period. Meanwhile, copper is the safest material because the virus can only last seven hours there. Things that we commonly touch in this category are doorknobs, elevator buttons, coins, keys, refrigerators, jewelry, cookware, eating utensils, and electronics.
Coronavirus can last three to seven days on plastic surfaces. Things that we commonly touch in this category include packaging, bottles, and bus handles.
Some strains of coronavirus can last up to four days on paper, but some others will die in just a few minutes. Hence, transmissions via paper-touching are very unlikely. Things that we commonly touch in this category are cardboard packaging, books, and tissues. Paper money is the riskiest as the virus can live up to four days on it.
Coronavirus can last up to five days on glass surfaces. Things that we commonly touch in this category are drinking glasses, mirrors, windows, and digital screens.
Coronavirus tends to have a shorter lifespan on soft surfaces. The transmissions are minimal compared to hard surfaces.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of coronavirus transmission via food. Hence, it is safe to buy or receive food from other people. However, if you share eating utensils, you may risk transmission.
Coronavirus can last up to two days on fabric surfaces. Things that we commonly touch in this category are clothes, rugs, curtains, and bedding.
Coronavirus will not infect us from staying on our skin, hair, or nails. We will only transmit COVID-19 once it enters our mouth, nose, or eyes. No studies have found how long the virus can live on the exterior surface of our body. However, there have been plenty of cases of transmission via physical contact, so it is important to distance ourselves from other people and clean ourselves as often as possible.
Even after plenty of research, scientists are still unsure how long the coronavirus lasts on surfaces. Because even if it can live on the material it sits on, there are still many factors to pay attention to, such as temperature, humidity, light intensity, and more. Hence, the best way to prevent virus transmission via surfaces is by cleaning them as often as possible, avoiding touching them, and washing your hands immediately after touching any surface.