Spring cleaning: How long does coronavirus last on common household surfaces?

The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to a common inquiry by local residents with information on the average time novel coronavirus lives on common surfaces. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to a common inquiry by local residents with information on the average time novel coronavirus lives on common surfaces. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to a common inquiry by local residents with information on the average time novel coronavirus lives on common surfaces. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

A number of recent scientific studies, including one in The New England Journal of Medicine, have confirmed that the COVID-19 virus can last anywhere from hours to days on different household surfaces.

The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to a common inquiry by local residents with information on the average time novel coronavirus lives on common surfaces.

Scientific studies have confirmed that the virus can live on plastic surfaces for 72 hours, stainless steel for 48 hours and cardboard for 24 hours.

The information was provided by the department “in an effort to help stop the spread and answer a common question we receive,” officials said. “Remember to wipe down commonly touched surfaces with disinfectant, and continue to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common spread of the virus happens during close contact—within 6 feet—and occurs via respiratory droplets.


“Transmission of novel coronavirus from contaminated surfaces has not been documented,” the CDC says. “Current evidence suggests that [COVID-19] may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.”

The CDC recommends individuals clean and disinfect visibly dirty surfaces to prevent spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

In order to limit the survival of the virus in various environments, best practices include cleaning to remove germs, dirt and other impurities from surfaces and disinfecting by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces.

Among other high-touched areas in the home that should be cleaned and disinfected are tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, handles, toilets, remote controls and sinks.
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


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