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How Long Does the Coronavirus Linger on Surfaces?


While there is much that is still unknown about the Novel Coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has held firm that the most common form of transmission is through close face-to-face contact. This is why face coverings have become such a common form of protection, as even talking to another person can produce a small amount of respiratory droplets that can be inhaled through the mouth and nose and into the lungs.

However, while person-to-person transmission may be the biggest risk, it is important not to discount the fact that there is research suggesting that the virus may be passed through contact with surfaces, too. Specifically, this is most likely to occur when someone touches a surface where the virus is present and then puts their hand up to their face or mouth. This form of transmission is why proper cleaning and disinfecting remains so important, even in addition to wearing a mask. But how long does the Coronavirus linger on surfaces? What are the materials and areas that are most dangerous to touch, versus the ones that are unlikely to transmit the disease? Read on for everything you need to know, and remember that you can always trust the disinfection professionals at FP Property Restoration to keep you safe and informed.

How Different Surfaces Interact with the Coronavirus:

  • Metal: Current research indicates that the Coronavirus can last up to five days on metal. This means it is a good idea to wipe down everything from doorknobs to jewelry. There are many metals that are also used to manufacture countertops, however, half of the materials on this list can be used to make countertops, so as a rule of thumb, cleaning and disinfecting your counters often is a good idea. You may need to disinfect your cookware and eating utensils too, but remember to clean them with soap and water after disinfecting, as ingesting disinfectant spray is extremely bad for you.
  • Glass: Glass may be one of the most likely surfaces to transmit the Coronavirus, as data indicates it can last up to five days on this material and there are a plethora of common household items that are made using glass. For this reason, everything from your windows and mirrors, to electronics like keyboards and phones, to the glasses in your kitchen should periodically be disinfected.
  • Ceramics: Ceramics may also be able to carry the Coronavirus for up to five days, meaning you will want to be careful with certain kitchen items, and of course, your toilet (while we’re talking about it, you should avoid using public restrooms even more than you might normally because of this fact.)
  • Paper: This is a tricky one; while it seems that some strains of Coronavirus only live a few minutes on paper, other strains may live up to five days. Bottom line: air on the side of caution by throwing away as many paper items you can and washing your hands often.
  • Wood: The Coronavirus may be able to last up to four days on wood. In your house, wooden surfaces can include furniture and doors, as well as outside patios and deck items, so it is a good idea to wipe these areas down occasionally.
  • Plastic: It is estimated that the Coronavirus may last anywhere between two to three days on plastic. In your home, this means being careful around food containers and bottles, though plastic can be found in backpacks, dishware, toys, and many more items, too. There are also some electronic items, such as remotes, which are manufactured with plastic and touched often—meaning they should be cleaned often, too. Out in the world, many commonly touched items such as elevator buttons and public transportation seats contain plastic. This is why you should be careful to touch surfaces as little as possible whenever you leave your house.
  • Stainless Steel: The Coronavirus can likely last on stainless steel between two and three days. Because of this, you may want to periodically wipe down items like your refrigerator, sink, and pots and pans (many stainless steel products are found in the kitchen.)
  • Carboard: Fortunately, the latest research indicates that the Coronavirus is only likely to survive on cardboard for 24 hours. Unfortunately, so many packages you receive in the mail are made of cardboard, and even if that package took over 24 hours to reach you, it is impossible to say who handled it in the interim. For this reason, you should try to get rid of cardboard boxes and packages as soon as possible. In the case of food containers you have gotten takeout in, at least wipe them down before putting them in the fridge.
  • Copper: Besides pennies, you probably don’t have many copper items in your house, though certain kinds of cookware, such as teakettles, are made with this material. In general, the risk of the Coronavirus being transmitted this way is very low, since it is only likely to survive four hours on copper surfaces.
  • Aluminum: It is thought that the Coronavirus can last between two and eight hours on aluminum. In your house, you may find this material in things like cans and tinfoil, as well as some water bottles.
  • Fabrics: At the moment, there is little research on how the Coronavirus interacts with fabrics, though it is thought that the virus probably does not last as long on fabric as it does on hard surfaces.

Call Our Disinfection Professionals at FP Property Restoration

For those times when DIY disinfection simply will not do the trick, make sure to hire FP Property Restoration. We provide professional disinfectant services for homes and businesses, using all the EPA-registered products necessary to ensure your property always remains completely safe. If you are worried that the surfaces in your house or office may have recently been touched by someone carrying the Coronavirus, remain calm—FP Property Restoration is here to help.

Call anytime for emergency service at (888) 595-1105, or click here to request a free estimate online.

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