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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 Clients Say About Us

  • "Very clean and wanted to make sure I was safe. One person helped me along with the doctor so I didn’t interact with many people. Friendly warm and welcoming. Great report no cavities."
    Deborah Talley
  • "One of my crowns broke off… I was hoping just to get it glued back on, but unfortunately I had to go get a root canal and then go back to get a post put in and the crown back on. They were able to get me into a specialist the next day and then the following day back to the dentist. Entire staff very professional and caring. If you are in need of a new dentist go to GC Dental Arts you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for taking such good care of all of your clients. Highly recommend them."
    Chris Davis
  • "This place is top-notch I had my appointment I don't know if it's during or after pandemic started on May 20th. I was treated as if I was going into a surgical procedure. Went straight from my car to the exam room where I sterilized my mouth with a peroxide water mixture, and the hygienist was covered from head to toe to do my cleaning. They are a great place with a great staff and amazing doctors. Don't hesitate to book an appointment with them!"
    Gina Nowack
  • "Caring, honest, excellent service. Referred by a friend and have been very pleased with my visits since I became a patient last year. Highly recommend this office"
    Vivian Campbell
  • "he staff here was wonderful and made me feel right at home. They were quick and thorough and I was very pleased with the level of service I received. I would highly recommend this Dentist!!!"
    Jeff Roberts
  • "I have been with Gc dental arts for awhile now and every time I go it’s a great experience. The staff do a good job and Gc dental arts did very well with their preparations and safety during COVID-19 outbreak. I would highly recommend giving them a try."
    Zachary Judd
  • "Great service! Clean, honest and friendly. They do not overbook so don’t have to wait pass your appointment time."
    Kruskaya Urbina
  • "They did a really good job. Love the people and atmosphere."
    Deborah Judd
  • "The staff is too notch taking all the necessary precautions. It was nice to see then and be treated so well."
    Cristine Lybbert
  • "I’m one of those people who are not fans of dental visits but Dr Gulle and his staff are very caring and knowledgeable. Starting with the front office and his assistants, they insure you are comfortable and welcome. I just recommended him to my daughter and would highly recommend to others."
    Mary Beth Scanlon
  • "The staff was pleasant and professional. Was able to get the needed help in a timely manner."
    Joseph
  • "The hygienist was very good and explain everything."
    Odrys
  • "Thank you for the excellent service, as usual, by Gabby and Dr. Joe Gulle. Thank you also for the toothbrushes you donated for our medical mission."
    Valentin