Coronavirus Life on Surfaces

It is always better to wait. I was compiling this data, asked by one of the journalists and WEBMD posted it today. I am sharing the same with all of you.

Metal doorknobs, jewellery, silverware 5 days
Wood furniture, decking 4 days
Plastic packaging like milk containers and detergent bottles, subway and bus seats, backpacks, elevator buttons 2-3 days
Stainless steel refrigerators, pots and pans, sinks, some water bottles 2-3 days
Cardboard shipping boxes 24 hours
Copper pennies, tea kettles, cookware 4 hours
Aluminium soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles 2-8 hours
Glass drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows Up to 5 days
Ceramics 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 doesnt seem to spread through exposure to food. Still, its 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 hasnt 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. 


To limit your chances of contracting or spreading coronavirus, clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects in your home and office on a daily basis. This includes:

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

You may use a household cleaning spray or wipe. If the surfaces are visibly 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 any symptoms, but can still shed the virus onto surfaces.

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


Additional information

Porous hospital materials, including paper and cotton cloth, maintain infectious SARS-CoV for a shorter period of time compared to non-porous material. [(U) Lai MY, Cheng PK, Lim WW. Survival of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2005;41(7):e67-e71.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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