Person cleaning and disinfecting a surface in their home
Healthy Living

How Long Can COVID-19 Live on Surfaces?

Apr 3 2020

While person-to-person interaction is the main way COVID-19 is spreading, the virus can also spread via contaminated surfaces. When a healthy person touches a surface contaminated with COVID-19 and then touches their face, eyes or mouth, they risk getting infected.

Health care professionals are still unsure how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces. However, it is believed the virus can survive on different materials anywhere between a few hours to several days.

Learn how long COVID-19 could live on specific surfaces so you can keep your home as clean and safe as possible.


It is estimated that COVID-19 can live on cardboard surfaces somewhere between eight and 24 hours. If you are receiving any packages in the mail during this time, it is a good idea to wipe down them down with a disinfecting wipe once they arrive.


For plastic, it is thought COVID-19 can survive for up to 72 hours. Frequently touched plastic surfaces, such as computers, cell phones, countertops and remote controls, should be cleaned and disinfected every few days. Also, be sure to clean any plastic food containers from either the grocery store or from carryout orders with a disinfecting wipe.

Stainless Steel

COVID-19 can also live for up to 72 hours on stainless steel surfaces. Regularly touched stainless steel surfaces should be cleaned every few days. These surfaces include kitchen appliances, door knobs, cookware and faucets.


Reports say COVID-19 can live on paper from anywhere between a couple of minutes to a couple of days. It is still safe to receive and send mail, just be sure to wash your hands after handling it.


Current information indicates that COVID-19 can live for up to 96 hours on glass. Be sure to disinfect and clean glass items in your home to prevent the spread of germs. These items include, but are not limited to, mirrors, windows and glass doors.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at 888-700-9011 for questions and guidance.

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