Examining How Long Coronavirus Lives on Plastic and Other Surfaces

For more than five decades, Rebling has been molding custom thermoplastic and thermoset parts for OEMs in a myriad of industries. As we continue to push for innovation, we have always retained a passion for safety. This passion is reflected in our protocols for our staff and the finished products delivered to clients across the many industries we serve. In the interest of safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought it would be a good time to examine how long Coronavirus can live on plastic and other surfaces.

Research is still coming in as the medical community searches for answers regarding Covid-19. However, a few studies have been published that analyze how long the virus can survive on plastic and other surfaces. The most encouraging news is that while the virus can last for varying amounts of time, people are still most likely to contract the virus from person-to-person as opposed to touching a surface and then their eyes or mouth. However, people need to be as careful as possible.

When it comes to plastics, an NEJM article cited that the coronavirus can last on plastics like food packaging, water bottles, ATM buttons and light switches for up to 3 days. There was another study by the Lancet Group, which stated that the virus can live on plastic surfaces for up to 7 days. The best course of action is to wash hands as often as possible and wipe down all materials that enter a person’s house regularly. Parents need to be on the lookout for plastic toys that their child may touch on a regular basis.

Metal is a material that all of us use every day. Whether it be keys or door handles, people need to know how long the virus can survive on these surfaces. Once again, the Lancet Group found that the Coronavirus could survive on metal for as long as seven days whereas the NEJM report stated that it can only survive for three days. Good news came out of the study regarding copper. Coins, cookware, and electrical wires made of coppers proved to provide a less stable home for the Coronavirus. After just four hours, there was no trace of the virus left on the copper surface. Paper provided even better news as the virus could not be detected on printing paper 3 hours after exposure, according to the Lancet study. Oddly, the same study showed that paper money featured the virus for up to 4 days.

With people staying at home and having their goods and products delivered to their front door, there is a lot of concern regarding how long the coronavirus can live on cardboard boxes. The good news is that the NEJM study notated that the virus could not be detected on a cardboard surface after 24 hours. People should consider leaving their boxes alone for a day before opening the package. If they need the contents of the package sooner, disinfectant wipes and hand washing should get the job done.

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