How Long can COVID-19 Live On Stainless Steel?

We all have been battling and dealing with, or attempting to not deal with, the COVID-19 pandemic and it seems that with every answer we get creates another, or multiple, questions about this virus and how we should or should not deal with it.  Unfortunately, we have lost thousands of loved ones during this time and are expected to have many more casualties before we are able to gain control of this Corona Virus so the main goal of this post is to help to provide some useful information that pertains to how long the virus can survive on stainless steel as well as various other materials.

If we know how long COVID-19 can survive on such materials, we can better prepare ourselves when it comes to sanitizing products and avoiding contact with them as well.  This means that we can make better decisions when we do have to venture out into public areas for whatever essential need we require.  It also can be extremely helpful for the brave men and women who are work in the health care industry and anyone else who is putting their lives on the line, to help provide these essential services and products for us each and every day.  

HOW THE COVID-19 VIRUS IS SPREAD

The recent studies and data that has been collected so far shows that the COVID-19 virus is more likely to spread from person to person contact and not from indirect contact.  Does that mean you cant get the virus from touching objects exposed to it?  No, the virus is still able to be spread from exposure to different materials and surfaces.  What it does mean is that the easiest way for this virus to spread is going to be from person to person.

THE HARDER IT IS, THE LONGER IT WILL LIVE

(That's what she said)

The lifespan of COVID-19, like many other viruses in the Corona virus family, is going to depend on the type of surface that it is on.  The difference in how long it can live (and still be contagious) can vary from a couple hours to a week…yes, a week!  Please also remember that these are estimates and the newness of COVID-19 means that experts are still testing the virus so they can provide better an more accurate information. 

The information listed in the chart below was provided by WebMD and shows the breakdown of how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on various types of material:  

AIR (Self-explainatory)
2 Hours
ALUMINUM (Aluminum Foil, Beer Cans, Bleachers):
2 - 8 Hours
COPPER (Pennies, Pipes, Light Fixtures, Bracelets):
4 Hours
CARDBOARD (Boxes, Food Containers, Letters)):
24 Hours
STAINLESS STEEL (Storage tanks, Appliances, Sinks, Machinery):
2 - 3 Days
PLASTIC (Bottles, Toys, Car Door Handles, Key Handles):
2 -3 Days
WOOD (Chairs, Desks, Baseball Bats):
4 Days
GLASS (Windows, Doors, Stove Tops):
5 Days
CERAMICS (Flower Pots, Tile Floors, Dishware):
5 Days
Metal (Rings, Door Handles, Tools):
5 Days

HOT vs COLD

The length of time the COVID-19, or any other virus, can survive is based on more than just the type of surface that it is located on.  One additional factor is the temperature of the area in which the virus is attempting to live in.  Like most other viruses, the COVID-19 virus has a much easier time thriving in colder temperatures.  I do not have exact numbers on how much effect the temperature effects the virus but it seems to be consistent across the board that the lifespan of the virus is much longer in a colder environment.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Throughout this pandemic that we are all facing, it seems like there are more and more problems that continue to arise from the virus both directly and indirectly.  The most important things to remember are:

  • Avoid going in public as much as possible
  • When you do go to public places,
    • only touch things when its absolutely necessary
    • Avoid touching your face and head
    • Wash your hands as often as possible
    • Wear a mask and gloves if possible
    • Remove mask and glove properly and dispose of them correctly( not doing so will nullify the protection that the mask and glove can provide)
  • You also want to make sure that when you clean surfaces that you clean them properly and in a manor that will effectively destroy and eradicate the COVID-19 virus and any other unwanted viruses and bacteria.  If you use any cleaning agents with bleach, you want to make sure the cleaned surface stays looking wet for a few minutes after the area is cleaned
  • Clean doorknobs, car door handles and glasses often.
  • Disinfect any credit/debit cards, keys, steering wheel, and shifter when going out to shop for essentials.
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