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Survival Time on Surfaces

Many people are asking questions about how long the virus causing COVID-19 disease lives on surfaces.

The CDC currently states that “novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials” (CDC, March 18, 2020). It is important to understand that being “alive” on surfaces is not the same as being infectious. At this point in time, we still do not know if the virus is infectious on surfaces, and if it is, how long it remains infectious. 

The good news is that this and other coronaviruses are easily killed when proper disinfection practices are followed.  This means cleaning surfaces first with routine cleansers like soap and water to remove dirt and grime, then applying a disinfectant listed on the EPA “List N”- disinfectants effective and approved for use against the virus causing COVID-19 disease, and following label directions for how to apply it and how long it must remain on surfaces in order to work.

For useful information on disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, review the guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.