In December 2019, a flu-like illness attacked Wuhan’s citizens, and then it went on to spread around the world, becoming a global pandemic. As months passed, and scientists continued to conduct rigorous researches, some pieces of evidence came out, that gave the world some sort of findings of how does COVID-19 spread and for how long does COVID virus lives on paper and other surfaces.

In this write-up, with the help of published researches and studies, we will identify how does the coronavirus spread, and for how long it resides on certain surfaces. If you want to keep your loved ones and yourself safe from contracting the virus, read this article in full, to know what specialists have to say about the novel coronavirus officially known as Sars-Cov-2.

What leads to the spread of COVID-19?

After surviving a whole year against the pandemic, we are aware that Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is a contagious virus, and it spreads from person to person. Having said that, the researchers have proven that anyone positive with the virus can pass it on to another person.

Here is how it happens:

Let’s say someone you know has contracted the virus. When one will cough, sneeze or speak, the droplets of the virus will come out through the mouth or nose, which can spread into the air and thus land on another person.

Well, this is not the only way one has a risk of contracting the virus, some current research studies provide evidence regarding the spread of the virus through different kinds of surfaces.

How the Virus spreads from Touching Surfaces?

A landmark study, published back in March in England Journal of Medicine proves that the particles of Sars-Cov-2 can contaminate common surfaces, which can become a secondary source of transmission. If a contaminated person touches any surface, there are likely chances that the person has left the virus on the surface with his touch.

A follow-up study that was conducted in April, and published in The Lancet Journal, further supported the evidence of the previous study, mentioned above.

An Australian Science Agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization used more common surfaces, to detect the possibility of the virus on them and to find out how long do these surfaces require for the novel coronavirus to be active. Some of the common surfaces that were studied include plastic, cardboard, stainless steel, paper money, glass, etc.

However, a current study, which took place in October, has very different findings from the above-mentioned studies. As this study, published in the Virology Journal is a controlled study, it can help the medical practitioners and healthcare officials understand the characteristics of the virus better than before.

Although this study is an informative piece for medical professionals to understand the virus, it cannot be generalized as it was conducted in a lab setting. Furthermore, M.D, Sandra Kesh, Deputy Medical Director, and infectious disease specialist at Westmed Medical Group has explained, that all the pieces of evidence taken into account were set in a laboratory setting and the probability of COVID-19 particles present on various surfaces depends on many variables, including temperature, in a real-world setting.

However, this does not mean that people stop taking precautionary measures, or stop disinfecting and cleaning surfaces.

How long does COVID-19 live on Paper and Other Surfaces?

Here we will be listing few materials indicating the timeframe of how long does COVID-19 live on each of them. All of these materials are in regular use.



Timeframe for COVID-19 Particles Present


Furniture, wooden utensils 4 days


Tinfoil, water bottles, cans

2-8 hours

Stainless Steel

Utensils, sinks, refrigerators 2-3 days
Metal Doorknobs, jewelry

5 days


Teakettles, cookware 4 hours
Cardboard Shipping boxes

24 hours


Newspaper, magazines 5 minutes – 5 days
Ceramics Dishes, pottery, mugs

5 days


Drinking glass, phone touch screens 5 days


Clothes, linens

No proven evidence yet. However, it stays lesser compared to hard surfaces


No proven evidence yet

Skin and Hair

No proven evidence yet
Food Takeout, dine-in, frozen

No proven evidence yet


No proven evidence yet

Plastics Containers, polythene bags

2-3 days

P.S: These estimates are taken from a lab experiment, hence, the timeframe may vary in a real-world setting.

How long does COVID-19 live on Paper – FAQs

A study suggests, some strains of coronaviruses can remain active for up to five minutes only on paper surfaces, such as magazines, money cash, etc. However, some strains may stay on the surfaces for up to five days as well.
According to some researches, the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19 remains for approximately 24 hours on cardboard surfaces.
The length of COVID-19 being active at room temperature depends on the nature of the surface it resides.