How Long Do Germs Remain on Surfaces?

How Long Do Germs Remain on Surfaces?

Germs are everywhere all around us, and if COVID-19 taught us anything it’s that if we don’t take care of protecting ourselves from germs, especially the more dangerous ones, we are at risk of catching illnesses and diseases. While the coronavirus pandemic has been officially deemed over, we should keep our heightened awareness regarding germs and cleanliness. 

According to NBC News, viruses, and other bugs like HMPV (a respiratory virus that’s related to RSV) could make a summer come back. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to brush up on your knowledge and make sure you’re protecting yourself and your family so you can make the most of your summer and avoid getting sick. So how long do germs really remain on surfaces and what can we do to stay protected? Keep reading and find out.

From minutes to months

There is no specific rule about how long germs live on surfaces. In fact, there are several factors that determine the length of time from minutes to months that germs can survive. The most important factors to consider are the type of germ (which virus, fungus, bacteria etc.), the amount, the type of surface (specifically soft/porous or hard/nonporous), and the environment.

Typically, viruses live longer on stainless steel, plastic, and other non-porous surfaces than on fabric, tissue, and other porous surfaces. According to the Cleveland Clinic, cold germs can live on surfaces for up to one week and are most effective in the first 24 hours, but cold germs on your hands can only live for up to one hour.

On the other hand, the influenza virus can live for up to 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces, and the coronavirus can live from a few hours to a few days. Additional bacteria to be aware of like E. coli and salmonella can live for up to four hours on hard surfaces. Since the amount of time varies drastically, it’s important to clean and disinfect surfaces that have potentially become contaminated both swiftly and efficiently.

 Safety measures to take at home

While it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid high touch areas in public as much as possible, like door handles and handrails, it can be hard to do. This is why washing your hands and using hand sanitizer often is a great way to protect yourself. At home there are some safety measures you can and should take to help stay safe and healthy. These include cleaning your home often and spending more time focusing on high touch areas in particular. You also want to ensure you are using the right household cleaning products and should read all labels before use so that you are using them properly. 

If someone in your home becomes ill or has potentially been infected with a disease or illness, you will want to clean more thoroughly and more often. In extreme cases when an illness lasts for an extended period of time, or if it is a serious disease, you may need to bring in outside help to make sure your home is safe and disinfected properly.

Biohazard cleaning in Louisiana

If you or someone at home has an extreme illness, you may need more than just household cleaners to make your home safe. Our team at Xtreme Cleaners is trained in handling sensitive situations and contaminated environments with care. We have a comprehensive process for assessing the biohazard impacts of any contaminated environment and performing the decontamination work to restore a home to a safe condition. For more information and to learn how we can help, give us a call today at 1-800-524-9591.