COVID-19: How It Spreads & How Long It Can Live On Your Surfaces

Are You At Risk? How To Stay Safe


COVID-19 is a recently discovered infectious disease caused by the family of viruses named coronaviruses. Previous coronaviruses have caused respiratory infections in humans, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS CoV-2). COVID-19 was recently unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019.

As of April 1, nearly 30,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, with the NHS attempting to treat and administer as many tests a day as possible.

While this is still the subject of ongoing research by the World Health Organization, we currently know that COVID-19 is spread through small droplets, which contain virus particles, from the mouth or nose when a person coughs, sneezes or exhales. Transmission occurs when these droplets land on surfaces; a healthy person comes into contact with them, and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. The droplets also transmit the virus when inhaled by a person while having close contact with an infected person.

These two main modes of transmission show the importance of social distancing, washing your hands regularly and deep cleaning and disinfection. The need for social distancing is also the reason the government has put policies in place to make certain as many people stay indoors, and work from home, as possible.


What are the symptoms, and when do they appear?

The main symptoms are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough. The World Health Organisation has stated that symptoms can take anywhere from 72 hours to 14 days to appear.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

The droplets that contain virus particles are too heavy to remain airborne, causing them to fall onto surfaces quickly. This means it cannot be transmitted through the air as long as people are keeping a distance of at least 3 feet (1 meter) from others.

Can COVID-19 live on surfaces?

The World Health Organization has stated they are not certain how long the virus can survive on a surface; however, along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have found it behaves similarly to other coronaviruses. Studies from both organisations suggest COVID-19 can survive from a few hours to several days.

How long can COVID-19 live on surfaces?

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, with input from the Centres for Disease Control, reported the findings of an experiment to see how long the virus can survive on different types of surfaces. Coronavirus contamination was detectable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, while only for 24 hours for cardboard and 4 hours for copper.
The study also stated that the amount of coronavirus on surfaces decreased over time, and so the risk of infection from contact would do the same.

What surfaces are high risk?

As the virus can survive on certain materials for several days, it is advised to take caution when you touch surfaces outside your home, especially in places with heavy traffic such as shops and public transport. High-risk areas of the coronavirus indoors are railings, door handles and anything multiple people may come into contact with, and so it is important to keep surfaces clean.

Outdoors, it can be easier to keep a distance from others and avoid surfaces, but you should be alert around anything you think may have been touched by others recently. If you do come into contact with any surfaces, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

What can I do to stay safe?

As coronavirus testing is not yet widely available, it can be hard to know if a person is infected or has another illness such as the common cold. This is why it is essential to take every precaution.

Staying indoors is vital in infection control as it limits the number of people you come into contact with, as well as limiting the number of possible surfaces you touch. Medical and governmental advice is to stay at home and avoid socialising, even with friends and family.

Washing your hands often and thoroughly, especially if you touch surfaces that may have come into contact with an infected person. Anything such as door handles and tabletops can have traces of the virus that causes COVID-19, with the contamination living longest on plastic and stainless steel.

Avoid touching your face. Transmission of COIVD-19 can occur if the virus particles are on your hands. As the particles can survive in droplets on surfaces from anywhere from 24 hours to several days, you must thoroughly wash your hands and belongings before touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

How can professional cleaning services help?

Our partner services offer high quality, deep cleaning and decontamination for areas of any size with personal and public health being a top priority. Specialist training, experience and equipment allows experts to safely and quickly clean entire rooms, clearing them of lingering coronavirus particles and making it a safe area to live, work or play in again. With extensive knowledge of cleaning services and specially designed equipment, we can offer customers a reliable Large Area Fogging solution. 

To confirm our decontamination services are as effective as possible, the cleaning solution we use was recently tested for its ability to remove virus particles. Our solution, Oxyl-Pro Hand and Surface Disinfectant RTU, was combined with Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), ATCC VR-1508 Feline Coronavirus and Strain Munich and compared to a control group of water. 

Our solution achieved a 4-log reduction against the viruses, which demonstrates a 99.9% reduction of the microorganisms physically removed or inactivated. This data only confirms that we use the best equipment to keep you and your premises safe from COVID-19 and other harmful contaminants.

What is suitable for deep cleaning services?

Any room is suitable for this type of cleaning. As it only takes a couple of hours to complete and can be scaled to fit the different sized areas, this service is suitable for any public, business or residential space.