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Sunday 5th April 2020

Coronavirus: How long does the killer disease live on surfaces?

And what about clothing?

With the country in lockdown and Brits staying at home, it's only natural to wonder how long the killer coronavirus will live on surfaces.

We already know that washing our hands for 20 seconds is essential when it comes to stopping the spread.

But what can we do in our homes to limit our chances of exposure?

And just how long can the COVID-19 virus live on surfaces?

The virus can live for up to 72 hours on some surfaces (Credit: Unsplash)

Professor Chris Whitty said coronavirus lives for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces.

This includes things like kitchen counters, door handles and, importantly for key workers, tube hand rails.

Read more: NHS nurse believed to be treating coronavirus patients takes her own life

He said: "If you go on the Tube and touch the rail, that's fine, but just be aware of what you do with your hands."

If you go on the Tube and touch the rail, that's fine, but just be aware of what you do with your hands.

He added: "Don't touch your face, wash your hands and then you can do what you like."

Coughs and sneezes spread the disease

The virus spreads when tiny droplets are released from the nose and mouth with a cough or a sneeze.

For instance, a single cough releases up to 3,000 droplets – and they survive for some time outside of the body.

It's estimated coronavirus can live on clothing for up to a day (Credit: Unsplash)

They land on other people, surfaces and clothing, but some can also remain in the air.

A new study has shown that droplets can live in the air for three hours.

On copper, coronavirus survives for four hours.

Read more: What to do if you get a toothache and what dentists will treat during lockdown 

On cardboard, however, it can last for up to 24 hours . So be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any deliveries.

However, the ideal spot for the virus to live is plastic and stainless steel. The virus can survive for 72 hours here.

Use anti-bac sprays daily

At home, Brits should be cleaning every day with anti-bacterial sprays or wipes.

Look for products that kill 99.9% of germs.

If you're unable to find the products or unable to get to the shops, use hot water and dish soap instead.

Washing your hands for 20 seconds is crucial (Credit: Pixabay)

Doorknobs, light switches, taps, toilet flushes, TV remotes and cupboard doors should be cleaned every single day to stop the risk of spread.

Information on how long the virus survives on clothing and textiles is a little hazy.

One expert has said he suspects the virus to be "viable" on clothing for anywhere between "several hours to maybe a day".

NHS workers who come home from a day at work are advised to head straight into a contained room – like the bathroom – remove all clothing and shower immediately.

Experts have said, though, that clothing isn't thought to be a "major vehicle" in the spread of COVID-19.

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