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Can viruses survive on surfaces?

Personal space is a topic that has been in the headlines for over 18 months, and still the airwaves bristle with stories about the logic of new processes within gyms, nightclubs and the recently refilled stadiums, pulsating once again every weekend.

We’ve been inundated with safety measures for the last two years, whether it be social distancing, the two-metre rule, the mask, but much of the media focus has rightly centred around the remarkable ability of the COVID-19 virus to loiter. It will drift with the breeze or hang in the air of an enclosed space: unwelcome, unwanted and stubborn to get rid of.

While we should all naturally continue to respect personal space as society increasingly opens up again, it’s vitally important not to overlook the risk that remains when there’s no-one around – the risk that’s left behind on the hard surfaces of tables, door handles, windows, stools, taps, and cupboards, or on the soft materials in clothes, armchairs, curtains and cushions.

It becomes clear then that the question is not as simple as ‘‘can a virus survive on surfaces?” it extends further to “for how long?”. 

antiviral wipe cleaning spilt coffee stain

How long can viruses survive on surfaces?

According to a study in The Lancet in spring 2020, in which SARS-CoV-2 was tested rigorously in different environments, scientists found that the COVID-19 virus was able to survive on different surfaces as indicated below:

  • Plastic – 3-7 days
  • Stainless Steel – 3-7 days
  • Copper – up to 4 hours
  • Paper – up to 4 days
  • Glass – up to 4 days
  • Cardboard – 24 hours
  • Wood – up to 2 days
  • Material – up to 2 days

Clearly, these figures are subject to fluctuation depending on viral dose, ambient temperature, humidity and so forth, but these findings have been held up as public-facing facts – leading to those early government warnings around the importance of frequent hand washing.

Why are viruses such a problem if cleaning is not a priority?

We do everything with our hands – and totting up the number of ‘surfaces touched’ over the course of a 16 hour day would be a pretty tall order.

But just consider one small element of the day: the number of objects you come into contact with through a seemingly innocuous trip to the supermarket. Coats, bags, door handles, baskets/trolleys, shelves, fridge doors, tins, cartons, money, credit cards – and perhaps all of those touchpoints within your car as well.

Now let’s assume that the local supermarket has an average footfall of 100 people per hour. They will typically be open at least 10 hours/day, suggesting that 1000 different people go through the store, all of whom touch many of the same things you do.

Let’s also factor in the virus survival rate on some of those key surfaces – widening the contact pool by several days in many cases- it doesn’t take a degree in maths to work out that the potential for viral transmission is vast!

antiviral wipe cleaning down office chair

The increasing importance of home hygiene

While in public spaces, we’re very much reliant on companies and staff employing good hygiene practice, but there is certainly action we can take as individuals to mitigate against transmission from our own homes.

There’s action that we absolutely should be taking as individuals – through good hygiene and sanitisation at home, and in our personal lives – to ensure we work together as a society to stem infection and the spread of virus and bacteria.

This is increasingly important now that lockdown has ended – we are socialising much more, inviting our friends and families round and generally returning to a way of life that we remember back in 2019. After a long spell of vigilance, we need to ensure that our hygiene standards do not drop and we maintain a good routine, involving high-quality, trustworthy products which will minimise the risk level. 

Stock up on the cleaning products you require

Worldwide sales of household disinfectant grew by 47% in 2020, and let’s just say that there have been a lot of ‘new players’ to the hygiene market over the last 18 months. For the consumer, the supermarket aisles represent a bewildering array of brands – not all of which perform the roles they advertise, which can lead to the removal of product lines in some cases. 

If you’re looking for products that actively protect against bacteria and viral strains, then it pays to be a little analytical. You want to be sure that the products you’re buying are actually scientifically proven to guard against what you’re trying to avoid to an unparalleled degree.

Our Uniwipe products are among the most highly tested wipes available, and have been proven to enhance cleaning efficiency, reduce cost and eliminate cross-contamination. Dedicated product lines have been designed to focus on key hygiene-specific industries, covering catering and hospitality, education, transport, manufacturing and medical. Each pack will frequently promote the prominent strains it is effective against, and provide EN-accreditations alongside. Given that they’re dermatologically tested, they’re ideal for the home too – offering industry-level protection against common bacteria and viruses at the domestic level.




Watch our video highlighting the Uniwipe range and the processes involved in creating the ultimate range of wipes. From manufacturing and distribution to advice and customer service, our in-house production facilities mean we can offer the very best in service and quality.

With vast experience in dealing with all manner of order requests from bulk and bespoke, multiple worldwide delivery locations or phased deliveries, once the team understands your requirements any number of solutions can be arranged.
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