According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is thought to primarily spread through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other. However, they note that it can also be spread by airborne transmission, and less commonly, through contact with contaminated surfaces. Previous research has determined that how long the virus can live, depends on the type of surface it lands on. And now, a new study reveals that COVID-19 can survive a surprisingly long time on one that all of us come into contact with endless times daily. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus

COVID-19 Can Live on Fabrics for Three Days, New Study Finds

According to the study conducted by scientists at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) in the UK, the virus which causes COVID-19 can live on fabrics—including clothing or upholstery—for up to three days. Polyester gave the virus the most life, at over 72 hours, while it could survive on cotton for one day and poly-cotton, for six hours. For their experiment, scientists used a model coronavirus called HCoV-OC43—which has a very similar structure and survival pattern to that of SARS-CoV-2—adding droplets to the various textiles. 

“When the pandemic first started, there was very little understanding of how long coronavirus could survive on textiles,” Dr. Katie Laird, Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group at DMU, explains in a press release on the university’s website. 

“Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus. If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of the virus on other surfaces.” 

The good news? Researchers determined that soap and hot water—153 degrees Fahrenheit (67 degrees Celsius) could effectively sanitize 100% cotton fabric. The bad? Most household washing machines only go up to 130 degrees. Because only hospital machines can get that hot, Dr. Laird suggests hospital staff leaving their uniforms at work and having them laundered there. 

“This research has reinforced my recommendation that all health-care uniforms should be washed on site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry,” she said. “These wash methods are regulated and nurses and health-care workers do not have to worry about potentially taking the virus home.”

RELATED: If You Feel This You May Have Already Had COVID Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic

So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a clean face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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