How Long Does Covid Stay In A Car

How Long Does COVID-19 Stay in a Car?

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic, affecting millions of people worldwide. Understanding how long the virus can survive on different surfaces, including in a car, is crucial for preventing its transmission. This article explores the latest research and provides guidance on how to minimize the risk of infection in vehicles.

Definition of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is highly contagious and can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Types of Surfaces and COVID-19 Survival

The survival time of COVID-19 on surfaces varies depending on the type of material. Studies have shown that the virus can remain viable for:

Surface Type Survival Time
Plastic and stainless steel Up to 3 days
Cardboard Up to 24 hours
Fabric Up to 12 hours
Copper Up to 4 hours

COVID-19 Survival in Cars

The interior of a car can provide a favorable environment for COVID-19 to survive due to the presence of various surfaces and enclosed spaces. Research has found that the virus can remain detectable in a car for:

Surface in Car Survival Time
Steering wheel Up to 24 hours
Dashboard Up to 12 hours
Seat upholstery Up to 8 hours
Air vents Up to 4 hours

Factors Affecting COVID-19 Survival in Cars

Several factors can influence how long COVID-19 survives in a car, including:

  • Temperature: Higher temperatures can shorten the survival time of the virus.
  • Humidity: Low humidity can prolong the survival time of the virus.
  • Ventilation: Good ventilation can help reduce the concentration of virus particles in the air.
  • Sunlight: UV radiation from sunlight can inactivate the virus.

How to Minimize the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission in Cars

To minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in cars, it is essential to follow these guidelines:

  • Ventilate the car: Open windows or use the air conditioning to circulate fresh air.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces: Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as the steering wheel, dashboard, and door handles.
  • Wear a mask: When possible, wear a mask while driving or riding in a car.
  • Limit the number of passengers: Avoid sharing rides with multiple people, especially if they are not from your household.
  • Stay home if sick: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and avoid using public transportation or shared vehicles.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Disinfection Methods

Various disinfection methods can be used to kill COVID-19 on surfaces in cars. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages:

Method Advantages Disadvantages
Bleach solution: Effective against most viruses and bacteria Can damage some surfaces
Alcohol-based wipes: Convenient and easy to use May not be effective against all viruses
UV light: Can disinfect large areas quickly May not reach all surfaces
Steam cleaning: Kills viruses and bacteria Can damage some fabrics

Process for Disinfecting a Car

To effectively disinfect a car, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any visible dirt or debris: Vacuum or wipe down surfaces to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  2. Apply disinfectant: Use an appropriate disinfectant solution or wipe to clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces.
  3. Allow surfaces to dry: Let the disinfectant solution dry completely before using the car.


Understanding how long COVID-19 can stay in a car is crucial for preventing its transmission. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can minimize the risk of infection and protect yourself and others from the virus.


Q: How long does COVID-19 survive on clothes?
A: COVID-19 can survive on clothes for up to 12 hours.

Q: Can COVID-19 be transmitted through the air in a car?
A: Yes, COVID-19 can be transmitted through respiratory droplets in the air, especially in enclosed spaces like cars.

Q: What is the most effective way to disinfect a car?
A: The most effective way to disinfect a car is to use a bleach solution or alcohol-based wipes on all high-touch surfaces.

Q: How often should I disinfect my car?
A: It is recommended to disinfect your car regularly, especially if you use it frequently or have passengers.

Closing Statement

By taking the necessary precautions, we can all help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities. Remember to practice good hygiene, maintain social distancing, and follow the guidelines provided by health authorities.


The information provided in this article is based on current scientific research and guidelines from health authorities. However, the situation with COVID-19 is constantly evolving, and new information may emerge. It is important to stay informed and follow the latest updates from trusted sources.