Mythbusting coronavirus from Amazon to Zoflora: cleaning facts and fiction

How long can coronavirus survive on your Amazon parcels, and should you disinfect your shopping trolly when going to the supermarket?

According Dr Primrose Freestone, Associate Professor in Clinical Microbiology at The University of Leicester, it can take up to 24hrs for COVID-19 to clear from cardboard, and parcels with non-perishables should ideally be kept aside for a day before opening.

With supermarket trolleys and baskets, the virus can survive on these surfaces for up to three days, so disinfecting before use and washing your hands when you come home is paramount.

Dr Primrose Freestone said:

“During the lockdown, whilst we want to ensure we minimise our contact with others outside our immediate family, we still need to go to the supermarket or receive deliveries.

“There are simple tips you can follow to help keep yourself and your family safe from potential infection, especially after visiting the supermarket, receiving a parcel or your weekly shopping home delivery.”

Some tips shared by Dr Freestone to protect yourself include:

  • When coming home from the supermarket, unpack and wipe down the tins and bottles if you are using them in fewer than three days, and then wash your hands. Clean the surface, and then wash your hands again. This is good home hygiene practice.
  • It is simply easier to assume the virus is there and clean those suspect surfaces with a detergent, alcohol-based or bleach cleaner every few hours if in regular use by those coming from outside the home.
  • Hang your external jackets in a separate area away from clothes you wear inside the house
  • Wash your face or beard after you come home to avoid contamination
  • While there is no evidence so far that newspapers are a source of the virus, washing your hands after reading the paper is probably sensible.
  • Quarantine deliveries of non-perishables in cardboard boxes for a day.
  • There is no evidence yet that fruit and vegetables purchased can be a source of Covid-19 infection, however, wiping down food tins etc if intended for use in less than three days might not be a bad idea.
  • Washing hands thoroughly after handling shopping is now very important.
  • When washing clothes, heating above 60C, particularly when combined with detergents, destroys the virus very effectively.