How long can coronavirus live on cardboard?

If you’ve recently ordered a product online, you may be wondering how long can coronavirus live on cardboard? The spread of the virus throughout the world has led to lockdowns, isolations and decreased public gatherings. It’s also led to a surge in online orders and deliveries to customers who are opting to stay at home.

This has prompted many people to wonder whether shopping online is any safer than going to the local store, or whether the cardboard packaging can carry the virus too?

With no known cure or vaccine readily available, people have become more concerned about the everyday objects they interact with and the potential for surfaces to transmit the virus more easily.


How long coronavirus lasts on cardboard?

According to a March 17, 2020 study by the New England Journal of Medicine, they found the virus is detectable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. As you can see this shows that coronavirus stays LONGER on plastic and stainless steel than it does on cardboard.

The theory of low infection rates due to cardboard is reinforced by Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, she said: “If we had transmission via packages we would have seen immediate global spread out of China early in the outbreak.”

Coronavirus stays on plastic and stainless steel up to three days


Even though you may ask yourself how long can coronavirus live on cardboard, the risk to the general population is low, but you should still adhere to the following guidelines:

When you make an online order, you need to avoid close contact with couriers. James Lloyd-Smith, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology said: “this virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain.” He went on to say: “If you’re touching items that someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated.

This means you should thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect the cardboard box when you receive it from the courier. Don’t open the parcel before going through these procedures, as your risk to catching the virus could potentially increase without correct hygiene controls.

It’s unlikely the cardboard itself will have any germs from the factory or via the shipping process, however, the courier could potentially be a carrier of the disease, so you need to take extra measures to protect yourself.

Given the need to avoid unnecessary contact, some courier companies in Europe are advising customers to use a storage location of their choices, such as a garage or gazebo. Equally, social distancing is also being practiced with a two meter difference between people, that means for some delivery companies there’s no need to acknowledge receipt of the shipment on the handheld scanner.

In addition, it’s also a good idea to use prepaid payment options in the webshops rather than selecting to pay on delivery. Although it can be handy to pay the courier when they arrive at your home, you’re actually putting yourself more at risk when transferring the money, due to the closer contact between the two of you.

When ordering online, always use prepaid options such as a credit card, PayPal, bank transfer and so on, not only does it help to reduce contact, it’s also a safe way of paying for goods in case anything goes wrong!



Hopefully, you’ve learned some interesting facts relating to how long can coronavirus live on cardboard, you should also have learned extra hygiene procedures and how to reduce contact with people and couriers in your everyday life.

We’re not the only people who are issuing advice, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also given further guidelines you should follow, they said: “If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.” They went on to say: “For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

Read also: Best Eco-friendly biodegradable packaging supplies in 2020


Author avatar
Rick Thompson