How Long Do Bacteria Live Outside the Body

Bacteria, those pesky little buggers that get everyone sick and destroy productivity. Fighting them is of the utmost importance, especially in an office where there’s constantly people coming and going. Knowing what bacteria survive on different surfaces and for how long is helpful for protecting yourself. Still, one of the best things you can do is have your office professionally cleaned on a regular basis to make sure bacteria isn’t living a long, healthy life in your office.

Cold Virus

Technically a cold virus can survive up to seven days, but after 24 hours it starts to loose it’s ability to infect. Cold virus bacteria actually live longer on nonporous surfaces like stainless steel, plastics, and laminate. This makes a typical office desk a perfect environment for the cold virus. Make sure you periodically clean your keyboard, mouse, and any other hard surface on your desk you touch regularly.

Flu Virus

Thankfully, flu viruses survive much shorter periods of time on your hands or in tissues than they do on hard surfaces. On those hard surfaces, however, a flu virus can survive for up to 24 hours. Again, clean your desk, and try not to touch your face after touching communal items like refrigerator handles and microwave doors.

Stomach Bugs

There is a long list of germs that cause stomach bugs, and they can survive for anywhere from one hour to five months in one extreme case. WARNING: This is about to get a little gross. Stomach bugs are transmitted via small droplet that settle on surfaces. For this reason, it is vital to have your office cleaned regularly by a professional, and to wash your hands any time you use the bathroom.


Foreman Pro Cleaning is a full service janitorial and commercial green cleaning company equipped to keep your office in tip-top shape for years to come. If you’re ready to see how a professional can upgrade your service and keep your employees and clients happy, give us a call at 410-741-3450.