The Coronavirus May Be Able to Live on Shoes for Five Days, According to an Expert

The soles of shoes are known to be common breeding grounds for bacteria — and it seems the coronavirus could also be able to survive on footwear.

Infectious disease specialist Mary E. Schmidt told HuffPost that the coronavirus may be able to live on footwear for five days or more, based on studies that have been conducted on materials similar to those used for shoes. Styles made with certain synthetic materials, such as spandex, may be able to retain the virus for longer.

Although the coronavirus can linger on frequently touched services such as doorknobs, light switches and keyboards, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that the virus mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

Shoes can be cleaned by hand with detergents and disinfectants; some styles may be machine washable as well. Although sanitizing your shoes can’t hurt, experts have indicated that washing hands and maintaining physical distance from other people is the most effective measure for reducing transmissions of the coronavirus.

Last year, British women’s footwear retailer Ravel commissioned a study to examine the cleanliness of footwear, putting 10 pairs to the test. The study found that the soles of shoes carry more bacteria and fungi than the uppers. Shoes worn at the office attracted less bacteria than shoes worn at night, while leather carried less bacteria than suede.

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