Which fabric does coronavirus remain active on for three days?

“Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus."

A healthcare worker treats a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) positive patient inside a COVID-19 unit at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth (photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
A healthcare worker treats a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) positive patient inside a COVID-19 unit at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth
(photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
Virus strains that are similar to COVID-19 can stay on clothing and transmit to other surfaces for up to 72 hours, according to a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) study.
Researchers tested three fabrics commonly used in the healthcare field, checking to see how coronavirus behaves on them. 
The team of researchers tested droplets of HCoV-OC43, a coronavirus with a similar structure to SARS-CoV-2, on cotton, polyester and polycotton. The cloth on which the virus remained stable for the longest amount of time was polyester, where it lasted three days and could still transfer to other surfaces. 
The virus lasted 24 hours on cotton and 6 hours on polycotton.
“Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus,” said DMU infectious disease research group head Dr. Katie Laird. "If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of the virus on other surfaces."
The researchers also found that domestic washing machines were not able to fully remove the virus from textiles when they used artificial saliva containing the virus to soil the cloth in a manner that mimics the spread of the virus from an infected person's mouth. When they added detergent and increased the temperature of the water, they were able to remove all traces of the virus. 
By increasing the water temperature to 67⁰ Celsius, the researchers were able to render the virus inactive.
“While we can see from the research that washing these materials at a high temperature, even in a domestic washing machine, does remove the virus, it does not eliminate the risk of the contaminated clothing leaving traces of coronavirus on other surfaces in the home or car before they are washed," Laird said. 
“We now know that the virus can survive for up to 72 hours on some textiles and that it can transfer to other surfaces too," she said.
“This research has reinforced my recommendation that all healthcare uniforms should be washed on site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry."