November 17, 2022

How Long does Norovirus Live on Fabric?

How Long does Norovirus Live on Fabric?

They say happiness is nothing more than good health. Indeed, if you have struggled with good health from time to time, then you agree with me that it can sometimes be very devastating. Consequently, it is imperative to ensure that you have done all that you can to prevent preventable diseases. Preventive measures can only be taken once you have fundamental knowledge about how it spreads, and how long the viruses survive on various surfaces, among others.



Norovirus, also referred to as Viral Gastroenteritis, is a contagious disease that passes from one person to another rapidly through direct contact. The virus causes gastroenteritis. As the word suggests, this is the inflammation of the stomach, and the intestines, both large and small, which results in nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea, among others.


Unlike some viruses, Norovirus, commonly called food poisoning, is not a new virus. Accordingly, a lot of research has been done, and a lot is known about it. This makes it very easy to control its spread.

How long does Norovirus last on fabric?

Viruses that survive outside the body have proved to be very difficult to control. One can easily get infected by coming in contact with the surfaces harboring the germs.

Norovirus can live on fabric for up to 14 days. This implies that if the fabrics are not cleaned thoroughly, they can infect other people or even infect the same person again long after they have recovered.

How to Clean Fabrics Infected with Norovirus

One of the most common symptoms of gastroenteritis is vomiting and diarrhea. For this reason, cleaning may involve removing visible vomit from fabrics. Ensure to take extra care to that one does not get infected.

Cleaning Clothes and Bedding

Using bleach

The surest method of cleaning fabrics and beddings of the infected person is using bleach-based disinfectants. These disinfectants have proved very useful over time.

Step 1 0f 4

First, remove vomit or stool in the clothes or bedding, if any.  This should never be done with bare hands. Use disposable gloves and a mask to reduce the risk of infection from coming into contact with the virus.

It is advisable to use a disposable fabric to clean and later throw them in trash bags. This will ensure that no one else will come into contact with them.

After this, wash your hands thoroughly with clean running water and soap. This should be done for at least 20 seconds. (Long enough to sing Happy Birthday)

Dry your hands, and then close the tap with a paper towel. This will prevent touching the virus again, which might be on the tap.

Step 2 0f 4

Add the bleach to water with disinfectant as per the directions given. At this point, it is essential to note that not all fabrics can be cleaned using bleach, as some can be damaged by the same. Before cleaning, ensure that you read the label on the material.

Step 3 0f 4

Soak the fabric for around half an hour (3o minutes). Wash and then rinse thoroughly.

Do not clean the fabrics together with the regular laundry.

Step 4 0f 4

Dry the fabrics in the open air.

Other Methods


Using high temperatures is another effective way of killing Norovirus. It is usually instrumental, especially when cleaning fabrics that cannot be breached. When using high temperatures, it is essential to ensure that the directions are followed keenly to prevent damage to the materials.

If you are using a washing machine wash and dry using the hottest setting as high temperatures kill the virus.

Alternatively, one can use oxygenated detergents. Nevertheless, directions must be followed to prevent damage.

Cleaning Mattresses


When caring for persons infected with Norovirus, cleaning vomit from mattresses is not something new. This must be done carefully to ensure that the bed is thoroughly clean, not damaged and that you will not get infected too.

Cleaning the mattress can be tedious if you don’t follow the right procedure. However, if the proper steps are followed, it becomes not only easy but also safe.

Step 1 of 4

Wipe off the vomit using a disposable cloth as much as possible. Throw the fabric in a trash bag to avoid further contamination of surfaces.

Step 2 of 4

Remove all the bedding and clean them using bleach detergents. Where bleach is not applicable, use other methods such as high-temperature and oxygenated detergents.

Remember to follow the procedure as mentioned earlier, to ensure that the beddings are disinfected.

Step 3 of 4

Sponge the mattress with bleach-based detergent for some time then steam clean it.

Step 4 of 4

Wipe the bed thoroughly with hot water and bleach detergent where applicable. Allow it to dry before fitting it into the mattress.

Cleaning Carpets


Carpets are habitually made of very delicate materials that are easily discolored by bleach.  The following are steps followed when cleaning carpets.

Step 1 of 4

Wipe off all the particles of the vomit using paper towels or a disposable cloth. Immediately throw the sheets in the paper trash.

Step 2 of 4

Remove all the liquid from the carpet while avoiding rubbing as much as possible. This will ensure that the vomit does not spread.

Step 3 of 4

Use warm soapy water to remove the remaining vomit. Repeat until the carpet is clean.

Rinse it thoroughly with a disinfectant to kill the virus.

Ensure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging it.

Step 4 of 4

Blot as much liquid as possible from the carpet using paper towels.

Dry it in the open air.

Cleaning Car Seats


The method you use to clean the car seats depends on the type of fabric. Some car seats have covers that have a lot of polyesters. In such a case, wipe them with soapy water after removing all the vomit particles.

Rinse thoroughly with a disinfectant to ensure that the virus has been killed.

Wipe dry with a towel and then allow it to dry.

In a case where the car seats have cotton covers, more cleaning needs to be done as the cotton allows the vomit into the sponge.


First, remove all the vomit particles from the seat. At this point, make sure that you are in your Protective Equipment (PPE)

Secondly, sprinkle baking powder and leave it for around half an hour (30 minutes)

Thirdly, use a disinfectant solution to clear up the area until there are no more signs of vomit.

Note: in as much as a bleach solution will instantly and effectively kill the virus, it will most probably remove color. Consider the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach.

Wipe excess liquid with a towel and allow it to dry. Leave the car open for some time to remove any remaining smell. Lastly, if possible, take the car to a professional cleaner for further cleaning.

Take your time when cleaning the car seats as they cannot be removed. For this reason, ensure that you do not pour on it much water since it will take more time to dry.


  1. Nothing is as dangerous as thinking that you are protected when you are not. Norovirus is resistant to most disinfectants.

Alcohol does not kill Norovirus. This implies that alcohol-based sanitizers do not destroy it. Consequently, ensure that a disinfectant can kill the stubborn virus before you purchase it.

  1. When taking care of an infected person, it is possible to come in contact with the virus and accidentally get infected. Seek medical attention if you begin to experience the symptoms named above.

The symptoms begin two to three days after one is infected. However, in some people, the symptoms show in about 12 hours.

Key Factors to Note about Norovirus

  1. People of all ages can be infected with Norovirus. As a result, it is essential to watch out for small children as it may lead to severe dehydration. Pregnant women, the elderly, small children, and people with chronic diseases are more vulnerable.
  2. One can easily get infected by taking food that has particles of vomit from an infected person in it.
  3. Proper hygiene should be maintained when caring for a person who is showing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. The caregiver and the infected person should wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet and cleaning up vomit.
  4. High temperatures effectively kill the virus. As a result, the caregiver should ensure that water is boiled before drinking.
  5. The virus could move from surfaces into your body by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth.
  6. Approximately 600 million people get infected with Norovirus globally in one year. The virus causes around 200,000 deaths in the same period, which results from severe dehydration.
  7. If the infected person vomits, food near them 25 feet (7.62m) should be disposed of as the virus can sometimes be airborne.

Final Verdict

Norovirus can be a big threat to our generation. Due to its longer survival time on fabric, it is vital to eliminate it as fast as possible to prevent infection. Persons that recover from the virus do not develop a strong immunity. This implies that they can get infected again after recovery if the fabric that had previously been contaminated is not cleaned.

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