How Long Can Pinkeye Live on Hard Surfaces?

The type of pink eye you have, bacterial or viral, determines how long a surface remains contaminated and how often you should clean commonly touched surfaces. The type of hard surface the contamination is on, such as a hard wood or ceramic, also determines how long the contamination remains contagious.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can be spread through coughing and sneezing, which spread droplets of mucus in the air. Contamination can also be spread by shared towels and commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs, computers, faucet handles, handrails and counter surfaces.

Hard Surfaces

Laminates and stainless steel transfer bacteria and spread the disease more than wooden and other porous surfaces. Temperature and exposure to sunlight also contribute to how long bacteria remain alive on these surfaces, with the time varying between 30 minutes to more than six hours. Bacteria on surfaces left untouched and missed by disinfectant will die within two days to a week.

Sunlight kills viruses, so it is highly recommend you open window treatments to catch all the sunlight you can in your home to help kill the virus on surfaces.


The best thing to do is to try not to itch your eyes and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, consistently throughout the day.