When it comes to estimating how long the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may stay on objects, many have referred to a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research letter reported the results of a study that tested how long the SARS-CoV2 could remain detectable in the air and on surfaces. This included the virus remaining in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel for up to two to three days. You’ll notice that most typical clothing materials are not on this list, unless you happen to wear a suit of copper armor or a cardboard box.
So which of the items is most like your clothes? Well, as suggested by an article in New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope who talked to an aerosol scientist and a pediatric infectious disease specialist, it could be cardboard because both can consist of fibers that absorb moisture. The virus needs some moisture to survive. Without it, the virus can quickly dry up and no longer be viable. So should you assume that the virus can survive on your clothes for up to 24 hours? Maybe. Perhaps.