Closeup portrait of a two doctors with stethoscope

Viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 -- the cause of COVID-19 -- can remain infectious on one commonly worn fabric for up to 72 hours, according to a study from De Montfort University in England.

According to the university website, scientists at De Montfort examined fabrics that are often worn by people in the healthcare industry to see how COVID-19 holds up on these surfaces. The researchers found that small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on these fabrics for hour to days.

The scientists carried out the study by applying droplets of HCoV-OC43 -- a model coronavirus that's similar to SARS-CoV-2 -- to cotton, polyester and polycotton. The model virus remained infectious on polyester after three days. It survived on 100 percent cotton for 24 hours. Finally, the model coronavirus only lasted on poly cotton for six hours.

The scientists said that the study demonstrates clothing commonly worn in healthcare settings are a risk for transmitting the virus, and that nurses and other healthcare workers could be transferring the virus to surfaces at home if they take those uniforms with them.