How Long Do Fingerprints Last? Comprehensive Analysis with All You Need to Know

How long do fingerprints last on certain objects is a question most people have.

This will depend on several factors. The main factor is the medium of the print. Which type of substance was on the finger at the time. Almost all latent prints consist of sweat or a sweat or oil mix from the body’s glands.

On certain occasions, fingerprints can be composed of other substances like grease, oil, dust, etc. The percentages of sweat in any latent print are unknown; hence, the duration of time a fingerprint will remain on a surface cannot be determined.

The second factor is the surface on which the fingerprint is on. Certain surfaces like Metal or glass will preserve and hold prints well. Latent prints on plastics may initially have good detail, but those details will slowly wear off in a day or two.

The third and most important factor is the environmental factor. Humidity, heat, or wind speed will play a significant role in preserving fingerprint details.

How Long Do Fingerprints Last

How Long do Fingerprints Last on Something?

As explained above, the duration varies significantly. The oldest known surviving fingerprint is a fingerprint of a small child placed on a ceramic statue named Venus of Dolní Věstonice from 29,000 BCE. A fingerprint can last on a surface from 2 hours to 40 years on average. 

Do Fingerprints Have an Expiration Date?

No, it doesn’t, but most fingerprints will get erased due to impact from humidity and heat.

Do Fingerprints Wear Out?

Fingerprints of a human will never wear out. 

Your fingerprints are on your fingers even three months before you were born. You might cut or damage your fingers or even get skin diseases. But the fingerprints will grow back exactly as it was before.

How Long do Police Keep Fingerprints on Record?

It depends on the country to country in USA and Canada there is no time limit. In UK it is 3 Years. In Australia about 6 months. 

How Long do Fingerprints Last on Plastic?

On plastic a day or two up to 5 Years

How Long do Fingerprints last on Paper?

Up to 40 Years

How Long do Fingerprints last on Metal?

Up to 10 years

How long do police keep fingerprints on record

How Long do Fingerprints Last on Door Handles?

On a door handle, a fingerprint will last between 2 years to 10 years

How Long do Fingerprints Last on a Car?

If you don’t clean the surface, it will last from a day or two up to a decade.

How Long do Fingerprints Last on a Steering Wheel?

If you don’t clean the steering wheel, it will last up to 5 years.

How Long do Fingerprints Last on Clothes?

On clothes, it can last up to 10 years.


The fingerprint is unique to you and will last forever on your fingers, and nothing can change it.

Time fingerprints last on surfaces will vary drastically depending on different factors. And it is very difficult to tell an exact time.