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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
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Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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Fingerprints How long can they remain on an undisturbed glass

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How long can they remain on an undisturbed glass surface? Also can they be invisible to the naked eye and then show up to the naked eye months later?
Hi my name is XXXXX XXXXX thank you for such a great question.

Fingerprints are signature of body oil, called sebum and perhaps a protein signature. Oil doesn't so much degrade over time so its not unreasonable to think they could easily last decades if undisturbed.

What you mainly have to consider is the item its printed on(glass vs porous plastic for example) the area where it is (outside in the hot sun and rain) and the quality of the print. A strong print on a non porous surface in a controlled climate could definitely last for decades.. even longer.

A print of a good quality, thats kept in a cool dry area could surely appear a bit stronger if there is a fair amount of dust or other things floating around in the air. Oils in general tend to attract things(just like oil from a car attracts dirt under the hood), which is how the dusting procedure works, the oil sticks to the print dust and people are able to get a print. So in theory the same thing could happen to something like a window if it wasn't wiped down or a glass that was left in a vacant house.
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