Strains OC43 and 229E of human coronaviruses (HCoV) cause one-third of common colds and hospital-acquired upper respiratory tract HCoV infections have been reported in premature newborns. To evaluate possible sources of infection, virus survival was studied in aqueous suspensions and on absorptive and non-absorptive surfaces representative of a hospital environment. Virus susceptibility to chemical disinfection with standard products was also characterized. Virus survived in saline solution for as long as six days but less in culture medium, with or without added cells. After drying, HCoV-229E infectivity was still detectable after 3h on various surfaces (aluminum, sterile latex surgical gloves, sterile sponges) but HCoV-OC43 survived 1h or less. Of the various chemical disinfectants tested, Proviodine reduced the virus infectious titre by at least 50%. This study suggests that surfaces and suspensions can be considered as possible sources of contamination that may lead to hospital-acquired infections with HCoV and should be appropriately disinfected.