Since the mouth swab drug test can detect drugs that are ingested within a short period of time, one can safely pass through the test by abstaining for at least one week before the upcoming test. In cases where swab test is requested on short notice with no time to prepare, there are some proven ways to remove drug metabolites from saliva.
- One can stop taking drugs once they get intimated about any upcoming test.
- Drinking lots of water can keep the mouth clean and fresh.
- Brushing the teeth three times a day, mainly focusing on the gums, tongue and cheeks (most common areas for swab drug test).
- Stop smoking at least 48 hours before the test since nicotine could lead to false positive.
- Eating high fatty foods an hour before the test can speed up drug absorption and decrease the chances of drug metabolite detection in the mouth.
- Chewing gum or Altoids mints can mask drug chemicals in the mouth.
- Chewing ice can dilute saliva, keep the mouth rinsed and cut down the proportion of drug metabolites below the cutoff level.
- Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar can be used as cleansers because they have the tendency to change pH or acidity level in the mouth.
- One should avoid consuming poppy seeds because the traces of narcotic elements in the poppy seeds may likely result in false positive.
While the most common practice in workplace drug testing is the urine sample analysis, a number of employers choose to conduct mouth swab or saliva test to check for the presence of most commonly drugs of abuse.
A mouth swab test is easier to conduct, less invasive and economical compared to other methods of drug testing. Since samples are collected right under the nose of the person administering the test, it is almost impossible to tamper. Though the detection time varies, the mouth swab test can pick up traces of THC up to a week after use.
What is a Mouth Swab Drug Test?
A mouth swab drug test is the analysis of saliva or oral fluids to detect traces of substances or alcohol. It is also referred as saliva or oral fluid drug test. It can be done either by swabbing or by placing strips in the mouth.
The mouth swab drug tests have the most proximate detection period and are most widely used for post-accident and alcohol testing as well as workplace substance use. It is also administered for pre-employment drug testing, random testing, return-to-duty testing and for any reasonable suspicion. This test is also effective for roadside drug testings by the police forces if suspected driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What Substances Can Mouth Swab Drug Test Detect?
The mouth swab drug tests can detect as many as 14 drugs with customized panels. It can detect drugs used within the past few days from the saliva collected. This test can detect for the presence of any one of these substances either individually or in combination.
Detection Window for Mouth Swab Drug Test
10 minutes after use up to 4 days later for heavy users
Within 24 hours
Within 72 hours
24 to 36 hours
Up to 10 days
1 hour after use to within 24 hours or less
6 to 12 hours
3 to 5 days
2 to 3 days
There are many types of instant swab test kits available, but one has to choose testing kits that adhere to the oral fluid mandatory guidelines by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
How Does Mouth Swab Drug Test Work?
Mouth Swab Drug Test uses enzyme immunoassay technology and is mostly used to detect drug metabolites. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry is the second method used to confirm positive findings.
Eating or drinking anything should be avoided for at least 10 minutes before the test. Oral samples are collected by two ways:
- Swab Method: A collection stick is used that has a sponge or absorbent pad on the end of the stick to swab the inside of the cheek, gums or under the tongue until a sufficient sample is collected. The collected sample is analyzed either on-site or sent to lab to detect traces of substances.
- Placing a Strip Method: The strip has a membrane that absorbs saliva when placed in an individual’s mouth. The antigen dyes in the strip changes color when the saliva wets the strip if drug metabolites are detected (Positive Drug Test). Absence of color means the person is drug free (Negative Drug Test).
The mouth swab drug tests are most widely used by the employers because of its cost effectiveness than other types of tests. This is the simplest method as it is easy to collect saliva or oral fluid specimen for analysis. This test is often used for on-site drug testing for instant results.
If the test is carried out in hospital or clinic, the swab will be placed in a container and sent to the lab for analysis. Multiple drugs might be tested in this case.
There are over-the-counter home drug testing kits available in the market. One can place the swab inside their mouth to collect fluids and put them into the container of the testing kit. The results are displayed within 10 minutes on the panel.
Substances can be detected within 30 minutes of consumption in oral fluids. The short detection period in mouth swab drug test makes it effective in situations like screening after an accident or in reasonable suspicion. The mouth swab tests are much faster in yielding accurate results than other types of tests. The detection window generally is about 5 to 48 hours, but can be longer for people who use substances very frequently or for chronic/heavy users.
How is Mouth Swab Testing Performed?
- The test administrator will provide the donor a swab component that resembles a sponge or a lollipop.
- Instructions will be given to the donor to rub the swab against the cheeks or under the tongue until a sufficient amount of saliva specimen is collected. This usually takes about 2 minutes.
- The donor will return the saturated swab to the test administrator who will insert the swab into the collection container to run the test panels and wait for 10 minutes.
- The saliva will impregnate the panels to reveal the colored lines, indicating positive or negative drug test results.
Analyzing the Results
There will be some set of lines on the testing kit to indicate if there are drugs in the specimen that is being detected. A kit will just have one band if it is detecting only one drug. Kits detecting more than one drug will have more than one test band to represent each drug.
A line will show up in the control band if the testing process is working. If a line shows up on the test band, then the result is negative for corresponding drug(s). No line on the test band is considered positive for corresponding drug(s).
If the result is interpreted as positive on the initial test, Mass Spectrometry (MS) confirmatory analytical technique can be done to check for false positive.
A mouth swab result is declared inconclusive if the saliva specimen is found to be more dilute than normal. This may raise suspicion towards tampering the specimen to mask drug use.
Though this will not be considered as a proof, it might definitely raise suspicion and might require an explanation for the same. No matter whatever the reason is, inconclusive result means that one has not passed the mouth swab drug test and will need a retest.
How Accurate is the Mouth Swab Drug Test Result?
The mouth swab drug test results depends where the test is performed or sample collected, i.e., on-site or lab. The lab will take at least 24 hours to give the results whereas the on-site testing or home testing kits will provide the results in just a few minutes. The accuracy when performed in the right manner can be almost 98%.
However, a few factors that can impact the accuracy of mouth swab drug test are:
- Type of drug test used
- Type of drug and concentration
- Testing device quality
- Drug testing done within the detection period for any specific drug
- Test administrator’s abilities to perform the test
The lab testing accuracy of a mouth swab drug test may vary from instant testing. The instant swab drug test kits may not be as accurate as the lab testing.
When is Mouth Swab Drug Test Required?
Mouth swab drug tests are most popularly used alternative to urine drug tests since it is easy to administer, cost-efficient and difficult to tamper with the specimens.
Many companies use oral drug test or saliva test for testing their employees. Some companies have testing policy that explains when and how the employees and applicants should be tested for illicit drug use. Distinct industries including transportation, aviation, etc., where safety is a concern requires drug testing their employees.
Different states have different testing policies. Some states have policies as to when and how the drug testing should be conducted and some states have limitations on what conditions can instigate employers to test for alcohol or drug use.
Federal laws, such as the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, are generally designed to curb substance use/abuse in workplace. Written policies can be devised against workplace substance use.
Mouth swab drug tests are also used during hiring process, for promotions in the job, random testings, post-accident testing, for-cause/with-cause testing under reasonable suspicion, etc.
Employers cannot force their employees to take drug tests and the employees should not refuse to take the test as it could lead to negative consequences. If the applicant refuses to take the drug test while hiring, his/her job offer can be revoked by the employer. If any working employee refuses to undergo drug test, he/she can be suspended or fired from the job or hold any further promotions.
An employee can request a retest if the drug test resulted in inaccurate results or have the collected specimen reviewed once again. The drug test can be undertaken any other time based on the company’s drug testing policy. An employee can obtain detailed information on the company’s testing policy through Human Resources Department.
How to Pass Mouth Swab Drug Test in 24 Hours?
The simplest way to come out clean is to give the body some time to get rid of the drug by itself. If only a few hours are left for the swab test, one can try to beat it with the following tips though the chances are less likely.
- Drinking lots of water through the day can help the saliva flowing.
- Frequently swish water vigorously around the mouth and rinse.
- Wiping the mouth, mainly the gums and cheeks, may help get rid of THC traces and reduce the concentration in the oral fluids.
- Use mouthwash without alcohol, else may test positive for alcohol.
- Brushing the teeth frequently throughout the day.
- Mouth rinses and anti-cavity chewing gum can keep the saliva clean.
- Eat fatty foods like greasy burgers, pizza, fries, etc. Active THC binds with fatty foods and gets absorbed, so less chances of THC detection in the mouth.
In worst case, if there is no time to spare and worried about positive results, then adulterants can be a last-minute solution. Adulterants are chemical substances that interfere with drug tests. If the tester suspects adulteration, the test will be considered invalid and a repeat test will be ordered.
It should be noted that adulterants can only keep the saliva clean for half an hour. Disclaimer: We do not recommend or advocate the use of adulterants.
Frequency of using any substance also plays a vital role; the less frequent usage of substance, the more chances of beating the test. Chronic and heavy users have the least chance of passing the test.
Individuals taking cold or cough medicines, painkillers or narcotics, or any other prescription medications should inform their employer or tester before taking the test since these can yield a false positive result.
One can also test themselves using over-the-counter oral drug testing kits to know the expected results before the upcoming test and take appropriate measures if tested positive. If negative, you can confidently face the upcoming test.
Mouth Swab Drug Test Hacks for 2020
The best way to pass an oral drug test is by abstaining from taking any drugs at all. In order to pass the test, it is important to consider the time left for the forthcoming test and choose effective measures to come out clean. Below are the two methods to pass an unexpected saliva drug test:
1. Neutralized Chewing Gums
There are neutralizing chewing gums in the market such as Oral Clear, which is very effective in passing the oral drug test. The gum capsule has some liquid inside which should be spread after biting throughout the mouth without swallowing. After chewing it for 30 seconds, the saliva will be clear of all unwanted toxins for the next 30 minutes.
2. Saliva Detox Mouthwash
Detox mouthwash is one of the most effective detoxifying solutions to beat a mouth swab drug test. By carrying a small bottle of detox mouthwash in the pocket, one may get through an unexpected saliva test quite easily. One has to rinse their mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit out. After 15 minutes, saliva will be free from any trace of drug metabolites, alcohol and nicotine.
There are many recommended products available in the market, but not all products are really helpful. Based on reviews, below is a list of products for those who want to beat a saliva drug test.
1. Stinger Detox Mouthwash
Stinger Mouthwash has been the most effective detox mouthwash for passing saliva drug tests. It has been tested for alcohol, nicotine, THC and meth. To pass a saliva drug test, it is better to abstain at least 3 days before the test. The mouthwash cleanses the saliva within minutes of any drug toxins. The mouthwash is easy to use with unique formulation and flavor.
2. Ultra Wash Toxin - Cleansing Mouthwash
This is another detox mouthwash that cleanses saliva of unwanted toxins. It is simple swish and spit. One should avoid eating or drinking after using the mouthwash until through with the drug test.
3. High Voltage Saliva Cleanser Mouthwash
This mouthwash removes all the unwanted toxins from the saliva for at least one hour. It can fit in the pocket and is always ready to use. Use the mouthwash minutes prior to saliva drug test and effects last up to an hour.
4. Toxin Rid Rescue Detox Mouthwash
This detox mouthwash is specifically formulated to get rid of the detectable drug toxins left in the mouth moments before a drug test. This can be carried in pockets and beat the unexpected saliva drug test.
5. Magnum Detox Saliva Cleansing Instant Acting Mouthwash
This mouthwash is not too popular, but very effective stand-alone product. This oral detox mouthwash has an immediate effect and cleanses the saliva off toxins for 45 minutes.
Federal and State Drug Testing Laws
Detox products are classified as ‘drug paraphernalia’ and sale of such products could be a crime according to the Government Accountability Office report.
It should be noted that companies usually advertize their products as detoxifiers for non-drug related purposes and often specify their products as not designed to beat a drug test; though in reality, these are often used for this purpose.
Home Remedies to Pass an Oral Drug Test
A mouth swab is less invasive than any other testing methods and easier to conduct. Though the detection time varies, it is possible to pick up traces of THC or any other substance with mouth swab test up to a week after consumption.
People attempt to bypass a saliva drug test through many ways they can come across from home remedies to hydrogen peroxide to detox mouthwash to chewing gum. If concerned about an upcoming saliva drug test, the following are the most common home remedies on the Internet to choose from to beat a saliva drug test:
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide is one of the most commonly used home remedies to beat an oral drug test. It is diluted with water and gargle a couple of times. The concentration of the hydrogen peroxide should be about 3% or less and mixed with one to two parts water. Using higher concentration products may be dangerous.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouthwash after cleansing the mouth thoroughly. It is recommended to swish the hydrogen peroxide solution around inside the mouth for as long as possible, then gargle, spit out and rinse the mouth thoroughly. This process can be repeated within an hour of the swab test.
This method obviously has its own risks. Hydrogen peroxide at 3% concentration is nontoxic if consumed in small amounts, though not recommendable. Higher volumes can cause adverse side effects and tissue damage.
Keeping a bottle of hydrogen peroxide for unexpected screening test isn’t advisable. So doing extensive research before choosing this product is vital.
Vinegar is an often touted condiment in various natural home and health remedies as well as a popular alternative to beat saliva drug test.
When vinegar is consumed as part of diet, it purportedly helps burn fat and speed up metabolism by raising creatine levels in the body. This may help to get rid of the THC stored in fat cells after consumption.
Some people through online reviews claim that drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach for a few days before the test helped them to successfully pass the saliva test. There are many others who also claim taking balsamic vinegar moments before the test helped them to get through the test. Unfortunately, there is little to any scientific evidence to indicate vinegar is a fail-safe method for passing a mouth swab test.
If hydrogen peroxide or vinegar is not favorable option, then there are people (smokers) who claim using Listerine mouthwash regularly can do the trick. It is strongly recommended not to rely on Listerine or any other standard mouthwash products since it won’t mask or remove the metabolites in saliva.
Listerine mouthwash is a great product to fight against oral bacteria and fungi, and will have no effects on oral toxins or mask any drug metabolites. It is a good mouth freshener.
Whoever relies on these myths will be taking a massive risk since there is no proven scientific evidence or reports to suggest they cleanse or mask drug toxins in saliva.
Benefits of Oral Drug Testing:
- It is an easy and noninvasive method of testing.
- It provides instant and rapid results within 10 minutes.
- It can detect different combination of drugs at the same time.
- Minimal chances of adulteration or tampering of the specimen.
- It saves time, does not require professional staff and can be carried out in any premises.
- It is economical compared to urine drug test.
- It is very easy to administer and portable.
- Because of the short window period, mouth swab drug test can detect most recently used drug metabolites lingering inside the mouth.
- Mouth swab drug tests are more accurate in detecting MAMP, OPI and COC compared to urine drug tests.
Limitations of Oral Drug Testing:
- Oral drug testing devices are more expensive than urine drug testing devices.
- Due to the short detection window, oral swabs may fail to detect drugs in infrequent users. It can be effective in chronic or heavy users.
- It is less reliable for detecting THC (cannabinoids) in the oral fluids.
- There are many different oral drug testing kits available in the market that adopts varying measurements. There are no fixed standards for result interpretation.
- Some drugs cannot be detected at all in the saliva, leading to deficient testing opportunity.
Since the saliva drug tests can only detect substances that were ingested in the past few days, abstaining from drugs is the best way to maximize the chances of passing a saliva drug test. One could try beating the swab test by taking right approaches and/or using the best products in the right way.