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How To Pass A Mouth Swab Drug Test

According to recent studies, majority of drug users are employed and drug use in workplace cost employers $100 billion each year. It also reported that small companies are more vulnerable to drug use in the workplace, but conduct drug tests less than large ones. There is a plethora of ways to test for drugs – urine, hair, blood to name a few - but among these drug screening methods, the most fast and convenient one is the mouth swab drug test. It is capable to show current drug use and regardless of the route of administration, drug metabolites can be detected through oral fluids within 36 to 48 hours from the time of drug consumption.

There are lots of urban legends and myths concerning any kind of drug test, and since most of them are controversial, this article was written to provide reliable information about mouth swab drug test and ways to pass it.

  1. What is mouth swab drug test and why it is done
  2. Legal issues
  3. How oral test is conducted
  4. Pros and cons
  5. Drugs and detection times
  6. How to pass a mouth swab drug test
  7. Useful products
  8. What to do if you fail

What is mouth swab drug test and why it is done

Mouth swab drug test is a form of oral fluid-based screen performed by obtaining residual amounts of drug within the person’s saliva. This test mostly checks for the presence of TetraHydroCannabinol (main component of marijuana), opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamine and cocaine.

As saliva contains traces of recently consumed substances, it is very effective for post-accident drug and alcohol tests and for detecting on-the-job drug use. Also mouth swab test is used for pre-employment drug screenings, as well as for any reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty or just a random testing.

It should be noted that drug testing in workplace is not an outright mandatory. It is not a requisite process in reference to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. In the United States, for example, drug testing is only required for specific types of employees such as those working for the US Department of Transportation, and jobs in the public employment sector. As for mouth swab test, its usage is not approved neither by US Food and Drug Administration nor by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for use in DOT regulated and federally mandated drug testing programs due to potential contamination danger for those who collecting samples – in case of damages in oral cavity saliva may contain blood and must be treated with care as it is considered a biohazard.

How oral test is conducted

Human saliva is a refined version of plasma and is capable of containing sufficient amounts of metabolites within a period of 36 hours. An oral drug test can be performed in two ways – through swabbing or placing of strips.

The strip is placed in the individual’s mouth and soaks saliva through membrane. The saliva wets the strip containing antigen dyes, which detect drug metabolites and change the color of the strip. Absence of color signifies a person is drug-free.

saliva test strip

The swab is scrubbed between the gums, lower part of the cheek or under the tongue for approximately 2 minutes or until a sufficient amount of sample is collected.

saliva test swab

In modern drug testing kits results can be interpreted right away (no need to send to laboratory). There is also home test kits are available, which let person who undergoes a saliva drug test to wet the test swab with own oral fluids and put it into the well of special device. Interpretation of the test results is available in 10 minutes on the display.

Pros and cons


The following are the advantages of mouth swab drug test:

  • Mouth swab tests are up to 60% more accurate in detecting methamphetamine, opiates and cocaine as compared with urine tests, therefore produce much less false negative results. Reliability and accuracy are the two foremost reasons why many organizations are considering this kind of tests as a method to screen employers and children against drug use, abuse and misuse.
  • Saliva test is non-invasive - sample collection is performed easily and there are no privacy and embarrassment issues.
  • It is very easy to conduct and does not require special room and professional staff, like lab technician or nurse.
  • It is very quick - results are obtained in 5-10 minutes.
  • The chances of adulteration or of the acts of tampering or manipulating the sample which happen commonly in urine drug testing are also very minimal.
  • Saliva drug testing kits are widely available over-the-counter. They are accessible anywhere and everywhere 24/7.
  • Mouth swab drug tests are very portable and easy to carry out.
  • It is an excellent solution for on-duty screening wherein the employer can instantaneously test workers if they are under the influence of a drug while at work.
  • It can detect multiple drug metabolites all at the same time.
  • Saliva test device itself is more expensive than the urine one, but as it saves time and does not require special room and trained staff, it can be cheaper to conduct in some cases.


The following are the disadvantages of saliva drug test:

  • Mouth swab drug test can only detect drugs that are consumed within short period of time (usually 24-72 hours for different drugs). Otherwise, a greater amount of drug needs to be consumed by the individual in order for the test to turn positive if the screening is employed beyond this time frame.
  • Different suppliers of oral drug test kits follow varying measurements. In that event, there are no fixed benchmarks for the interpretation of results.
  • Although it can detect a lot of drug metabolites, mouth swab test is less sensitive to the detection of  THC (cannabinoids) as compared with urine test.
  • As it was said before, it cannot be used in federal and DOT test programs as it is not approved by FDA and SAMHSA.
  • Usually, it is more expensive per test than urine screening.

Drugs and detection times

A mouth swab test is performed to detect any drug metabolites like PCP, alcohol, opiates, meth, amphetamines, cannabis, ecstasy, barbiturates, cocaine etc. Detection times are as follow:

Substance Detection Starts Detection Lasts
Alcohol instantly 12 hours
Nicotine 1 to 4 hours 3 to 7 days
PCP 2 to 6 hours 3 to 5 days
Meth 2 to 7 hours 3 days
Ecstasy 2 hours 3 days
LSD 2 to 6 hours 3 days
Amphetamines 1 to 4 hours 3 days
Barbiturates 2 to 7 hours 2 to 3 days
Opiates 1 to 7 hours 2 days
Heroin 2 hours 2 days
Morphine 2 to 7 hours up to 7 days
Cocaine 1 to 7 hours 3 days
Benzo­diazepines 2 to 8 hours 2 to 3 days
Valium 2 to 7 hours 3 days
Mushrooms 2 to 6 hours 3 days
Marijuana 1 to 4 hours 2 to 4 days

How to pass a mouth swab drug test

In the majority of cases, drug test programs are requested in short notice. Thus, many find it difficult to beat a drug test. The key secret to passable saliva drug testing is that the environment in the mouth should be clean. On the upside, there are several tricks and proven ways that people can follow to remove drug metabolites from saliva before the screening time. Read on some self-cleansing strategies that help to pass a mouth swab drug test.

Prior to the test:

  • Stop taking drugs as soon as you get informed about your forthcoming test.
  • Brush teeth properly three times a day, focus on the gum line, cheeks and tongue which are the most common sites for swab drug test.
  • Do not smoke within 48 hours of the expected test. Nicotine could result in a false positive.
  • Do not eat poppy seeds. Opium is made from poppy seeds, thus eating them likely yields a false-positive drug test.
  • Eat high fat meals. Consuming high fat meals 1 hour before the oral drug test can speed up drug absorption and therefore, decreases the likelihood of detection of drug metabolites in the mouth.
  • Drink lots of water to keep the fluid in your mouth moving.

During the test:

  • If possible, try to ignore all laboratory instructions. You don’t want to help them prove your guilt, don’t you?
  • If the examiner lets you hold the swab stick, avoid swabbing in-between teeth and the gum line.
  • Conceal drug chemicals in the mouth. This can be done by consuming Altoid mints for example.
  • Chewing ice will keep your mouth rinsed, dilute saliva and reduce the proportion of drug metabolites below cut-off level.
  • Inform the doctor or the examiner if you are currently taking medications as it can be a factor influencing the result of the test. Painkillers such as Ibuprofren likely provide a false positive outcome.
  • Make use of kitchen ingredients. Lemon juice, household hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are new tricks to beat a drug test by changing the Ph or acidity level in the mouth.
  • Buy the right saliva detox mouthwash. Products such as Stinger Detox and Ultra Wash help one pass a mouth swab drug test by cleaning traces of drugs away within minutes before the test.

Detox mouthwashes are very effective in masking traces of drugs in your saliva, but they require careful timing. Usually, their effect starts from 1 to 10 minutes from use and ends in 60 minutes with the most effective time frame within first 30 minutes regardless duration and level of drug usage. Read carefully the directions for your chosen product to ensure successful passing the test.

While the above-mentioned strategies are likely to get you test negative, the best way to pass saliva drug test is NOT TO TAKE DRUGS AT ALL. Not using drugs is the best and the surest way not only to pass any drug test, but to save your health also.

Useful products

There is variety of solutions for oral fluid-based screens on the market, but not all of them are really helpful. Here are few bestseller products for those who want to prepare for saliva drug test. The list is based on customer opinions to help you make right choice.

Ultra Wash Toxin-Cleansing Mouthwash

Ultra Wash Toxin-Cleansing Mouthwash

One of the best detoxifying solutions for mouth swab drug test is Ultra Wash. Just keep this mouthwash in your pocket and there is no single doubt you will beat an unexpected saliva test. In just 10 minutes your saliva will be free from all unwanted substances including marijuana as well as alcohol and nicotine.

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Stinger Detox Mouthwash

Stinger Detox Mouthwash

Stinger Mouthwash is another detoxifying solution that will surely flush away any toxin found in the saliva. It is technologically made to erase any drug metabolite of marijuana, opiates, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol, meth and amphetamines before a saliva drug test. It has pleasant taste, not drying to mouth and guaranteed effective! Take Stinger 30 minutes before the test.

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Saliva 6 Home Drug Test Kit

Saliva 6 Home Drug Test Kit

Based on immunoassay technology, saliva 6 drug test kit is a home-based test pack designed to detect any trace of illicit substances before a mouth swab drug test to help you make certain your oral fluid will test negative. Saliva home drug test kit is able to detect 6 particular substances namely the following: THC, opiates, cocaine, meth, amphetamines, PCP. Results can be shown in about 10 minutes.

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What to do if you fail

Even if you failed your saliva test, don’t get upset and don’t give up. About 5% of results are false positives, so first of all, guess what could possibly cause false positive. Remember all medications, prescription drugs, vitamins and even questionable foods, like poppy seeds, and tell about them to those who test you. Act like you’re confused. Remember that mouth swab drug test is not approved for use in DOT and federal mandated tests, so its result is questionable in terms of the law. Ask for confirmation test to prove your innocence. It’s better to ask urine test as it will take a few days to conduct and you will have time to prepare for passing it. Finally, you can find a good lawyer and ask for legal advice.