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How To Pass A Mouth Swab Drug Test In 2020

According to recent studies, most drug users are employed, and drug use in the workplace costs 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 often than large ones. Testing for drugs can be done in many ways, e.g., urine, hair, and blood, but the fastest and most convenient method is the mouth swab drug test. It can show current drug use, and regardless of how it is administered, drug metabolites can be detected through oral fluids within 36 to 48 hours from the time of drug consumption.

Many urban legends and myths concern drug testing, and since most of them are controversial, this article was written to provide reliable information about the mouth swab drug test and ways to pass it.

  1. What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test, and Why Is It Done?
  2. Legal Issues
  3. How the Oral Test Is Conducted
  4. Pros and Cons
  5. How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your Saliva?
  6. How to Pass a Saliva Drug Test
  7. Useful Products
  8. What to Do If You Fail?

What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test, and Why Is It Done?

A mouth swab drug test is an oral fluid-based screen performed by obtaining residual amounts of drug within a 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 postaccident drug and alcohol tests and for detecting on-the-job drug use. The mouth swab test is also used for preemployment drug screenings as well as for any reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, or just random testing.

Legal Issues

It should be noted that drug testing in the workplace is not an outright mandatory requirement. 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 U.S. Department of Transportation and jobs in the public employment sector. As for the mouth swab test, it is not approved by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the 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 collect samples. In case of damage in the oral cavity, saliva may contain blood and must be treated with care, as it is considered a biohazard.

How the Oral Test Is Conducted

Human saliva is a refined version of plasma and could contain sufficient amounts of metabolites within a period of 36 hours. An oral drug test can be performed in two ways: through swabbing or placement of strips.

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

saliva test strip

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

saliva test swab

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

Pros and Cons


  • Mouth swab tests are up to 60% more accurate in detecting methamphetamine, opiates, and cocaine compared with urine tests and produce far fewer false negative results. Reliability and accuracy are the two foremost reasons why many organizations consider this kind of test as a way to screen employees and children for drug use, abuse, and misuse.
  • The saliva test is noninvasive. A sample collection is performed easily, and no privacy and embarrassment issues are present.
  • It is very easy to conduct and does not require a special room and professional staff, such as a lab technician or a nurse.
  • It is done very quickly; results are obtained in 5–10 minutes.
  • Chances of adulteration or instances of tampering or manipulating the sample, which commonly occur 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 administer.
  • This type of test is excellent for on-duty screening, as an employer can instantaneously test workers to determine if they are under the influence of a drug while at work.
  • It can detect many different drugs at the same time.
  • The saliva test device itself is more expensive than the urine one, but as it saves time and does not require a special room and trained staff, it can be cheaper to conduct in some cases.


  • The mouth swab drug test can only detect drugs that are consumed within a short period of time (usually 24–72 hours for different drugs) before the test. Otherwise, a greater amount of a drug needs to be consumed by the individual for the test to turn positive if the screening occurs before this time frame.
  • Different suppliers of oral drug test kits follow varying measurements, so there are no fixed benchmarks for interpretation of results.
  • Although it can detect many drug metabolites, the mouth swab test is less reliable for detecting THC (cannabinoids) than a urine test.
  • As mentioned before, this test cannot be used in federal and DOT test programs, as it is not approved by the FDA and SAMHSA.
  • It is usually more expensive per test than urine screening.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your Saliva?

A mouth swab test is performed to detect any drug metabolites, such as PCP, alcohol, opiates, meth, amphetamines, cannabis, ecstasy, barbiturates, and cocaine within a short period of time after the drug was used. Detection times are shown below:

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 Saliva Drug Test

In most cases, drug test programs are requested on short notice. Thus, many people find it difficult to beat a drug test. The secret for passing saliva drug testing is that the inside of the mouth should be clean. On the upside, people can use several tricks and proven ways to remove drug metabolites from saliva before the screening time.

Before the test:

  • Stop taking drugs as soon as you know about your forthcoming test.
  • Brush your teeth properly three times a day, and focus on the gum line, cheeks, and tongue, which are the most common areas for the 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 will likely yield a false positive result.
  • Eat high-fat meals. Consuming high-fat meals one hour before the oral drug test can speed up drug absorption and decreases the likelihood of detecting drug metabolites in the mouth.
  • Conceal drug chemicals in the mouth. This can be done, for example, by consuming Altoid mints.
  • Chewing ice will keep your mouth rinsed, dilute saliva, and reduce the proportion of drug metabolites below the cutoff level.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your mouth clean and fresh.
  • Make use of kitchen ingredients. Lemon juice, household hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar are new tricks to beat a drug test because they change the pH or acidity level in the mouth.
  • Buy the right saliva detox mouthwash. Products such as Stinger Detox and Ultra Wash help you 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. Their effectiveness usually begins from one to 10 minutes after use and ends after 60 minutes, with the most effective time frame being within the first 30 minutes regardless of the duration and level of drug usage. Carefully read the directions for your chosen product to ensure that you pass the test successfully.

During the test:

  • If possible, try to ignore all laboratory instructions. You don’t want to help them prove your guilt do you?
  • If the examiner lets you hold the swab stick, avoid swabbing in between your teeth and the gum line.
  • Inform the doctor or the examiner if you are currently taking medications, as these can influence test results. Painkillers, such as Ibuprofren, likely provide a false positive result.

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

Useful Products

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

Ultra Wash Toxin-Cleansing Mouthwash

Ultra Wash Toxin-Cleansing Mouthwash

One of the best detoxifying solutions for the mouth swab drug test is Ultra Wash. Just keep this mouthwash in your pocket and you will no doubt beat an unexpected saliva test. In just 10 minutes, your saliva will be free from all unwanted substances, including marijuana, 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 made to erase any drug metabolite of marijuana, opiates, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol, meth, and amphetamines before a saliva drug test. It has a pleasant taste, does not cause mouth dryness, and is 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, the 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. A saliva home drug test kit is able to detect six particular substances, namely the following: THC, opiates, cocaine, meth, amphetamines, and PCP. Results are available in about 10 minutes.

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What to Do If You Fail?

Even if you fail 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 a false positive. Remember all medications, prescription drugs, vitamins, and even questionable foods, such as poppy seeds, that you have taken, and mention them to those who test you. Act as though you’re confused. Remember that a mouth swab drug test is not approved for use in DOT and federally mandated tests, so results are questionable in terms of the law. Ask for a confirmation test to prove your innocence. It’s better to ask for a urine test, as it will take a few days to administer, and you will have time to prepare for passing it. Finally, you can find a good lawyer and ask for legal advice.