How to Pass a Mouth Swab Drug Test? Shortcut Your Way to Negative Results

A patient doing a mouth swab drug test with a doctor inside the clinic

Did a surprise mouth swab drug test catch you off guard? Since your saliva reveals substances you took within only half an hour, you have every reason to panic…

Or do you? We’ve researched solutions to your problems for hours and found two methods that actually work. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to pass a saliva drug test without raising eyebrows.

What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test?Close up swab drug test procedure

A mouth swab drug test is a screening test that detects drug metabolites in human saliva. It’s one of the least invasive tests, as it doesn’t entail needles or hair-pulling.

  • Alternative names: saliva drug test, swab drug test, oral fluid drug test, oral drug test

What to Expect on a Mouth Swab Test?

Pre-test prep: You shouldn’t eat or drink anything 10 minutes before your mouth swab drug test.

In total, the test takes up to 10 minutes too:

  1. The collector swabs the inside of your cheeks with a stick that has a sponge or an absorbent pad on one end.
  2. The sample is sent to the lab or analyzed on-site.

You can expect your results within a few minutes if the analysis is done on-site or within 48 hours if your saliva needs to be sent to the lab.

For How Long Can Drugs Be Detected in Your Saliva?A female patient doing a swab test

A mouth swab drug test is used to detect recent drug use, i.e. drug use that occurred up to a few days prior to the test. In cases of most drugs, the metabolites will stay in your saliva for only up to 72 hours:

Drug Detection time
Alcohol 12 hours
Marijuana (THC) Up to 4 days
Amphetamines 3 days
Methamphetamines 3 days
Cocaine 3 days
Ecstasy (MDMA) 3 days


This means your saliva may show that you’ve taken a drug within a very short time frame:

“Substances are typically detectable in oral fluid within about 30 minutes of ingestion. This is much faster than other tests. The short time frame makes them especially effective for screening after an accident or in reasonable suspicion situations.”

– Adrienne Santos-Longhurst, medically reviewed by Dena Westphalen, Pharm.D.[1]

Just because saliva tests can detect drugs taken within only 72 hours doesn’t mean they’re not effective. In fact, research shows that a swab drug test catches more drug users than a urine drug test.

Note that even nicotine could get you flagged. Try not to smoke for at least 48 hours before your test to remove any possibility of getting positive test results.

How to Pass a Saliva Drug Test: Home Remedy

Using home remedies is the least expensive method of eliminating drugs from your system—but does it really work? There’s no scientific evidence that would suggest so. Then again, there isn’t much research done on the effect of home remedies on drug metabolites.

That’s why I’ll suggest three methods that could help you pass your saliva test. Just note that there are no guarantees.

1. ListerineListerine mouth wash brand close up image

Listerine is an antiseptic that kills mouth fungi and bacteria. Again, there’s no evidence that it does the same with drug metabolites.


  1. Put Listerine strips on the inside of both cheeks and under your tongue. Let them dissolve.
  2. Rinse your mouth with Listerine 30 minutes prior to your test.
  3. Rinse your mouth with water to remove traces of Listerine. [2]

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic used to disinfect cuts for cleaning purposes or as a detox mouthwash. A 3% solution of this antiseptic supposedly rids your saliva of drug metabolites too. Make sure you don’t ingest the solution if you decide to try this method because it may cause some internal damage and other health problems.


  1. Keep the solution in your mouth for a minute. Gargle and suck it back and forth.
  2. Spit out the solution.
  3. Rinse your mouth.

3. VinegarA vinegar inside a plastic bottle placed on a clean surface

Apple cider vinegar is effective for eliminating mouth bacteria. This led to some drinking vinegar to try and pass their drug tests. Unfortunately, we don’t know how effective it was. If you decide to give it a go, you’ll at least keep your mouth healthy—though, perhaps, not drug-free.


  1. Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with 2dcL of water.
  2. Put the mixture in your mouth and gargle.
  3. Spit out the mixture.
  4. Rinse your mouth.

Recommended Article: Home Remedies for Passing a Saliva Drug Test

Detox Products

Home remedies may be cheap, but they aren’t reliable. The best way to pass an oral drug test is to purchase specialized products. Here are two that most test-takers swear by.

1. Chewing Gum

Detox chewing gums were developed precisely to help drug users who are short on time pass a mouth swab drug test. While there’s no shortage of gums you can purchase on the market, most people use the same product—Oral Clear gum.

Its main ingredients are:

  • Hydrogen (3%) peroxide
  • Aspartame 
  • Acesulfame

Note that the gum will clear your body of traces of THC or other drugs for only up to two hours. This means you’ll have to chew it right before your saliva drug test to avoid getting a positive result.


  1. Remove the wrapping and bite into the gum capsule.
  2. Chew for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Spit out the chewing gum.
  4. Rinse your mouth.

2. Detox MouthwashPouring a mouth wash inside a small container

Detox mouthwash is yet another product developed to help test-takers pass a mouth swab drug test. How to use it can vary based on the manufacturer but here are general instructions.


  1. Use the mouthwash 15 minutes prior to your test.
  2. Spit it out (or swallow it—most mouthwashes have no side effects).
  3. Rinse.

How to Pass a Mouth Swab Drug Test without Getting Caught?

If you want to pass a mouth swab drug test in the easiest way possible, follow our best tips on getting through the testing without raising red flags:

  • Prepare on time. Stop taking drugs as soon as your saliva drug testing is announced. This way, you’ll automatically minimize the chances of drug metabolites being found in your oral fluids. A good rule of thumb is to abstain from narcotics for at least 72 hours before saliva drug tests.
  • Purchase drug testing kits and take mouth swab tests at home. To know for sure that your test results will come back negative, try to pass a mouth swab at home.
  • Run to the toilet. Well, don’t really run. But, if you have a surprise test, definitely hurry and use your gum or mouthwash discreetly in the toilet.

What Happens If You Fail Your Saliva Drug Test?

If you fail your saliva test, your report will show a positive result. Depending on why you took the test in the first place, one of these things could happen:

  • Your employer invites you for a conversation or even fires you.
  • Your doctor better determines how to treat you.
  • Your sports organization removes you from the team.

With that said, passing a saliva test isn’t rocket science, and you don’t have to take risks. You know already know how to pass without raising eyebrows.

Read More:

FAQsAn old patient doing a swab test with different samples

What to do if I don’t pass a mouth swab drug test?

If you don’t pass a mouth swab drug test, you can only retake it in the future. Your report will state that you tested positive.

If you haven’t consumed drugs, you should test again and notify the people in charge of the prescription drugs you’re using. They could have affected your initial results.

Can you pass a mouth swab test with Listerine?

Some say that you can, but we wouldn’t bet on it. The best product to use to pass a mouth swab is a detox mouthwash or gum.

Conclusion: What’s the Most Effective Way to Pass a Mouth Swab Drug Test?

The best way to pass a mouth swab drug test is to use chewing gums or mouthwashes that are developed precisely to eliminate drug metabolites from your body. Apart from that, we know that your saliva will only show narcotics you’ve used within 72 hours.

Compare that to urine tests that can detect substances you used in the past few months, and one thing becomes clear—to pass a mouth swab, you just need to abstain from narcotics for 3 days. Unless you have a surprise test, this is the best and only strategy you need.



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