Mouth swab tests are annoying. Not only can they be administered almost anywhere, can be sprung on you when you are least expecting it, and they feel REALLY weird. They’re also becoming more and more common to detect drug use.
As a person who appreciates their weekly dose of THC, I can tell you I’ve dealt with a few saliva tests in my time. And yes, as annoying as they are, they’re something that every pot smoker needs to go through at least once or twice – so why not make the process easier on ourselves?
That’s where the good news comes in. While mouth swab tests can be easy fixes for detecting drugs, they’re also one of the easiest tests to fool. In this article, I’ll be teaching you everything I know about that mouth swab test and the various ways you can pass one without breaking a sweat.
What Is a Mouth Swab Test?
If you’ve never heard of the process before, a mouth swab test is basically using your saliva to detect substances like alcohol, marijuana, and opioids. If you work in corporate, you’ll probably be screened for this eventually. If someone snitches on you, then you’ll DEFINITELY be screened for this.
It works by getting a sample of saliva from the inside of your mouth, usually around the gum line or under the tongue since that’s where metabolites remain. The sample gets pressed against a dye or paper that showed whether drugs were detected or they send it to a lab for professional analysis.
So why has this become the rage among all the suits that want to wreck our puff-puff sessions? Three reasons:
- It’s cheap. Mouth swab tests are some of the cheapest ways to test for drugs, since kits usually cost around $10 to 15 dollars. Companies love ordering these by the box and distributing them to all the departments for testing. And since they’re cheap, it means that they can administer these tests as often as they’d like.
- It’s fast. Most mouth swabs can give results under 10 minutes depending on the kit, and the entire swabbing process only takes two seconds. It’s not like your hair follicle or urine tests that need a day or two to get results – on average, using a mouth swab kit only takes 30 minutes of your time.
- It’s easy. Unlike urine or blood tests, anyone with hands can administer a mouth swab test. For companies with a lot of workers to screen, this cuts down on time that they could be testing people – and you know how management loves their bottom-line-synergy-time-management tactics.
How Mouth Swab Tests Can Fail
For the same reasons above, I’ll give you a rundown of why a mouth swab test might actually benefit you.
- It’s cheap – for a reason. Mouth swab tests might be common, but that also means that they aren’t as reliable as laboratory analysis of blood or urine. There are a lot of faulty kits on the market there, and since the entire process is vulnerable to a LOT of things like contamination, it’s possible that you’ll already mark as a negative user doing nothing.
- It’s fast – because it only works so far back. Unlike blood or follicle samples, mouth swab tests can only detect traces of drugs that go back as far as a day or two. Since stuff like marijuana gets out of our system in a day or two, all you need to do is to stop taking the drugs for a few days before you take your test, and you’re good to go.
- It’s easy – to get wrong. While anyone with hands can administer a mouth swab test, that doesn’t mean that they know EXACTLY where to swab to get metabolites to set off the alarm. With enough practice they’ll swab the more neutral areas in your mouth, which should be enough to not identify drugs of any kind.
You’re also under no legal obligation to submit to a mouth swab test, but keep in mind that refusing to be tested will only bring down more heat on you. A much safer route to go through is to find out when drug testing day will be (because it’s usually announced via company email) then make your preparations accordingly.
A lot of the usual things that make drug tests so effective at picking up substances like sample security, contamination protocols, and even medical-grade equipment are nonexistent with mouth swab tests. Sure, they’re easy to administer – but that in itself is what makes them so easy to fool.
But How Can I Be Absolutely Sure I Won’t Fail?
While it has its faults, saliva drug tests are STILL very good at picking up traces of THC, especially if the timing goes right and the universe seems determined to get you caught.
So let’s say that you’ve gotten yourself into the worst-case scenario: you’re called in for a test tomorrow. You don’t have enough time to flush the metabolites completely from your system, and if you delay the test, that’ll only raise suspicions. What do you do?
Luckily for you, there are still things that you can try that can safely make you pass that test. Here are a few of them.
Flush out your mouth.
Mouthwash, your toothbrush, and toothpaste are your best friends for this step. It’s important to wipe out any traces of metabolites from your mouth, and the simplest way to do this is to flush your mouth before being swabbed.
Since our mouths produce saliva almost constantly, this should be easy to do if you’re a light user. A few rounds of mouthwash and persistent brushing (especially around the gum line and underside of the tongue) is enough to get the more stubborn remains of metabolites out of your system.
However, be careful to not overdo it. Smart testers can tell if you’ve been scrubbing by examining the inside of your mouth. Keep the brushing to a few times during the time before the test and rely mostly on mouthwash. Brands that have peroxide in them are a good choice, as it’s a powerful cleaning agent.
Eat a fatty meal before the test.
Fat binds to metabolites, making it easier for you to drag them out of your mouth. This is an effective tactic if you’re REALLY caught with your pants down on the testing and only have a few hours to prepare. If you have time, combining it with my tips on flushing your mouth can be very effective.
Rig the testing process.
This is something I’d suggest if you’re REALLY good friends with your tester – but in a pinch, you can also do it to lessen the chances you’d get swabbed in the danger areas like the gum line or under the tongue.
First, determine what kind swab you’ll get. Some kits have cotton buds or cotton balls, but others will have a special pen that can also scrape the inside of your mouth. You’ll want to stick to the first two options, as they’re easier to fool.
Second, carefully position the swab. If you have a lazy tester that’ll give you the swab to use on yourself, you’re in luck: swabbing the top of your tongue or the inside of your cheek is the best way for you to give them a negative sample. If you aren’t as lucky, try to get the swab to hit your teeth or the tip of the tongue, since metabolites don’t stick there.
You can also shoot for an Oscar by pretending to cough or gag when the swab is inserted into your mouth – do this convincingly enough and your tester may just give up and bottle the sample without really trying.
A combination of these three strategies is a good way for you to pass the test with flying colors. Again, mouth swab tests aren’t as sophisticated or as thorough as urinalysis or follicle hair tests, so if you find yourself facing the soft end of a cotton swab, there’s no need for you to panic.
But What If I Want To Be Extra EXTRA Sure?
I know that even with all of that, there’s some of us that want to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that we’ll always pass a mouth swab test. For those that want to take that extra step, there are two things that can help you smile through those swabs:
- Detoxifying mouthwash: specially made mouthwash that targets metabolites in your mouth and neutralizes all traces of drugs. Quick, easy, and takes only a minute of swilling in your mouth to work. However, that’s a bottle that you have to keep out of sight, which might be a limiting factor to how effective of a product this is.
- Saliva neutralizing gum: a small capsule that you can pop into your mouth, chew for about thirty seconds, and swallow what’s left, this is my personal recommendation for those who smoke regularly. They always come in unmarked packaging so you don’t raise suspicion, and since you can swallow the evidence, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever get caught.
You can find a lot of these brands online, but I’m going to warn you right now that they’re expensive as hell. Some products are easily in the $50 – $70 range, but when you consider the potential disaster that you avoided if you failed the drug test, they’re priceless! Always buy from the official manufacturer for the best results – the last thing you need is a fake product.
Playing the Long Con
So now you know all my tips and tricks to passing a mouth swab test. But let’s take it one step further: what are other things that you can do to ensure that this kind of crap won’t happen to you again?
Be discreet. There’s nothing “random” about “random drug test”. If you’re called in for a drug test (especially for on-the-spot ones like mouth swabs) that means that someone has caught on to your habit. If you’re a regular drug user, the first step in prevention is being discreet. If you don’t give them a reason to suspect, then they won’t target you for testing.
Cover all your bases during testing. Everything I’ve said so far is just about passing a mouth swab test – but remember that’s not the only way that you can get caught with THC. If you’re going through a comprehensive testing (urinalysis, blood sample, follicle testing) make sure you have all your ways to pass each individual test.
Keep an eye out for testing dates. If you toe the line and keep your puffs to yourself, the most likely time that you’ll get caught is during the mandatory testing. Fortunately for you, they’re usually announced in advance (since they take place during company hours) so you have more time to prepare. Forewarned is forearmed: the more time you have to flush the toxins from your system, the better your chances of passing your test.
Lay off the drugs for a while. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to just stop smoking for a while. No test can detect drugs in your system for longer than two weeks, and if you’re already well-aware of the testing conditions and dates, you can just stop puffing for a few days and go straight back after testing. They can’t tag you for anything if there’s nothing for them to tag, right?
Swab and Smile
So there you have it! Tried and tested ways for users like you and me to get through a mouth swab test and live to smoke another day. Honestly, if all you need to contend with are saliva drug tests, you’re pretty much set to just continue puffing as normal with just a few small changes to your routine. But even if you get caught at a bad time, at least you know there’s still a foolproof way for you to get out of it.
Mouth swab tests are annoying, but we all live with the small annoyances in life. With some prep work and a little practice, a mouth swab test can just be another inconvenience.