1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Detection Timetable Depends on Many Variables


Updated February 12, 2014

Test Tube

Test Tube


Determining exactly how long alcohol is detectable in the body depends on many variables, including which kind of drug test is being used. Alcohol — also known as booze, beer and wine — can be detected for a shorter time with some tests, but can be "visible" for up to three months in other tests.

The timetable for detecting alcohol in the system is also dependent upon each individual's metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, physical activity, health conditions and other factors, making it almost impossible to determine an exact time alcohol will show up on a drug test.

Alcohol Drug Tests Timetable

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which alcohol can be detected by various testing methods:

Breathalyzer Test: Up to 24 hours.
Urine Test: 3-5 days via Ethyl Gluconoride (EGT) metabolite or 10-12 hours via traditional method
Blood Test: 12 hours`
Saliva Test: 1-5 days

Like many other drugs, alcohol can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.


American Association for Clinical Chemistry "Drugs of Abuse Testing." Lab Tests Online. Revised 2 January 2013.

LabCorp, Inc. "Drugs of Abuse Reference Guide." Accessed March 2013.

OHS Health & Safety Services. "How long do drugs stay in your system - including alcohol?." Accessed March 2013.


©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.