There is no exact answer to the question: how long is alcohol detectable in urine, as it depends on the nature of test being conducted. There are a few tests that are capable of detecting alcohol or wine for a very short time period after it is consumed while there are some tests which can detect it’s presence around two to three months after alcohol entered the bloodstream.

The time period also depends on the weight, age, fitness, metabolism, and health of the individual. It is for this reason that an exact answer can’t be given to the question: how long can alcohol be detected in your urine?

How Long Is Alcohol Detectable in Urine?

Usually, alcohol would stay within your system for around 24 hours after you have had a few drinks and this would be the time period during which it would be detectable in your urine. However, there are a few special tests which can detect its presence in urine for up to 48 hours. There is also a special test known as the EtG Urine Alcohol Test which can trace alcohol consumption for around 80-85 hours. The test actually detects EtG in urine which in turn shows that ethanol alcohol must have entered the bloodstream in the past 3-4 days.

Alcohol Drug Tests Timetable

Different tests are capable of detecting the presence of alcohol for different time periods. Here is a list of alcohol drug tests and the answer to how long is alcohol detectable in urine with each test.

  • Breathalyzer Test: 24 hours

  • Urine Test: 9-13 hours (if traditional method used)

  • Urine Test: 72-96 hours (if done using EGT (Ethyl Gluconoride) metabolite)

  • Blood Test: 12 hours

  • Saliva Test: 24-96 hour

Just the same with many other drugs, alcohol can be found out through a hair follicle drug test for around 3 months.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Once you have consumed alcohol, around 10% of it would leave your system with your regular breaths, through sweating and via urine. The other 90% would be metabolized. So, the question of how long alcohol is detectable in urine or how long does alcohol stay in your system depends on the rate at which your body would break it down.

Usually, normal human beings metabolize wine at about the same rate which is around 0.015 BAC per 60 minutes. To put it simply, after one hour of consuming wine, your body would have metabolized 0.015 of the total wine you had consumed.

So, if while drinking, your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level goes up to 0.08 (the level at which you would be considered legally impaired), it would take you around 5 hours and 20 minutes to eliminate all the alcohol from your body.

The problem is not about calculating the time it would take your body to eliminate alcohol, but about detecting your BAC after your drinking session. Around three to four drinks in an hour can take a person’s BAC to around 0.08 while if anyone starts binge drinking, his/her BAC would shoot up to around 0.16+ in no time.

BAC Level(Blood Alcohol Concentration)

Metabolism Time in Hours









Can Mouthwash and OTC (Over-the-Counter) Syrups for Cough Get Alcohol Test Results to Be Positive?

Over the counter medicines like cough syrups and products like mouthwash and vanilla extract have the capability of producing over 100 ng/mL EtG concentration. Yet, in case EtG is found to be over 200-250 ng/mL and over 0.04% of ethanol is found in urine, it is usually a strong indicator that the individual has consumed wine.

In any case, if the individual is enrolled in an alcohol abstinence program then he/she would have already signed an agreement that disallows the use of products like mouthwash and OTC medicines which contain alcohol. So, even if the positive result is triggered by "incidental alcohol," it would be proof of violation of the agreement.

Is the EtG Level Capable Of Pointing Out the Amount of Drinks an Individual Has Consumed?

The exact amount of drinks or the exact number of drinks an individual has consumed can't be calculated from the detected EtG level. While it's easy to conclude from a high EtG level that a person has consumed a lot of alcohol, it’s not possible to say how many glasses were consumed as the amount in each glass and the time when the alcohol was consumed would impact the number too.

With time, the EtG level decreases and the later the test is done after alcohol was consumed, the lesser would be the EtG level. There is also the limitation with EtG that it can only rise to a certain level and can't go any further even though the person might drink more wine. So, the test can tell that a person has consumed alcohol, but can't give any exact number for the amount consumed.

Is It Possible to Control the Rate at Which Our BAC Rises and How High It Goes?

Yes, it certainly is possible. Here are a few tips to help you control the rate at which your BAC rises.

  • Try eating high protein meals that include peanuts and meat while you are drinking as it would decrease the rate of alcohol's absorption in your body.

  • Don’t drink in one go and try to take sips. This would allow you to savor the flavors of the drink.

  • Stay as far away from drinking games like ‘chugging’ as possible.

  • Don’t let anyone force you into drinking alcohol. If someone pressurizes you into taking a drink, make sure that you call for a non-alcoholic beverage.

  • Rather than drinking alcoholic beverages one after the other, try to mix the alcoholic beverages with the non-alcoholic ones. This would keep the alcohol level in your blood in check.

  • Make it a rule to not consume more than one drink (alcoholic drink) in any given hour.

  • Keep moving when you have the urge to drink a lot as your body would start to realize the effects of alcohol sooner in this case and as a result, you would be forced to stop earlier.

  • Stay away from drinks that you don't know much about. There are a few fruit drinks whose alcohol content isn't pretty clear.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.