Can Using Mouthwash Make You Fail A Breathalyzer?

If you need another reason to ditch alcohol based mouthwash, this is a pretty good one.

You CAN fail a breathalyzer test up to 10 minutes after using plain old mouthwash. As this video demonstrates:-

The video shows an attorney having a quick rinse with mouthwash as many of us do, multiple times a day — and then blowing into a standard breathalyzer machine.

Most interestingly it shows how the alcohol just on your breath registers over time as he takes a reading at 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes. The high (i.e. fail!) reading continues even up to 10 minutes time.

Ever used mouthwash just before you head out of the house and drive..?

(Personally I don’t use any mouthwash anymore – if you switch to brushing with Oram Plus you don’t need toothpaste, mouthwash or dental gum anymore!)

You may not get a DUI conviction in the end, but you can bet any officer who happens to do a random test on you is not going to simply let you continue your journey when you say “don’t worry, it’s just my mouthwash…”!

Alcohol is unnecessary in mouthwash anyway and there are even alcohol-free versions already available. There have even been discussions over safety of the alcohol based ones since as far back as the 1970’s (even a possible link to oral cancers).

So there’s no time like the present to ditch those nasty mouthwash products and switch to something better for you.

This entry was posted in Tips.

8 thoughts on “Can Using Mouthwash Make You Fail A Breathalyzer?

  1. Dave

    Great video, I never knew how much alcohol was in mouthwash and how it shows up on a breath test. People should know more about this

  2. Thomas Jefferson

    To get a breathalyzer test within ten minutes of rinsing your mouth means you would have be pulled over and given a breathalyzer pretty much immediately after getting in your car. Further, if you were concerned, you could refuse the breathalyzer in favor of a blood alcohol test, or you could just have a long enough conversation with the officer to exceed the 10 minutes.

    Much ado about nothing.

  3. Victor

    Yes mouthwash can make you FAIL an RBT, and in Australia RBT operators give you 20 min before the final reading is taken and if you’re still over 0.050 then you’re stuffed.

  4. Joe

    Earlier this year I lost my job of almost 17 yrs working at a oil refinery. Random drunk and alcohol test are a must and it makes a lot of sense why. On 1/28/16 my supervisor and I were both called to the nurse for random tests, but my supervisor told the nurse that we were having a unit emergency and that she would have to get to us later that day or another day. The next day 1/29/16 I was working 5am to 5pm shift again… I was running a few minutes late that morning so I decided to brush my teeth and everything at work. In that position I worked alone. I got to work at 5am and around 7:15am I got the call again to go to the nurse for a random test. Knowing that I would be talking to people in the front office, including the nurse, I brushed my teeth and used mouthwash as would any other morning. The nurse was set up alrready when I got there, at 7:28 I took my first breath test… blew a .088!!! WTF – I hadn’t had a drink in over 2 weeks! I asked her… “maybe my toothpaste or mouthwash”? “Should I rinse better?” “No, I’ll retest you in a few minutes”, she said. At 7:45am I blew .089! She said it’s probably the mouthwash or you went to a bar before work and had at least 6-7 drinks (she joked). I lost my job of almost 17yrs making from $100k-145k. I made the mistake of brushing my teeth. Rocked my world.

  5. Seth

    I blew a .387 at least 15 minutes after using orange flavored mouthwash, but I also have hypoglycemia, which adds to the reading. It ended up in me being fired, but my drug tests came back negative. I was smoking, and in retail sales, it doesn’t do well to smell like cigarettes when talking to customers. So I would use mouthwash, and then pop a small piece of gum, but my sugar was low, and I was a tad clumsy when I walked into work. So I was driven to a drug testing facility, where they had one of the big breathalyzer machines, but that was only 5 minutes from work, so the mouthwash was still a factor, even after drinking a half bottle of water.

  6. Steve

    I would put money that all these “false readings” are just guilty people trying to rationalize their mistakes. Will mouthwash give you a false reading… absolutely it will, but only right after consumption. After 20 min you would be 0.00 no doubt. Most states require police to wait 15 min before giving a roadside PBT, and even then if you happened to get pulled over right after you used it… they give another test at the department! So no way you would show any there. As far as work place testing goes, I could see someone not knowing and using mouthwash right before, but your employer would see you aren’t intoxicated and give you another test after 10-15 minutes… if you’re not 0.00 by then, you would at least be way lower that the first test. Mouth alcohol dissipates extrememly quick… you may be a .60 right after using, but then a .08 after 3 min, then a .02 after 7 min. It would be an extreme change in results in a very quick time. I’m thinking most of you are guilty and you know it, smh.


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