EtG Test for Alcohol Abstinence

EtG alcohol testing is a common test that is used to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. The EtG test is done by using a urine sample and is a quick way to detect current alcohol levels and check for recent alcohol consumption.

This is an ideal test if abstinence from alcohol on individuals is being monitored, which is why many testing programs will use these alcohol tests. The EtG alcohol test is also used for social drinkers, who may engage in light drinking or heavy drinking sessions, and it will be used to detect the alcohol levels.

Many individuals are unsure of what an alcohol EtG test involves. This article will explain what an EtG alcohol test is and how it relates to alcohol consumption. As the alcohol degrades, the EtG levels in urine will decrease. As a guideline, if EtG levels are higher than 1,000ng/ml within the urine, this is considered a high positive result.

EtG Test for Alcohol Abstinence 1

What is EtG alcohol testing?

Many individuals consume alcoholic beverages, and for some, they partake in light drinking activities. In contrast, others are more inclined to engage in heavy drinking sessions, to the point where substance abuse becomes apparent. It can be known as alcohol use disorder by the mental health services administration.

When alcohol is consumed, only around 10% will come out directly, while the rest is turned into various chemicals when the body metabolizes the alcohol or ethanol as it is known.

Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) is known as a metabolite, which is a breakdown product that is created when alcohol enters the body. This is the chemical that is detected in the EtG alcohol test. It will remain in the body longer than the alcohol, roughly five days, and will be present in urine, and this is why substance abuse testing programs commonly use this.

EtG testing will show if a person has EtG in their urine and will give a positive result.

EtG Detection Time Frame

A person can have various amounts of EtG in their urine, depending on how much alcohol they have consumed and their metabolism. The standard half-life for Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) is between two and three hours, but if large amounts of alcohol have been consumed it will take longer to get rid of EtG in the urine.

The EtG alcohol test can even find low levels of ethyl alcohol and will know if you have had ethanol exposure up to 5 days from your last drink, mainly if heavy drinking has been conducted.

If you have been light drinking, there is more of a chance of passing the alcohol EtG testing in a shorter period than if excessive drinking. After 12 hours, the levels will decrease in your urine, although it may take a certain amount of hours for it to be entirely removed from the body, such as 24, 36, 48, 50, or 60 hours, more if excessive levels have been consumed.

Interpreting EtG test results

If a person is due for a specimen collection for an alcohol test, it is important to understand how EtG testing works and when to cut off drinking days before the test.

Alcohol tests are measured in ng/ml, with 500 ng/ml being allowed to cater for any products that contain ethanol/alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, a person may use hand sanitizer, and this will show up on the EtG test at 100 ng/ml.

Ethyl Glucuronide test results of 500ng/ml to 1,000 ng/ml can indicate a large amount of alcohol has been consumed in the last three days.

If EtG tests are regularly taken on a person who suffers from excessive alcohol use, it may help determine the best treatment options for them if they test above 500 ng/ml.

Alcohol testing or EtG testing with a reading of 1,000 ng/ml or more shows a person has been heavy drinking or had a drink close to the test.

EtG test facts and myths

EtG tests will detect alcohol that a person has consumed and also products that have been ingested that contain ethanol. They can detect alcohol that has been drunk recently and even from the previous day, plus some claim they can find alcohol from 5 days prior.

Some claim they can detect alcohol with reasonable levels of EtG even after 80-hours or 5 days, but is it true? It can be thought of as a marketing gimmick, but it depends on the amount of alcohol that has been ingested.

If alcohol abstinence is being monitored and a person has 2 drinks, the result will be positive and is a common test for people who are partaking in abstinence programs.

A moderate drinking spree may be detectable after 48 hours, but this detection won’t stretch to the 80-hour mark, whereas a big drinking session can be detected at 80 hours.

EtG tests can produce a false-positive when doing this urine test. This is due to products such as mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and other products that have ethanol in them.

Another example of false positives is if urine samples are stored in a warm environment or room temperature, as bacteria will form EtG. This can also happen if a person with diabetes has a urinary tract infection.

Tips for passing EtG test

A positive test can be a worrying thought for many if they enjoy alcoholic beverages and are worried that they may lose their jobs if detected in their systems.

Here are some tips that will help you to pass an EtG test and lower the levels in your body:

  • Hydrate – Drink plenty of water to flush EtG out and lower the EtG in your urine sample. If you don’t like water, you can drink tea, coffee, or soft drinks but ensure they are watered-down versions.
  • Diuretics – This works the same way as water and will flush it out of your system to avoid a positive EtG test.
  • Protein – Increase your protein intake, so your body produces more creatinine to counteract your diluted urine when using water to flush your system. This will stop a positive EtG result.
  • Vitamins – These will add color to human urine.
  • Flush drink – The best way to remove alcohol from your system is a flush drink, and it contains creatine, vitamins, and diuretics.
  • Home EtG testing – This will help you to know the levels that are in your body, and these EtG tests are ideal and easy to use.


EtG testing is widely used and is a good way of testing EtG levels, although there are a few faults as EtG is found in many other products with ethanol. A breathalyzer test may be favored over an EtG test, depending on the circumstances for the test.

If you are due to have an EtG test, it is best to try not to consume too much alcohol before the test date and refer to the tips on this guide if you have forgotten about the test and it is due.

Finally, if a person is suffering from addiction, many hospitals can offer help; just use their contact us details to find out more.