How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

When consuming alcohol are you aware of how long the alcohol stays in your body or the effects it has to your system? An alcohol test can be an effective way to measure how alcohol is affecting your body currently and an accurate analysis to see how further consumption could affect your health in the future. Before proceeding to any drug and alcohol test, it would help to know the elimination time of alcohol from the body. It is worth to note, the intoxicating agent won’t stay in your body for your entire life.

If the test is performed before elimination, then the accuracy of the result will not be questioned. Otherwise, the outcome will be considered a false negative.

Let’s look at how long alcohol can reside inside the human body so the drug and alcohol test can be taken accurately.

What is the elimination time of alcohol from the human body?

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The metabolic process helps break alcohol into simpler components absorbed by the small intestine. After absorption, the components circulate in the whole body through blood.

The rapid increase in blood alcohol concentration will lead to a short elimination time. However, the average time of elimination is not fixed.

To perform the drug and alcohol test, different samples are collected according to the need of the hour. Therefore, there is variation in the presence of alcohol levels in every sample.

In the case of blood, the staying duration is 12 hours. At the same time, you can test the presence of alcohol in urine till the 5th day of consumption.

Residues of alcohol will be the part of exhaled air for at least 24 hours. The longest residing time of alcohol is in the hair. A hair sample can indicate alcohol consumption till the 90th day.

What are the determinants of the elimination of alcohol from the body?

It is evident some factors control the elimination time of alcohol in the body. Some of the essential factors are discussed as follows.


The point to ponder is the direct proportionality of age and elimination time of alcohol from the body. An older person will be more prone to get damage from alcohol as alcohol will stay for a more extended period in his body.


It’s an eye-opening fact that the female body holds alcohol for a more extended period than males. The reason is because of the difference in water level in the body.

Females have less percentage of water contents in the body, due to which alcohol cannot be excreted quickly. That is why a woman breastfeeding a child should abstain from consuming alcohol, as it can cause problems for the child.

Presence of Enzyme

Enzymes are the catalysts that speed up the catabolic reaction. For example, there are two enzymes responsible for breaking down alcohol.

If the enzyme level is lower, the metabolic process will be slow, and the residence time of alcohol will increase automatically.

Weight of the Person

An underweight person is at higher risk of being intoxicated by alcohol or any other drug. This factor has an indirect relation to the water content level in the body.


If someone is using the medicines against the disease of the liver and kidney, then he is unable to metabolize and excrete alcohol from his body.

Detoxification and excretion are the jobs of the liver and kidney. Therefore, this factor is a crucial factor regarding the time of elimination.

Final Verdict

The drug and alcohol test is full of complications. Any mistake in anticipation can lead to false-positive and false-negative results. Therefore, it’s better to physically examine the patient and take his medical history before testing.