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How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Blood, Urine, and Breath?

How long does alcohol stay in your blood? How long does alcohol stay in your urine? How long does alcohol stay in your system overall?

These are common questions that both alcoholics and heavy drinkers often ask. Questions like these can be asked for a number of different reasons, one of which might include that you’re trying to conceal your drinking from your loved ones, coworkers, and the general public. Another scenario could be that you are trying to determine how long alcohol will stay in your system after you stop drinking. You might even be looking for or headed to an alcohol detox program.

Whatever the reason is, it’s important to know that the length of time that alcohol is metabolized in the body can vary from person to person based on a number of factors, including the amount of alcohol last consumed, how often alcohol is consumed, if there are any health problems, etc. These can also help determine the length of time it will take before an individual is no longer intoxicated.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System?

However, basing information on an average person with a healthy liver can help determine the answer to, “How long does alcohol stay in your blood, urine, and breath?”

According to Health Guide HQ, when an average healthy male or female consumes alcohol, it enters the bloodstream within 30 seconds. Then, it will eventually get passed to and metabolized by the liver. Even though it may take different amounts of alcohol for different types of people to become intoxicated, a healthy liver will metabolize the substance at the same rate. There are, however, other factors that can affect this though, such as age, weight, body fat, liver disease, the amount of food that was eaten before and/or after drinking, etc.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Blood?

With all of this considered, an average Blood Alcohol Content of 0.015 percent is metabolized per hour. This means that if your BAC is at the legal limit for driving at 0.08 percent, it will take approximately 5.5 to 6 hours for the BAC to drop. Even if you do not feel the effects of alcohol, the substance will still need stay in your system until it has metabolized and completely cleared.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine?

Traces of alcohol can be present in your urine for longer. Usually, alcohol can be detected in the urine for 24 hours after it was ingested. However, there are factors that can impact this, such as if any food was eaten before and/or after drinking. There are even urine tests that can detect that alcohol has been ingested and metabolized by the body for up to 90 hours after the alcohol was initially consumed.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay On Your Breath?

Breathalyzers can test for recent alcohol consumption by measuring your blood alcohol concentration, but how long can a breathalyzer detect alcohol on your breath? Well, it depends on how long it takes for the alcohol you drank to clear out of your system. Again, it is typical for 0.015 percent of BAC to be broken down over one hour, so depending on how much you drank, it could be take several hours for you to pass a breathalyzer test.

Understanding Alcoholism

All in all, alcohol can linger in your system in some form for several days. If you find yourself trying to detox off alcohol only to return to it shortly after, you may have a problem with alcohol. Or, if you continue to find yourself trying to pass urine tests for alcohol, “beat” a breathalyzer test, or get alcohol out of your system before a certain date, you may be struggling with an addiction to alcohol as well. Alcoholism can manifest itself in many ways, but it is typically characterized by the inability to refrain from drinking in spite of negative consequences, which may include failing a urine test for alcohol, driving under the influence, and/or lying or cheating to conceal drinking.

If you are struggling with alcoholism, you are not alone and you can recover. The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs is here to help 24/7. Contact The Watershed today to start your recovery by going through our medical detox, inpatient alcohol rehab, and aftercare programs.


To speak with one of our trained alcohol treatment and drug rehabilitation referral counselors, call The Watershed’s 24-Hour Addiction Helpline at 1-844-550-8829.


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