How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

The quick answer is …. The average person’s liver can metabolize 1 ounce of alcohol every hour.  

How it works:

Drink 1 ounce of alcohol
Liver metabolizes 1 ounce of alcohol in one hour
Produces .015 blood concentration
.015 will dissipate in 1 hour

Q: How long does alcohol stay in your system? or How long does alcohol stay in your body?

Alcohol can be detected in urine 12 to 48 hours after the last drink.   The better the test administered the longer time can have lapsed for alcohol to register.

Alcohol can be detected on the breath 24 hours after consumption.

Q: What is the most accurate way to test your blood alcohol levels?

A blood test is the most accurate test for blood alcohol concentration.

Q: Where can alcohol be detected?

Alcohol can be detected in urine, blood, saliva, sweat, breath and hair follicles.

What is considered a drink?

One drink =   12 ounce beer
4 ounce glass of wine
1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor
1 ounce of 100 proof liquor

Many factors attribute to how quickly you move alcohol through your body:

  • Your age
  • How fast you consumed the alcohol. If you are drinking faster than your liver can metabolize (1 ounce per hour).
  • Your ethnic background
  • Body fat content
  • How much food you ate during or before drinking. Food slows the alcohol from moving to the small intestine too quickly.
  • Any medications you are currently taking.

 How alcohol moves through your body:

90 % of alcohol consumed
Moves quickly through digestion
Moves into blood vessels (alcohol in your blood)
Carried by blood throughout the body and the brain
And then is metabolized (breaking down alcohol) in the liver

The other 10%  leaves the body through urine, perspiration and breath.


Try our  free online Blood Alcohol Concentration Calculator here:

If you think you may have a problem with alcohol consumption take this quiz and seek professional help.





HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

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