How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

 The Effects of Alcohol: How long does alcohol stay in your system?

If you’re asking yourself, how long does alcohol stay in your system , well, it depends. The length of time it will take alcohol to leave your body, whether it is through breathing, perspiration, urine, or digestion and metabolization, depends on certain variables that will differ in each person.

  • Weight. Most drugs will have a greater effect on a person who weighs less than someone else. Alcohol is no exception. The same amount of alcohol that can greatly impair a person weighing 125 pounds may not affect another person as powerfully who weighs 175 pounds.
  • The amount of time that has elapsed from your last drink. The longer the duration of time since your last drink will reduce what your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC will measure.
  • Gender. Alcohol remains in a woman’s body longer than it does in a man’s. This is due to different body chemistry. Women generally have more body fat and less water in their bodies than men do, causing their blood alcohol concentration to rise to a certain level after ingesting a smaller amount of alcohol than a man would have to drink to reach the same level.
  • Age. People between 20 to 30 years of age can purge alcohol from their systems more rapidly compared to others in different age groups.
  • Other considerations. Medications being taken can effect how fast the body will metabolize and detoxify alcohol. People taking aspirin may metabolize alcohol more slowly. Also, a person’s ethnic background can affect how their body will detoxify alcohol. Finally, the type of alcohol consumed, as well as the type and amount of food ingested during alcohol consumption all go into determining how long it will take for alcohol to leave your system.

How long does alcohol stay in your system?  For those suffering from alcohol addiction, learning how to get sober from alcohol is a chief goal.  A test that measures the concentration of alcohol in your blood will report it as a percentage. You can use this percentage to figure out how long it will take to your body to process and eliminate the alcohol in your blood.  Knowing how to figure out your BAC is an important step in learning how to get sober from alcohol. Learning how the body processes alcohol can provide a new perception for those battling alcohol addiction.

The typical rate at which alcohol can be broken down in the body occurs at .016 BAC per hour, which is equal to about one drink per hour regardless of your body size. However, a person’s BAC rate can rise more rapidly depending on the factors listed in this article, such as size and gender. For example, a person who has a high BAC level of .10 will take 6.25 hours to eliminate the alcohol from their body. Nothing can be ingested to change this outcome. While drinking coffee may increase alertness, it does not eliminate the alcohol that is in your system or change the amount of time your body needs to detoxify.

How long does alcohol stay in your system?  Take a look at this chart:


.08 (Legal Limit)5
.16 (2 Times Legal Limit)10
.24 (3 Times Legal Limit15


When contemplating how to get sober from alcohol, it is important to understand that in order to start purging alcohol from the body, at least 5% of alcohol consumed must reach the kidneys. Alcohol suppresses a hormone in the body that conserves body fluids, allowing the excretion of alcohol to begin in approximately 20 minutes from ingestion. Alcohol can be found in urine for up to 48 hours after ingestion through typical tests. However, the Etg Urine Alcohol test can detect alcohol ingestion as long as 3 to 4 days after intake, which is about 80 hours after the body’s liver has metabolized the alcohol.

For those suffering from alcohol addiction, seeking sobriety is a much more complicated than it is for someone who is looking to detoxify after one evening of drinking. Necessary steps include:

  • A commitment to quitting.
  • Setting goals.
  • Choosing a treatment plan.
  • Getting proper support during treatment.
  • Planning to live an addiction-free life.

For those committed to taking the steps necessary to become sober from alcohol, there is help available to guide you throughout the recovery process.  Getting sober takes time and effort, and those enrolled in a treatment program must be fully committed to overcoming their alcohol addiction. Research has proven that one’s motivation to get sober from alcohol strongly correlates with ongoing sobriety. Sobriety for those suffering from addiction only begins when alcohol is completely purged from the body, but a person’s addiction can cause them to struggle to stay sober long afterward.