Can Mouthwash Fail an Ignition Interlock Device?

Ignition Interlock Devices use sophisticated fuel cell technology to detect alcohol on your breath. But your favorite mouthwash could contain enough alcohol – as much as 27 percent, or 54 proof – to potentially cause a fail notification on your Ignition Interlock.

Mouthwash is a great way to make your breath smell fresher. But when it comes to passing an Ignition Interlock breath test, it isn’t the best idea. And it’s a terrible and dangerous way to try to get drunk.

Ignition Interlock Devices and Mouthwash

Ignition Interlock Devices detect if you have been drinking alcohol. Mouthwash is one of the most common culprits, since it can contain anywhere between 14 and 27 percent alcohol. You can understand why the Ignition Interlock Device might confuse it for an actual alcoholic drink.

Three important points:

  • Mouthwash is meant to be spit out, not swallowed. With all the other chemicals involved, swallowing even a small amount can be toxic.
  • An estimated 10 to 15 percent of people in treatment centers for alcohol use disorder have used non-beverage substances like mouthwash, despite the dangers.
  • Even if it’s not ingested, mouthwash can take upwards of 15 minutes for the alcohol in your mouth to dissipate.

Water is Your Best Friend

It’s advisable to keep water in your vehicle if you’re using an Ignition Interlock Device. If you feel like mouthwash or some other substance is affecting your IID, rinse your mouth vigorously with water, then wait until the device allows you to test again.

We recommend that all of our clients keep water handy. And it’s not a bad idea to quickly rinse your mouth before every test, just to be on the safe side.

Choose Non-Alcohol Mouthwash

Selecting a mouthwash that contains no alcohol is an even safer bet. Virtually every major brand has an alcohol-free alternative.

The benefits may extend beyond interaction with an Ignition Interlock. Other positive factors include:

  • Eliminating the burning sensation and dry mouth that come with use of most alcohol-based mouthwashes.
  • A better effect on gloss, color, and durability of tooth composite restorations.
  • Targeting more of the bad bacteria in your mouth, and destroying less of the healthy bacteria.

If You Use Alcohol-Based Mouthwash with Ignition Interlock

Your safest way to avoid problems from mouthwash on your Ignition Interlock Device is to use non-alcohol mouthwash. However, if you decide to keep using mouthwash with alcohol, avoid using the mouthwash near the time you will need to breathe into your device. You can also wait 15 minutes or more to breathe into the device.

The experts at Smart Start are always here to help if you need us. Just call us at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.