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Mouth Rinse and Gargle

Mouth rinse and gargle sample collection is available to both adults and school-aged children at community collection centres. Carefully review the mouth rinse and gargle instructions on this page before you go for testing.
COVID-19 testing is done by swishing and gargling salt water and spitting it into a tube or by using a swab to collect a sample from a person’s nose. Both are good options and will tell you if have COVID-19. The nose swab is used for younger children, people with a strong gag reflex, or those who may not be able to follow the swish, gargle and spit instructions. 

Review the testing information or use the B.C. COVID-19 assessment tool to know if you, your child or someone in your care should get tested for COVID-19

  • It is very important that you do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum for at least 1 hour before you go to do your test.
  • If you would like to use the mouth rinse and gargle test, you will need to review the information on this page before you go for a test.  

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Prepare for a test

#1 Watch the videos below about what to expect

Mouth rinse and gargle COVID-19 test for children


Mouth rinse and gargle COVID-19 test for adults


ASL: Mouth rinse and gargle COVID-19 test for younger children


ASL: Mouth rinse and gargle COVID-19 test for older children and adults


#2 Practice the swish, gargle and spit technique with salty water at home before going for a test. Do not swallow the salty water or talk while you practice. 

Mix ½ teaspoon (2.5mL) of salt in 1 cup of warm water to dissolve and cool to room temperature. 

See the instructions on how to make saline at home to practice the swish/gargle method

Wait at least two hours between practicing and doing the real test as practicing could affect test results. 

If you live in an area with a Boil Water Advisory, boil water for at least one minute and then add the salt and allow to cool to make the salt water. If you live in an area with a Do Not Consume or Do Not Use Advisory, use bottled water to make the salty water solution for practicing.


#3 Read the handout with instructions on how to do the test

Find test centre

Use the collection centre finder or call 8-1-1 to find the nearest centre:

Before you go for a test

Do not eat, drink (even water), chew gum, brush teeth, vape or smoke for at least one hour before the mouth rinse and gargle test. This might also affect your test results.  

What to bring with you for a test

  • Everyone going for a test should wear a mask. Children under two years old do not need to wear a mask. 
  • Make sure to have the date of birth and the Personal Health Number (if they have one) of anyone being tested. 
  • Follow the instructions from the health care provider at the site.

After a test

  • Anyone who has been tested will need to self-isolate after their test. This means you should go directly home after the test and stay home from work or and do not see visitors. Visit our self-isolation page to learn more.
  • Visit the test results page to learn how to get results by text, online or by phone. If you would like to receive a text message result as soon as it becomes available, sign up right away. Parents can use this service to receive results for their children.
  • Find out what your COVID-19 test results mean. 
  • Monitor your health. If symptoms get worse or new symptoms develop, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. 

SOURCE: Mouth Rinse and Gargle ( )
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