Negative or Positive Dilute: What Does That Mean?

Negative or Positive Dilute: What Does That Mean?

Written by Christopher A. Parrella, J.D., CHC, CPC, CPCO


Have you ever had a drug test come back as either negative or positive “dilute” and wondered what does that mean?

Dilution means just that, the urine collected for the specimen was diluted. In other words, the person taking the drug test had been drinking a lot of water before providing the sample. By doing so, it will reduce the amount or concentration of drugs in the sample. Those trying to flush their system of drugs often try this method in an effort to hide their habit.

Technically speaking, a specimen is considered “dilute” if it has a creatinine of between 2 mg/dl and 20 mg/dl and a gravity of 1.003 or less. Creatinine is produced as a result of muscle metabolism at a relatively constant rate throughout the day and filtered out of the blood through the kidneys. Lower levels of creatinine suggest that the specimen has been altered.

Consider how your urine looks when you don’t drink a lot of water, it’s usually a much darker yellow than if you drink water. The urine of someone who drinks an excessive amount of water is more likely to be a much lighter yellow, or in some cases almost clear.

What’s the difference between positive and negative dilute? If the urine test results come back as “positive dilute” that means it tested positive for drugs, but also was dilute. A test that comes back with this result is considered positive. A positive dilute is, for all intents and purposes considered positive, and employers or potential employers or a treating clinician should handle it as such.

A “negative dilute” raises suspicions. In this instance, specimens have creatinine levels of greater than or equal to 2 mg/dl, but less than 5 mg/dl, and specific gravity less than or equal to 1.0010. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean the person providing the sample was trying to cheat, (maybe they thought they needed to drink a lot to produce a good sample). To ensure that everything is on the up-and-up, they should be tested again.

Avoiding a dilute test result is as simple as controlling your intake of water. Sure, you want to drink enough before the test to be able to provide a sample, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink a gallon of water. Everything in moderation.

Testing urine is the quickest and most accurate way to screen for drug use. At Innovative Laboratory Solutions, we know the importance of making sure the sample is the right temperature. That’s why our standard EZ Test Cup is designed with a built-in thermometer and screen for Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Opiates, Oxycodone, Methadone, Amphetamines, Barbiturates, PCP, MDA, MET and BZO. Custom cups also are available. Contact us today for more information at or call 561-218-4646.

The information presented in these blogs is strictly informational and not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the information presented here and any use of our products based on such information.