How to collect your DNA sample at home


Please do not eat, drink (water is fine), use tobacco or recreational drugs, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before providing your DNA sample.

How to obtain a DNA sample

Buccal swabbing is convenient because it doesn’t require a medically trained professional. By following these simple steps,  anyone can collect a buccal swab sample for a DNA paternity, sibling, grandparent, twin zygosity, or avuncular relationship analysis. Here’s how:

1. Verify that the subject’s mouth is empty.

2. Wash your hands with soap and water, or put on a rubber or latex glove.

3. Open the DNA collection kit. If you are making your own DNA kit, then make certain you have the following items: 4 cotton swabs per person testing, a standard letter sized paper envelope, and a black or blue ink pen.

dna collection

4. Choose a  swab (either a buccal swab if you ordered a Journey DNA collection kit or cotton swab if you are making your own kit).  

5. You should have packages of swabs if you requested a Journey DNA collection kit, for a total of 4 swabs per person. Carefully remove the buccal swabs from the package.

mouth swab dna

6. Avoid touching the swab tip with your fingers, gloves or against any surface.

7. If you are using regular cotton swabs (Make Your Own Kit option) please cut off the end you are not going to use for the DNA collection without touching the cotton tip you will be putting in the mouth.

8. Have the subject open his or her mouth and immediately bring the swab tip to inside of cheek.

9. Gently rub and rotate swab along the inside of the cheek for 20-30 seconds, ensuring that the entire swab tip has made contact with the cheek.

can I do a dna test at home

10. Immediately remove the swab, being careful not to touch the swab tip against teeth, lips, or other surface.

11. Let the swabs air dry. We recommend using a short glass and placing the oral swab cotton side up inside of the glass to allow it to dry. Make sure that swabs from different test participants do not at any point come into contact. This can take between 15 minutes to one hour.

home dna test

12. Repeat until you have used two (2) swabs per cheek for a total of four (4) swabs collected per person.

13. Place the dry swabs directly into one collection envelope. Each person MUST have their own envelope. DO NOT combine samples into the same collection envelope.

can I do a dna test without anyone knowing

14. Label the envelope with identifying information.

If you are making your own DNA kit please make certain all the information listed below in on your envelope. Here is an example of a properly completed collection envelope from a Journey DNA kit (collection envelopes may vary in appearance):

online dna test

The following information MUST be included:

Your Journey Genetic Testing Case Number – must be on EACH envelope

Name of the person whose DNA sample is in the envelope

Type of test being performed

Suspected Relationship – ONLY list the specific relationship as listed on your order form (for example: paternity, sibling, grandparent, child etc). DO NOT list other possible relationships or information. If multiple possible relationships are listed (for example: possible sibling or cousin; possible sister or aunt; possible father or grandfather, etc.) the samples will be discarded and you will need to recollect.

15. Finally, place all DNA samples in their envelopes into the provided prepaid mailer or into a larger envelope for shipping. Please record any tracking information you may have to verify delivery of your samples to the lab. Journey Genetic Testing does not recording tracking numbers on prepaid mailers as we leave that choice to you.

16. Send the samples to the lab for processing using either the label or address provided.

17. You will be notified by email once ALL samples and required documents have arrived at the lab. All results and notifications are posted once per day, no later than 8:00 PM PST on regular business days.

How to collect and send non-standard alternative samples

IMPORTANT: If you have ordered testing for non-standard samples (anything other than a mouth swab) please make certain that the sample fits into the collection (or standard letter size paper) envelope. In the case of a toothbrush or razor the most important thing is that the tip of the sample, where we are testing for DNA, is covered. If you need to trim the sample (such as a hat band or piece of clothing) please do not touch the area to be tested and cut out only the section to be tested. Non-standard samples that are not ready to test will be discarded and a new sample requested. At no time should you ever place a DNA sample into a plastic bag, only a paper envelope to avoid bacteria forming on the sample.