A COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test shows you the result on a device that comes with the test.
How to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test
How you do the test depends on the test kit you’re using.
Rapid lateral flow tests require either a:
- throat and nose swab
- nose swab only
The test you have might be different to one you've done before so it's important to read the instructions carefully before you do the test.
Information: Check the expiry date before you do the test
Rapid lateral flow tests have expiry dates so you know when to use them by.
Do not use out-of-date tests. Use a test from a box which is still in date.
Before taking the swab
- wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser
- clear, clean and dry a flat surface then lay out all the items in the test kit
- if your test does not come with a pre-filled tube, fill the tube with the liquid provided
- place the tube in the tube holder
- blow your nose
- wash your hands again or use a hand sanitiser
Taking the swab
If your test requires a throat swab:
- open your mouth wide and rub the swab over both your tonsils (or where they would have been) at the back of your throat. Do this 4 times on each side
- using the same swab, wipe the inside of your nose as set out in the test kit instructions
If your test requires a nose swab only:
- use the swab to wipe the inside of your nose as set out in the test kit instructions
Completing the test
- put the end of the swab into the tube so it's in the liquid and swirl the swab around as directed in the test kit instructions, then close the lid
- squeeze the liquid from the tube onto the test strip
- check the waiting time in the instructions that came with your test kit
- wait for the time shown in your test kit instructions
- read your result
Do not leave it longer than the waiting time specified in the test kit instructions as this may affect the result.
Information:Find more information on how to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test at home on GOV.UK, including videos , step-by-step guides, easy reads and information in other languages.
Reporting your result
Report your result, whether it is positive, negative or void, every time you do a rapid lateral flow test.