Evaporation line on a pregnancy test: What to know

An evaporation line does not indicate pregnancy. If this type of streak appears, it usually means that a person has read the results too late or has otherwise misused the test.

For most women, getting an accurate result merely involves taking another test. Some women take pregnancy tests too early to receive accurate positive results. It may be a good idea to wait for a few days before taking another test.

What is an evaporation line?

An evaporation line is a slight streak that appears where the positive line on a pregnancy test should be.

Evaporation lines are colorless streaks, not faint lines. They typically appear if a person waits for longer than the suggested time to read the test result. An evaporation line can also appear if the test gets wet.

An evaporation line does not indicate that a woman is pregnant. These lines often occur when a person has checked the result too late or taken the test incorrectly.

When an evaporation line appears, it is best to take another test for an accurate result.

Evaporation lines only appear on tests that show negative results. A positive test would change color in the same spot, blotting out the evaporation line.

If a person sees an evaporation line, it means that the test is negative, or it was taken too early in the pregnancy to show a positive result.

A mark on a pregnancy test may be an evaporation line if:

  • More than 10 minutes have passed since taking the test.
  • The mark is faint and colorless, and it resembles a water spot.
  • The mark has no visible dye in it.

If the control line on the test does not change color, this means that the test has failed.

A line on a pregnancy test may show a positive result if:

  • There is visible dye in the line, even if the color is faint.
  • The line appears within the period specified on the instructions, which is usually 3–5 minutes.
  • A woman has taken an early-result test at least 11 days after ovulation.
  • A woman has taken a regular test at least 14 days after ovulation.
  • A woman has missed her period.

Preventing evaporation lines

Evaporation lines are likely to appear if a woman has not followed the instructions on the test’s packaging.

To prevent evaporation lines:

  • Try urinating in a cup before taking the test, then dipping the test in the urine for the duration specified on the box. This technique prevents too much urine from splashing onto the test.
  • Do not use a pregnancy test that is past its expiration date.
  • Avoid storing pregnancy tests in very hot or cold locations.
  • Check the results within 10 minutes of taking the test. Evaporation lines and false positives can appear over time.

Urine hCG concentrations are often highest when a person wakes up. Taking a test first thing in the morning can increase the chances of an early positive result.


Waiting for the results of a pregnancy test can be agonizing. A simple way to help ensure accuracy is to take two tests. If both show a line, even a faint one, the result is likely positive.

Anyone who is unsure of the results should give hCG levels time to rise and take another test in a few days. This can reduce the risk of false negatives.

A doctor can provide the most accurate results by testing the blood or the urine.

Home pregnancy tests are available for purchase in many pharmacies and online.

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