HOWTO: Extract DNA in a kitchen

No prior experience or skills needed


DNA extraction is generally done in a lab with expensive equipment and reagents, but it doesn’t need to be!

Extract DNA from your cheek cells at home with this easy protocol.
You will see your DNA precipitate out of solution as a whispy white cloud which you can scoop out and use for further experiments, or purposes of counter surveillance.


Ingredients (for 12)

  • 1.08g table salt (NaCl)
  • 120ml distilled water
  • Clear dish soap
  • Chilled Rubbing alcohol (75% or higher, i.e. isopropanol or ethanol)


  • Scale
  • Measuring cups
  • Test tube or tall shot glass (per person)
  • Popsicle stick (per person)
  • Toothpick (per person)

Optional: Incubator (65 C)


  1. Make .9% saline solution: mix salt and water til dissolved

  2. Measure 10 ml of buffer into a small cup, pour buffer in mouth and swirl around cheeks for about 1 minute.

  3. Spit the water back into a container, preferably something relatively narrow like a test tube.

  4. Squirt a bit of liquid soap to the sample and mix well with popsicle stick. If you can mix by inversion, then do so gently about 20 times.

  5. Add 10 ml cold alcohol slowly to the sample and make sure to pour it at an angle down the side of the test tube so that two layers are formed. Do this very gently, with a straw, etc. It’s important that the two layers are not disturbed.

  6. Wait for about 10 minutes and the DNA will appear afloat on the alcohol layer.

  7. Twist a toothpick in the DNA to remove it.

  8. Place in a clean cup or tube and air dry 10 min.

  9. Fill tube with 3 mL of distilled water incubate (if possible @ 65) at least 1 hour to dissolve DNA.

_Adapted from_ _And_