Getting your saliva

If you aren’t seeing ferning at all during your cycle, you may just need to adjust amount of saliva.

Want to get your saliva on the slide… just right?! Let’s go over how to get the most accurate results.

If you are using too much or not enough saliva or not letting it fully dry, you may be wondering why you aren’t ferning. We know how important it is for you to know your fertile window, so let’s go over how to avoid any false negatives.

Peak Ferning Example

Tip 1: More is not better!

So sometimes more is better, but this is not one of those situations! This is a very common error but will lead to the most inaccurate results for two reasons.

First – more saliva means more drying time, so if we say 10 minutes but then you put this much saliva, you may have to wait 30 minutes or more to get it fully dry! If it’s not fully dried, ferning is not viewable, so you may be missing your fertile window.

Second – ferning usually first occurs near the outside edge of the dried saliva, so if it’s outside the viewing area, you may miss seeing the ferns that are right there but out of sight.

Fix: If you licked it too much, it’s okay. The slides are reusable! Wash with mild detergent and let air dry and try again. Keep in mind, it’s not like licking a stamp, just use a dab with the tip of your tongue. If you still can’t achieve the proper amount with your tongue directly, try spitting into a tissue or paper towel, and let the saliva drip onto the slide.


Here, the saliva sample is mostly in the smaller square on the slide, but it’s still a bit much. This can work but you need to wait longer to let it dry. Double the recommended dry time. When it’s fully dry, it should appear almost cloudy.

Fix: Double the dry time and wait (at least 20 minutes is recommended with excess saliva on slide). When viewing, make sure to check near the edge of the square first. This is most likely where ferning should first be viewable. If you truly expect ferning should be occurring (you believe you are 1-4 days from ovulation) and still do not see it, wash the slide and try again with the right amount.

Tip 3: Less is not better, either.

Now we’re over-correcting with the tiniest droplet of saliva on the slide. That’s just not good, either, as you need more saliva for crystallization to occur properly. This may also give you a false negative.

Fix: The sample is just too small to get the most accurate result. Wash the slide, let it air dry, and try again.

Tip 4: Perfect!

You’ve done it! This is the perfect amount. Now, wait at least 10 minutes to make sure it’s fully dry. A fully-dry sample appears cloudy to the naked eye, and you should see ferning patterns through the microscope shortly before your fertile window! If you aren’t sure, try waiting 20 minutes.

Fix: None! You have achieved the right saliva amount! Just repeat testing like this each day for at least 1 full cycle.

Tip 5: Wait a second… I still don’t see ferning!

FOCUSING: If you still do not see ferning, please make sure you are focusing properly. Turn the focus knob very slowly until the image is crisp. If you aren’t sure, practice focusing on the square edge, which looks like a line, so you understand how to focus a microscope properly. After focusing on the edge of the square, move the slide back to center and re-focus slightly on the fully dried sample. Now you should see small particles or ferning, depending on the stage you’re at in your cycle.

CYCLE: Please go through at least a full cycle to understand your ovulation window better. If you have an irregular cycle, test every day starting with the last day of your period. If you are testing with LH, you should see ferning for a few concurrent days before your LH strip shows a positive result.

Fix: Still no luck? Contact webchat support and we will assist you further.