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Can You Bring Aerosol on a Plane? Carry on and Checked Bags

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Aerosol cans have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, used for everything from hair spray to insect repellent. However, if you’re planning to fly, you may be wondering can you bring aerosols on a plane with you.

With many regulations and restrictions in place for air travel, it can be difficult to know what’s allowed and what’s not.

In this article, we’ll explain the rules for carrying aerosols on a plane, including what types of aerosols are permitted, the amount you can bring, and the restrictions you need to be aware of.

The Quick Answer: TSA rules allow aerosols on a plane in carry on baggage but they must be in containers that are 3.4 ozs (100ml) or less. They can be packed in checked baggage almost without any size restrictions. Aerosols containing flammable liquids are prohibited in both carry on and checked bags.

There are also restrictions on the type of liquids contained in the aerosol that can be taken on a plane, which I will go into below, as well as what types you can take in either your carry on or checked baggage.

aerosol cans on planes checked baggage 2022

Can you bring aerosol in carry on?

Aerosol sizes

You can bring aerosols through the TSA checkpoint at the airport but they are subject to some of the TSA airport security regulations, particularly the liquid rules that apply to hand luggage.

This surprises some people as they often do not consider that aerosols contain a liquid so they are frequently confiscated by TSA agents.

How many fluid ounces can you take on a plane depends on the size of the aerosol containers. This is the main issue with being able to take them through the TSA checkpoint rather than the fact that they are an aerosol.

Only aerosol cans that are 3.4oz/100ml or less in size, regardless of the amount of liquid they actually contain, can go in your carry on bags. Generally, this means that aerosols should be packed in your checked bags since most aerosols contain substantially more liquid than this.

This is the TSA responding to a passenger’s question regarding can they take a 10 oz aerosol can of sunscreen on a plane:

can you bring aerosols on a plane

If you can, buy your deodorants and other toiletry aerosols in travel-size cans that are smaller than 3.4 oz (100ml), just like the one on the right in this picture below. Travel size are allowed in your carry on luggage and will pass the security check.

aerosol cans on planes checked baggage 2023
A travel size aerosol can next to a full-size can

To find out more about traveling with liquids, read my full article about the max liquid carry on rules and the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule.

How to take aerosols through the TSA checkpoint

The Transportation Security Administration rules apply to all liquids, including those contained in aerosols, and state that they must be separated from your carry on baggage and be placed in a transparent, resealable quart-sized bag in a separate bin.

Only one quart-sized liquids bag is allowed per passenger.

All aerosols larger than 3.4 ounces will be confiscated by airport security if you try to take them in your carry on bags.

This passenger is asking the TSA on Twitter if the airplane symbol means this aerosol can be taken in her carry on bag:

aerosol cans on planes checked baggage 2021

What type of aerosols can you take through the TSA checkpoint

Provided they are in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces (100m) and in a quart-sized plastic bag, then you can take aerosol toiletry products containing most types of liquid through the TSA checkpoint.

However, the TSA rules for aerosol sprays prohibit the following:

  • Fly spray/insecticide/bug spray
  • Self-defense sprays including pepper spray, tear gas etc
  • Spray paint
  • Spray oils, including cooking spray, oils and starch
  • Lysol spray
  • Bear spray
  • Aerosol lubricants/spray oil
  • flat tire repair spray

This is a notice from the TSA on Twitter regarding flammable aerosol sprays:

can you take flammable aerosols on a plane

Can you fly with aerosols in checked baggage?

Checked baggage really is the best place to travel with aerosols on a plane since then you will not have to worry about the size restrictions for anything containing a liquid as the 3.4 ounces rule does not apply.

Although you can take quite a few aerosols in checked luggage, there is a limit on the size and total amount. According to the TSA website which states that “toiletry aerosols” which are carried in a checked bag must not exceed 70oz (68 fluid ounces) in total and each container must be 18oz (16 fluid ounces) or less.

Unless you are a traveling aerosol salesman you are unlikely to exceed this limit under normal circumstances.

Many people believe that aerosols may explode in their checked bags – if you want reassurance that they will not then you may wish to read my post – Will aerosols explode in checked bags?

You can take these aerosols in checked luggage

Aerosols in checked luggage may contain the following:

  • deodorant
  • antiperspirant
  • hair spray
  • body spray
  • dry shampoo
  • sunscreen
  • perfumes/aftershave
  • shaving foam or gel
  • tanning spray
  • fly spray/insecticides – however, they are allowed in checked baggage as long as they are not labeled as hazardous material (HAZMAT) so look out for the hazard warnings.
  • air fresheners
  • personal protection sprays such as mace and pepper spray – see separate rules later in this post

This passenger is asking the TSA on Twitter “can aerosols go in checked luggage”:

can you pack aerosol sunscreen in checked luggage

This is the link they refer to – bit.ly/1mwo4KO

Restrictions for aerosols in checked baggage

There are a few exceptions, some of which sound strange as on the face of it they do not seem dangerous, and others where I wonder why anyone would want to take any with them at all.

Most of these are not banned because they are more likely to explode in checked baggage under normal circumstances than other aerosols. They are banned because, in the unlikely event of a fire in a baggage hold, they may then explode and fuel the fire.

Most of these are potentially flammable liquids in aerosols and they include:

  • spray paint
  • spray oils and penetration spays
  • Lysol spray
  • cooking spray
  • spray starch and other aerosol laundry products

Although these items are not always contained in aerosols (but can be) they are not allowed either:

  • CO2 Cartridges
  • Butane
  • Propane
  • Fire Extinguishers and Other Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Recreational Oxygen
  • Canned air
  • Compressed air
  • Tear gas

This is the TSA’s response on Twitter to a passenger asking about taking bug spray in checked bags:

can you bring aerosol bug spray on a plane

The FAA has a very good article showing exactly what you can and can’t take on board an aircraft with you. Hazardous Materials: Carried by airline passengers and crew members.

Aerosols with flammable gases are prohibited

TSA aerosol cans rules

Remember the liquid size rules for hand luggage are that containers with liquids should be no larger than 3.4oz/100ml and be in a quart-size liquids bag when referring to this table which shows the aerosol can TSA rules for both hand luggage and checked bags.

TypeCarry on luggageChecked luggage
deodorantYesYes
antiperspirantYesYes
hair sprayYesYes
hair mousseYesYes
body sprayYesYes
dry shampooYesYes
suntan lotionYesYes
perfumesYesYes
aftershaveYesYes
shaving cream, foam or gelYesYes
air freshenersYesYes
fly spray/insecticidesNoYes (see note 1)
self-defense spray including pepper sprayNoYes (see note 2)
spray paintNoNo
spray oils and penetration sprays including WD 40NoNo
Lysol sprayNoNo
cooking sprayNoNo
spray starchNoNo
bear spray and other animal repellent spraysNoNo

Note 1: Allowed in checked bags as long as they are not labeled as containing hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
Note 2: You are only allowed one container of self-defense spray in your hold luggage and it cannot be larger than 4 oz/118ml. It must be fitted with a safety mechanism or catch to ensure it does not go off by accident. They are not allowed if they contain greater than 2 percent of tear or cs gas in them.

How to take larger aerosol sprays in a carry on bag

can you bring aerosol deodorant on a plane

In practice, the liquids rule only applies to items taken through airport security in your hand luggage. It doesn’t apply to what can actually be taken into the cabin of the plane.

What I mean by that is, assuming there are stores in the departure area of the airport you are flying from (after going through airport security), then you may buy standard size aerosol products (bigger than 3.4 ounces) in those stores to take with you on board.

That way you could take your favorite spray deodorant, antiperspirant, shaving cream or whatever with you, assuming the stores at the airport sell it, rather than trying to find travel-size versions before you go.

Can you use aerosols on board a plane?

You may use any aerosol spray that you are permitted to take on the plane while you are onboard.

Clearly, some that are permitted you would have no reason to use but you may want to use aerosol toiletry items. Ideally, you should use these in the aircraft restroom so as not to disturb other passengers.

Can you take flammable aerosols on a plane?

aerosol airplane

You are not permitted to pack flammable aerosol in checked baggage or aerosol spray cans that contain flammable liquid in your hand luggage. These include such items in an aerosol can as oil (WD 40 type and even cooking oils), paint, starch (used in laundry) or Lysol.

So if you are flying somewhere to do some street art you will have to buy your paint when you arrive.

How to pack aerosol cans for flying

In 40+ years of flying, I have never had any problems with carrying aerosols on a plane in checked baggage. But if you are still concerned about putting aerosols in your checked baggage then there are a few things you can do to give yourself some peace of mind:

  • Pack aerosols in a resealable quart-size bag – just in case it may leak. You don’t want the contents going all over your clothes. This is actually a much better idea for the non-aerosol liquids in your luggage which are more likely to leak onto your clothes (and that has happened to me).
  • Don’t let them rattle around. Ensure that they cannot move and bang together. Putting them in plastic bags between your clothes, or in your shoes helps.
  • If there is a safety mechanism or catch then ensure this is in operation so there cannot be an accidental release
  • If you really want to be ultra-safe, and they are brand new, then perhaps release a little of the contents, and therefore the pressure, in the can.

FAQ

Can you bring aerosol sunscreen on a plane? 

You can bring aerosol sunscreen in carry on if the container is no larger than 3.4 ounces. If larger than this it will have to go in checked bags.

Can you check aerosol bug spray on a plane? 

Aerosol bug spray cannot be taken in carry on bags. It must be packed in your checked baggage.

Can you bring aerosol deodorant on a plane?

You can bring aerosol deodorant in carry on if the container is no larger than 3.4 ounces. If larger than this the aerosol deodorant will have to go in checked bags.

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