What You Should Know About TSA Aerosol and Spray Rules

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

What will fly and what won't when it comes to aerosols

What You Should Know About TSA Aerosol and Spray Rules

Convenient aerosol sprays can make traveling life easier, providing everything from sunblock to hair care in a no-fuss container. When you're packing them for a plane trip, regulations can seem complicated. Here's what you need to know in a nutshell.

What flies

TSA limits the amount of flammable products each passenger can carry on a plane. Although many aerosols are flammable, TSA makes exceptions for limited amounts of aerosol toiletries.

TSA's 3-1-1 rule lets you bring aerosol toiletry products in your carry-on in containers up to 3.4 ounces. Your aerosol items and other non-solid items must fit together in one quart-sized plastic bag.

Aerosol products in your checked luggage can be up to 17 ounces, but you can only bring a total of 68 ounces of flammable liquids and aerosol in your checked bags. Go ahead and include these items in your checked bags or carry-on in the appropriate sizes.

  • Aerosol sun block, tanning spray and sunburn treatments 
  • Bug-repellent spray
  • Shaving cream  
  • Hair spray
  • Spray deodorant
  • Spray nail polish

What might fly

Some non-toiletry aerosols can fly on the plane, as they are non-flammable. Make sure any aerosol you take on board that is not a toiletry item is labeled “nonflammable” and doesn't have any other hazard warnings.

  • Animal-repellent sprays must not exceed 4 fluid ounces. Most bear repellents are larger and are thus not allowed on the plane.
  • Electronic cleaner: If your electronics cleaner says “nonflammable” on the label, it's a go for checked baggage. 
  • Flat tire repair spray: Mom always told you to leave enough time to change a flat tire. Pumping it up with aerosol is faster. Just be sure it's labeled “non-flammable”

    and pack it in your checked luggage. 
    Self-defense spray: Pack one pepper spray or mace in your checked baggage as long as it's less than 4 fluid ounces and contains less than 2 percent tear gas by mass.
    Whipped cream: Must be less than 17 ounces. Go ahead and pack it in your checked baggage. 

What won't fly

Some aerosols just won't make it onto the plane no matter where you pack them. If their label states “Caution: flammable” or have other hazard warnings, leave them behind.

  • Canned air: The air's not flammable, but the propellants are.
  • Cooking spray: Look for pump containers designed to spray oil instead of cooking spray.
  • Spray paint: Competing in the Estria Battle Urban Art and Culture Festival's graffiti art contest? You'll have to get your paints after you land in Oakland, Calif. 
  • Spray starch and other aerosol laundry products such as anti-static sprays aren't allowed at all. Consider buying these items at your destination or look for pump spray substitutes.
  • WD-40: That squeaky hotel door might drive you nuts, but you can't bring aerosol lubricants on a plane.

About the Author

Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.