When preparing for a trip, packing your suitcase with necessary toiletries and grooming products is essential. Many travelers like to bring their favorite aerosol items like hairspray, dry shampoo, sunscreen spray, shaving cream, and deodorant to maintain hygiene and appearance while away from home.
However, flying with aerosols can raise questions about airport security rules. One of the main ones is, can you take aerosols on a plane? Also, are they allowed in your carry-on, or do you need to pack aerosol cans for flying in hand luggage? For example, small toiletries in your checked bags don’t have restrictions, yet toiletry aerosols under 3.4 oz are permitted in carry-on bags.
With today’s strict TSA regulations for what can be packed on planes, passengers must know how to properly transport aerosol cans to avoid issues. This leads to another question often asked: whether aerosol cans will explode in checked bags.
Certain flammable, pressurized, or hazardous aerosol products are completely banned from airplanes. In our guide, you can learn more about carrying aerosol toiletries in your carry-on luggage and your checked bags. By the end, you’ll better understand if aerosols will explode and the TSA rules regarding aerosol toiletry products. (Read Can I Take Nail Clippers On A Plane)
What Are The TSA Regulations For Aerosols In Carry-on And Checked Bags?
The TSA has specific rules regarding liquids and aerosol items in either carry-on or checked bags when flying. Here are the key regulations:
- Carry-on bags: Aerosol toiletry items like hairspray, dry shampoo, and sunscreen spray are allowed in your carry on luggage in containers up to 3.4 ounces. They must fit comfortably within a single quart-sized plastic bag with other liquids and gels. Total liquids cannot exceed 12 ounces.
- Checked bags: Standard aerosol cans for personal hygiene and grooming purposes are permitted in checked baggage as long as they follow the same 3.4 ounces or less per container policy.
- Larger aerosol cans: Any aerosol containers over 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked luggage. This includes large cans of hairspray or shaving cream over 3.4 oz and aerosol insecticides.
- Hazardous materials: Flammable aerosols like spray paint, Fix-A-Flat tire inflator, and certain cleaning products are classified as hazardous. These materials are not permitted at all in carry-on or permitted in checked luggage.
So, small toiletry aerosol items, you can take them in your carry on bags, while larger aerosols over 3.4 oz or hazardous sprays must be packed in checked baggage only. Always check current TSA rules before flying.
Can Aerosol Cans Explode In Checked Luggage?
This is a common concern for air travelers when packing aerosol products in checked suitcases and bags. Luckily, aerosol cans are designed not to explode under normal circumstances, so chances are, aerosol cans will not explode in the cargo hold during your flight.
Aerosol cans include safety features to prevent explosion, such as:
- Pressure relief valves: – These release excess pressure from the can slowly to prevent rupture.
- Burst discs: These membranes rupture to release pressure before the can explodes.
- Vapor taps: Small openings let vapor escape so pressure does not build up.
As long as aerosol cans are packed properly, surrounded by clothing, and not damaged, they will remain intact through changes in air pressure and temperature during the flight. While accidents rarely happen, overall, aerosol cans won’t explode in your checked luggage. (Read Can You Bring Sewing Needles On A Plane)
Tips To Pack Aerosol Cans In Checked Bags
Even though getting an aerosol can to explode on a plane is uncommon, you’ll still want to take precautions when packing spray cans in checked baggage:
- Wrap in clothing: Place it in your checked baggage in the middle of your clothing for cushioning. This prevents damage from shifting contents.
- Separate from sharp objects: Don’t pack aerosol cans that contain large amounts next to sharp items like scissors, knives, tools, etc., that could puncture the can.
- Pack upright: Aerosol cans should be packed vertically and not lying flat or upside down. This keeps the valves clear.
- Limit motion: Place aerosols snugly between clothing items so they don’t shift and move around the suitcase. Put nothing hard next to an aerosol.
- Check for leaks: Inspect aerosols that contain more than half a can for leaks before packing. Don’t pack damaged or leaking aerosols.
- Consider plastic bag: You may place aerosol cans in checked luggage inside a sealed plastic bag as extra protection.
- Know airline policies: Some airlines may restrict certain aerosol items in carry-on or checked luggage, so check the carrier for what aerosols are allowed before packing.
Following these tips will help ensure the safety of your toiletry aerosols in hold luggage. Aerosol cans will arrive without explosions or leaks en route.
What Types Of Aerosol Cans Are Prohibited On Planes?
While personal care aerosols for hygiene and grooming are permitted on flights, certain types of aerosol spray cans are classified as dangerous goods and banned by the TSA and FAA.
The following aerosols are not allowed in carry on bags or checked luggage:
- Flammable aerosols: Aerosols are flammable when used for certain things. Spray paint, automotive products, solvents, aerosol laundry products, and lacquer aerosol cans are considered hazardous.
- Compressed gas: Aerosols containing compressed gases like oxygen, helium, butane, propane, refrigerant gases, fire extinguishers, and tire inflators.
- Pepper spray: Self-defense pepper spray is prohibited in carry on or checked luggage.
- Numbing sprays: Topical anesthetic sprays containing significant amounts of active ingredients like lidocaine.
- Corrosive sprays: Products like paint removers, drain cleaners, and oven cleaners are labeled corrosive.
- Pesticides: Insecticide and disinfectant sprays containing pesticides are banned on flights.
Can I Take Aerosol Sunscreen In My Carry-on?
Many travelers want sunscreen spray in their carry-on, especially for destinations with strong sun. The good news is that sunscreen spray is allowed in both checked luggage and carry-on luggage as long as you follow the rules. As with other liquids, gels, and aerosols, sunscreen aerosols must adhere to the 3-1-1 carry-on rules:
Aerosol sunscreen is permitted even if it is technically over the 3.4oz total liquid limit after accounting for other toiletries. The TSA makes an exception for medically necessary liquids like sunscreen.
When you bring aerosol spray sunscreen in carry-on, be sure to:
- Use a TSA-compliant plastic bag for all liquids.
- Place a plastic bag in an easy-to-access spot if needed during screening.
- Have aerosol container clearly labeled if not in original packaging.
Is Shaving Cream Allowed In Checked Luggage?
Shaving cream aerosols in checked baggage is perfectly fine when flying. As part of your toiletry/grooming kit, standard aerosol and non-aerosol shaving creams in any size container are permitted and won’t pose an explosion risk in cargo holds. (Read Will Carbonated Drinks Explode In Luggage)
Some tips for transporting shaving cream and supplies in checked bags:
- For carry-on, stick to the 3-1-1 rule for liquids. Only containers 3.4oz or less.
- In checked, pack larger cans or bottles of shaving cream freely. No size restrictions.
- Wrap properly with clothing to prevent caps from coming off or damage.
- Consider packing in a plastic bag or toiletry kit to contain any leaks.
- Don’t pack shaving cream cans in the same pocket as razor blades to avoid punctures.
- If traveling overseas, check any restrictions on pressurized containers.
Is Hairspray Allowed In Carry-on Luggage?
Hair spray is a popular hair styling product. Many travelers want to bring aerosols in hand luggage to freshen up on long flights or before events at their destination. The good news is the TSA permits hairspray aerosol cans on a plane in carry-on luggage in limited quantities.
Remember, put it in your checked luggage if it is a full-size can. Putting hairspray in checked luggage when packing for a plane helps avoid accidents in case any aerosols are accidentally activated or the can leaks.
Can I Pack Pepper Spray In My Checked Baggage?
One aerosol product that the TSA expressly forbids in both carry-on and checked luggage is pepper spray.
There are a few reasons pepper spray is prohibited on aircraft:
- The high-pressure and flammable propellant is dangerous.
- Accidental exposure mid-flight could injure passengers and crew.
- It contains compressed gas that poses risks when flying.
- If discharged, pepper spray is difficult to clean up and causes contamination.
- Many destinations prohibit the import of defense sprays like pepper spray.
While full pepper spray aerosols in your checked luggage aren’t allowed. Most empty pepper spray aerosol cans in your checked luggage are allowed to be packed in checked bags as they are not going to explode. But fully pressurized pepper spray aerosol products on a plane are forbidden.
When packing aerosol products, including aerosol hairspray, sunscreen, and shaving cream for a flight. Familiarize yourself with TSA rules to determine if they can go in carry-on vs. aerosols in checked luggage. Aerosol toiletries in containers of 3.4oz or less are permitted in carry-on bags, while larger cans must be packed in checked suitcases.
Aerosols won’t explode in checked baggage thanks to built-in safety features. But take care to pack them properly, avoiding damage or punctures. With preparation, you can safely and efficiently transport your aerosol hygiene items on any flight. (Read Will Cans Of Beer Explode On A Plane)
Can spray deodorant go in my carry-on luggage?
Aerosol deodorants in containers of 3.4oz or less are permitted in carry-on bags following the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rules.
Can I pack insect repellant in checked baggage?
Non-hazardous insect repellants may be packed in checked luggage, but aerosol cans over 3.4oz cannot go in carry-on.