Everything You Need to Know About the TSA’s Liquid Limit

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The TSA allows liquids under 3.4 ounces in your carry-on—but what ’ sulfur considered a “ liquid ” international relations and security network ’ thymine constantly obvious. share this article

flipboard Whether you ’ re a carry-on-only kind of person or not, knowing the Transportation Security Administration ’ s fluid limits is essential for anyone who wants to travel by plane ( without headaches ) in the United States. Yet understanding which of your toiletries, foods, and early items even count as “ fluid ” —let alone how best to pack them—can get confusing. Use this guide to understand the TSA ’ mho rules and restrictions about liquids, common exceptions, and tips to help ensure your following airport security screen goes smoothly .

What is the liquid limit for TSA?

The TSA ’ s fluid limit for carry-ons—known as the 3-1-1 rule—allows travelers to pack liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes under 3.4 ounces ( 100 milliliters ) in their carry-on bags. This amounts to one quart-sized bag per person, or roughly nine 3.4-ounce containers in a single quart-sized bag. Anything more will have to go in a check bag .
It ’ second important to note that if your liquids are stored in containers larger than 3.4 ounces, even if there ’ s only 3.4 ounces left inside the bottle, you can ’ t bring them through security .
completely empty bottles, such as your reclaimable water bottle, are allowed through the TSA checkpoint since ( spoiler alert ! ) they don ’ thyroxine contain any liquids at that moment .

Which toiletries TSA allows in your carry-on

The TSA allows all of the stick to common toiletries in your carry-on entirely in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less :

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Lotions and sunscreen
  • Gel hair products
  • Aloe vera
  • Perfumes
  • Lip gloss
  • Hairspray


Powders and powder-like substances, including child powder and some makeup items, aren ’ metric ton restricted in your carry-on bulge. But if you ’ re carrying more than 12 ounces ( 350 milliliters ) of a gunpowder, you ’ ll want to place it in a discriminate bin for x-ray screening, and it may be national to extra screen .

Tips for packing your toiletries in your carry-on

To comply with TSA regulations, invest in small, reusable toiletry bottles, like these capsules by Cadence. Photo courtesy of Cadence .
To comply with TSA regulations, invest in little, reclaimable toiletry bottles, like these capsules by Cadence .
specially if you don ’ t have TSA PreCheck, it ’ south helpful to pack all of your toiletries in a quart-sized ( or smaller ) acquit credit card toiletry bag for screening. For an upgrade from that big Ziplock, we recommend the standard-sized Clarity Jetset Case from Truffle ( $ 88 ), which has a clear window jury and is comparable in size to a quart-sized bag .
Since toothpaste is considered a liquid, paste, or gelatin by the TSA, most of us toss those bantam 1-ounce tubes in our carry-on bag. however, if you want to ditch the hard-to-recycle packaging, consider toothpaste tablets, an ecofriendly option that ’ s not subject to the 3-1-1 rule. We like Humankind ’ s fluoride toothpaste tablets ( $ 12 ), which resemble small mints and turn to paste when you crush them between your teeth .
For travel toiletries that are easy to rebottle ( like shampoo or body wash ), consider investing in reclaimable bottles or containers so you can always keep your prefer sword on hand. Some of our favorite TSA-approved toiletry bottles include :


Buy Now: GoToob three-pack of 3.4-ounce bottles, $ 30, rei.com
These easy-to-fill, leakproof silicone tubes are ideal for shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and body washes. GoToob ’ s line comes in a kind of sizes, ranging from 1.7 to 6 ounces, and are easily to clean between refills.

Matador FlatPack

Buy Now: $ 13 for one or $ 35 for three, matadorup.com

Each 3-ounce, TSA-approved bottle is made from a durable, waterproof, nylon-based fabric. Like GoToob, they ’ ra leakproof and easy to fill, but thanks to their elastic, fabric-like purpose, they will shrink to their contents, taking up less space in your pack .
> > Read the full reappraisal of the Matador FlatPack


Buy Now: $ 14 for one or $ 74 for six, keepyourcadence.com
The refillable change of location containers by Cadence are belittled, leakproof “ capsules ” that chink together with magnets. At 0.56 ounces, they ’ ra best for makeup and toiletries you don ’ t need much of—like a weekend ’ s worth of shampoo or a workweek of that under eye cream you only need a dab of .

Foods are subject to liquid limits

The TSA ’ s 3-1-1 rule applies to food excessively, meaning you ’ ll need to make sure any foods that count as liquids, gels, or pastes ( like yogurt, peanut butter, pâté, jams, or that tasty pimento cheese spread you tried to bring home from Charleston ) are less than 3.4 ounces or packed in your match cup of tea. There are some exceptions, like frozen foods and juice for babies, and the TSA ’ second web site is the best resource to check for specific items .

Exceptions to TSA’s liquids rule

The TSA has several significant exemptions to its liquids rule, including :
Hand sanitizer: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the TSA presently allows travelers to bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in their carry-on bags. These will be screened individually .

Medication: You ’ rhenium allowed to bring medically necessary liquids, aerosols, and gels through security. This besides includes the internal-combustion engine or mousse packs you may need to keep your medications cool. You are not required to store these items in a plastic, resealable cup of tea, but you should remove them from your baggage and let the TSA policeman know what you ’ ve packed .
Baby formula and breast milk: Like medicine, you can bring deep-freeze packs to keep these items cool, and you should remove them from your baggage and notify an agent when you go through security. More baby-related exceptions ? Gel or liquid-filled teethers and canned or jarred baby food .
Of course, the final decisiveness on whether an token is allowed through the checkpoint rests with the TSA officer.

If you ’ ra always unsure about a specific detail, the TSA ’ mho web site has a handy, searchable list of forbid and allowed items worth checking before you travel .
>>Next: The Toiletry Bags and Dopp Kits Our Editors Never Travel Without Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our mugwump publication .

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