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TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Flying with Deodorant Isn’t a Sticky Situation

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Deodorant regularly shows up in our top 10 list of search keywords that brought people to our blog. Why wouldn’t it? Many use it and you definitely need it when you travel. There have been times that I’ve been on a hot stuffy plane where the person next to me needed a double dose of it! In fact, one commenter in the early days of the blog asked if we could require passengers to put their BO in quart sized baggies prior to boarding the aircraft.

So… you might be wondering what types of deodorant have to go in the baggies, and what types don’t.

Or, you always have the option of placing deodorant in your checked baggage if you’re checking a bag.

Now, if you’re squared away but still curious as to why you have to do this, take a look at this post.

See you next Tuesday with more travel tips!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Anonymous on

The argument the TSA uses to restrict liquids is "we don´t know if it isn´t an explosive". I would appreciate an explanation on how you know a stick deodorant is not an explosive, and therefore does not have to be restricted in a baggie. Also, how do you know my chocolate is not explosive, or cheese, or batteries?

It makes no sense to restrict a whole state of matter, considering explosives come in all states of matter.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I enjoyed the linked blog about the liquids policy- it really helped me understand why the system is what it is. I have a related question (at least I think it is related.) I've worn an insulin pump for over 20 years, and have seen the procedures change over time. I'm assuming the added testing today (having me handle the pump, then testing my hands) has to do with the possiblity of using the liquid resevoir in it for something other than insulin. Is this right? I am grateful that today I generally encounter agents who know what it is and what to do (many years ago I encountered some hostile reactions from agents unfamiliar with the device: what do you mean you can't take it off?)(Actually these days most pumps can be removed, though I wouldn't want to let mine out of my sight.) Nevertheless, the added procedures are just one more wrinkle and I wonder what the rationale is. (BTW, I do understand what supplies and meds I can travel with, and how, so there's no need to drill that down on my account)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Oh that link to giant deodorant cannon is hilarious. Good to see TSA has sense of humor also!

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is the deal on mascara? Does it count as a liquid? I know lipstick and chapstick count as solids, but mascara is kinda neither here nor there. Thanks!

Submitted by Wintermute on

Hmmm... From the link:

"In fact, in recent tests, a National Lab was asked to formulate a test mixture and it took several tries using the best equipment and best scientists for it to even ignite."

Seems like a good reason to allow liquids to me, if the best scientists can't easily build a liquids-based bomb.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to help out as an aid to support The Homeland Security for anything suspicious that could come across before my eyes and take an immediately action. I would do all these for the opportunity that United State has given me,I am very proud to be an American, God-Bless USA...

Submitted by @SkyWayManAz on

A few years ago when I went to purchase stick deodorant I was really surprised to see the size was a lot smaller. The thing that caught my eye in looking at the label was that it was exactly 1 ounce smaller and coincidentally under the magical 3 ounce limit. When I realized this it seemed obvious that either the manufacturer introduced a "travel size" or perhaps got complaints that sizes over 3 ounces were being confiscated by TSA. I'm not sure which but it didn't last long and the old larger size was available again on my next purchase. Of course stick deodorant is measured in "dry ounces" and the the magical 3 ounce limit is in "fluid ounces". Are TSA screeners aware of the difference between the two systems of measurement? I'm sure a lot of people don't realize the distinction so just curious if that is included in your training on what violates the 3 ounce limit or not.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do you maintain the scientifically laughable liquids policy? There is no independent peer-reviewed data that supports it. You've been wasting everyone's time for seven years now. Why mot man up, admit you were wrong to start it, and end it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA should relax or eliminate the liquid restrictions. The TSA has shown that they have the ability to test liquids. All liquids would not need to be tested. If there is suspicion that a liquid isn't what it seems, it can be tested. Random testing of liquids could also be implemented similar to how people are randomly selected for extra screening. This can be done without sacrificing safety. Plus the TSA would get good publicity for a change if people can carry their normal size toothpaste and shampoo.

Other commenters have mentioned some good points. Your own article mentions that it took several tries with your best scientists and best equipment to get something to ignite. People in an airport or plane have no access to that. Also, why are only liquids bad? Explosives exist in other forms of matter.

Submitted by Micki on

More Fellini'esque "Theater of the Absurd" from TSA. They'd make everyone fly naked with no carry ons if they could. Well...then they'd put themselves out of a job, wouldn't they?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you for not posting my comment about my stick deodorant being confiscated in MIA.

Once again proving TSA's policy of "Deny,Lie,Deflect and Ignore"

Submitted by Pozycki on

I have to admit, this is a huge problem for me everytime I travel with my fiancee.

They say, women need to feel secure above all. Well, sometimes they need to feel beautiful first.

This is why that giant deodorant follows us in most cases.

Submitted by RB on

You can travel with deodorant but don't travel by air if your a wounded warrior.

TSA Humilates Wounded Marine-AGAIN

Only On CBS2: Wounded Marine Says He Was Humiliated By State Capitol Security, Airport TSA
July 10, 2013 1:15 AM

Martin said the humiliation continued when Kemnitz arrived at the Sacramento International Airport, where TSA screeners hassled the veteran because he couldn’t raise his arms above his head for the full-body scanner.

Submitted by Travelopod on

Well there are lot of confusions with what is allowed and not allowed. On my recent trip My friend and me where carrying the same food ( a boiled and mixed vegetable in paste like form) they allowed me to take it and chucked my friends container!

Submitted by Anonymous on

1) Wintermute's suggestion that since scientists can't easily build liquid bombs, we should loosen the liquid ban is laughable. Just because something may be difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't guard against it. And who's to say what's difficult today doesn't become easier with time.

Following the terrorist attempts to blow up several aircraft during flight using homemade explosives at London-Heathrow Airport in 2006, the European Commission adopted additional rules on aviation security to address this newly-identified threat.

2) The rest of the world has been in line with TSA since 2006.

TSA is a deterrent and strong layer of security. In no way should we weaken national secuirty in the name of convienence.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Anonymous said...
"1) Wintermute's suggestion that since scientists can't easily build liquid bombs, we should loosen the liquid ban is laughable. Just because something may be difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't guard against it. And who's to say what's difficult today doesn't become easier with time."

OK. How about not throwing all the "potential bombs" in a trash bin at the checkpoint, then, if they're so dangerous. The TSA's own actions prove that they know liquids are not a threat, even as their words claim otherwise. Also, explosives can be made out of solids, too. Should we not bad solids as well, then?

"Following the terrorist attempts to blow up several aircraft during flight using homemade explosives at London-Heathrow Airport in 2006, the European Commission adopted additional rules on aviation security to address this newly-identified threat."

The liquids plot was not viable, is not viable, and will never be viable. Comes down to basic chemistry.

"2) The rest of the world has been in line with TSA since 2006. "

The rest of the world does not have the virtual strip searches with sexual assault for those who opt out of it or alarm. The rest of the world does not engage in a silly liquids ban. The rest of the world does not go through the shoe carnival. I'd wager that the rest of the world, on average, provides better airline security than the TSA does.

"TSA is a deterrent and strong layer of security."

No, they are not. They make us LESS safe, not MORE.

"In no way should we weaken national secuirty in the name of convienence."

The "inconvenience" argument is a straw man. Have I once complained about inconvenience? No. I complain about ineffectiveness and unlawfulness. In no way should we give up our rights in order to "feel" safe.

Submitted by Ranger11 on

I don't know what scientists were unable to devise a liquid bomb, but at a bomb range, I've seen what a liquid bomb can do in a standard Gatorade container, half full of liquid explosive, (8 oz.’s) This is what I have seen with my own eyes, and it's not something that any semi-savvy teen couldn't do him or herself, and blow a hole into the fuselage of an aircraft and take it down with 8-16oz's of liquid explosives. Is it dangerous for the intended bomber? Yes. Is volatile? In most cases, yes. Is it feasible? Absolutely. Search the web; find out for yourself how liquid explosives are used around the world. It's not as difficult as one poster made it seem at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey Bob, where's my comment asking for Lynn to write more articles? I submitted it days ago. Were your feelings hurt? Even if so, you should be bigger than that.

Post my comment. It followed the guidelines. This is a government website, not your personal playground.

American Citizen

Submitted by Tara on

"In fact, one commenter in the early days of the blog asked if we could require passengers to put their BO in quart sized baggies prior to boarding the aircraft." LOL. Loved that. Be nice if they bottled their gas too. LOL.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks for the great info
For those of you who have had issues with a "Confused" TSO or are afraid to run into one, you can download the free TSA app to your smartphone and show them the list that specifically says how deodorant sticks can be taken in the carry on bag without restrictions. It has a great database.

Hope it helps!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you for making this fun as well as informative!

Submitted by Richard Weil on

Let's see, 1 person carrying 1 liter of water is a threat, but 10 people traveling together and each carrying 1/10th of a liter are not.


Submitted by Fitness Model on

I like your website, funny and informative post , thanks for sharing!

Submitted by Anonymous on

You really missed an opportunity for a better lead in : "Flying with deoderant: no sweat!"

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon sez - ""Flying with deoderant: no sweat!" "

Even better yet "Flying with Anti Perspirant: no sweat!"

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Infrequent Flyer on

Lots of good information here - thanks for all the tips!

Submitted by Pierre on

Remember, This is happening because of those monsters who flew the planes in to the towers. I don't like the TSA but I dislike those monsters far more.

Submitted by Alban Berg on

The problem is that we don't know what the TSA thinks is a solid and what it thinks is a gel. There is no consistency in the TSA at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you kidding? Have you ever hit your eyeball with the mascara wand? It hurts big time and I imagine could disable. The TSA is simply attempting to keep us safe - such as it is these days. If you really need mascara that badly, post your name and I'll try to reach you. In other words I'll send your mascara to any destination you are going to.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am an artist traveling to Hawaii in February 2018. I paint with watercolors and brushes. Will I encounter problems with TSA if I bring my paints in my carry on bag?

Submitted by Phatmike on

TSA is a joke with a badge.

Submitted by Carmen on

If the veteran explained his condition why did they asked him to raise his arms? Sometimes we encounter tired but helpful employees, unfortunately he had a rude one.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If you search in the search bar the item your concerned or questioning about it should tell you weather or not it is acceptable in carry on and checked luggage. But if your still unclear I would chat with the TSA and/or just put it in your ziplock.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Let me just throw this out there for everyone complaining about the 3-1-1 rule. What if the liquid was flammable and someone planned on pulling it out on the plane and lighting it on fire? Would you rather it be harder to get to by having to put it in a ziplock and have to thing to get through to get to it(carry-on and ziplock) or easier to just whip out of their bag. You people that are complaining are actually complaining about a rule that is keeping you safe. Stop complaining and think about how if it weren’t for that rule you and/or family could be in serious danger the next time you are flying.

Submitted by Anonymous on

that is the biggest understatement of all time. modtly a rude bunch of fools..on a good day.

Submitted by Business Class Flyer on

ok, you go through the metal detector and obviously if you have a knife they take it. yet flying business class THE AIRLINES GIVE YOU REAL METAL KNIVES ,
i asked a flight sttendandt about thst and they laughed and said it was a special knife that slips through metal detectors.

what is the point of going through metal detector if airline gives out metal knives ? sharp or not a metal knife or fork can obviously be used as a weapon. never accused TSA..TOTAL STUPID A@*es...of being intelligent.

the 9/11 crazies had box cutters someone put on plane if i remember right...who searches cleaning crew ? hmm no one so they can put anything on a plane and metal detector is therefore the way i had a pair of tweezers you know the kind you hijack a plane with and they took them. but thats ok as again airlines give out knives to hundreds of thousads of people around tye world each day. so leave knife at jome and get it on the plane...craxiness .

Submitted by Not A Moron on

Your clothing is flammable. What are we going to do, fly naked? And yeah, getting something out of a ziplock bag is a real challenge, isn't?

Submitted by Ben on

Using the term "is fine" to answer the question of whether or not stick deodorant is included in the TSA's liquid size/bag policy is, in my opinion, obviously too ambiguous a choice of phrasing.

If the entire point of an article is to answer a question, please be explicit with the answer.

Thank you!

Submitted by Steven Harisis on

The TSA should NOT relax nor eliminate the liquid restriction.... I don't understand your logic. I'd rather have to carry a smaller bottle of aftershave than have my @$$ blown off at 10,000 feet up on the air. Why are you people just keep bickering about things that actually diminish or hinder passenger security... I don't see the point and I don't like to risk things unnecessarily... Of course I don't like to stay in line for half an hour to go through security but that has to do with the number lines and employees not the items you can carry on.

Submitted by MSSKJ on

I would like to know about a ipod and a speaker, Can I pack this in my suit case or my carrie on.

Submitted by Rabbit on

Literally laughing out loud. I am 35, I have a heart loop implant for bradycardia. It basically is the size of 2 AA batteries just under my skin above my heart. Along with it is a monitor I sleep with that also downloads the heart rhythm activity recorded throughout the day. They nearly made me choose between having a computer or my heart monitor bc it's a 'computerized device with an accessory component'. I'm like..."I've shown you the information on how it's medically necessary." "I understand that miss, but-i just don't know about this device and you'll have to step to the side." (1 hour later) New person shows up..."So, what is this?" "It's a heart monitoring device that downloads and then transmits the cardiac activity to my cardiologist at night." "How does it get that information?" "I have an implanted device right here that was surgically implanted due to severe bradycardia." "So it transmits information to who exactly?" "My cardiologist." "How?"
I was beginning to feel like I was in an SNL sketch. Or, an episode of Law and Order.

Submitted by Brian Pan on

Spray deodorant no more than 3.4 oz container? They all come in 4.2 oz size in drugstore. Should I laugh or be smelly?

Submitted by Jose on

It seems TSA manager At Concorde F is not up to date on solid rock crystal deodorant allowed to go through carry-on baggage according to TSA web site . I did not mention her name however she is at Miami airport.

Submitted by John on


Submitted by Rosie on

Hey Steven,
Don't get too uptight. There is a group of folks that follow this page and harass TSA as much as possible. People with common sense (like you and I) understand the reasons for the policies.
Keep up the great work TSA!!!

Submitted by Cray on

Shut up

Submitted by Larry on

I don't like buying that 5 dollar bottle of water after security either. Maybe they can come up with a TSA approved seal so you can guy a 2 dollar bottle of water before security

Submitted by Anonymous2 on

Got heeeem

Submitted by Artist2 on

Why do I read your question in a keanu Reeves voice?

Submitted by West Cooper on

Because I can say "Whoa" in just about any situation and it will work, and I have a beard?

TSA Blog Team