In modern times, packing to fly away on holiday is complicated by the rules and restrictions on what you are allowed to pack in your bags. It can be a challenge to work out what different countries do and do not permit you to put in your bags. Deodorant is an everyday essential that most people will want to take with them onboard a plane, but many are unsure which bag they should put it in. Most countries classify the majority of deodorants as liquids, including roll-ons, aerosols, and powders. These have limitations on their size and quantities. If you want to take a deodorant in your carry-on bag, it must be in a container of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. Some countries do not limit solid deodorant, but some do.
Why Wouldn’t You Be Allowed to Take Deodorant in Carry-On Luggage?
It can seem puzzling that something as innocuous as deodorant could be viewed as a threat. It may seem even stranger that it is classified as a liquid.
The reason the restrictions on taking liquids on an airplane were brought in was as a result of several failed terrorist attacks. In 1995, the Bojinka aimed to blow up eleven planes flying between Asia and America. In 2006, another terrorist plot would have caused explosions on seven or more aeroplanes leaving Heathrow. Both of these attempts planned to smuggle liquid explosives onto planes disguised as everyday-looking items, such as soft drinks, shampoo, hair gel, toothpaste, and jam.
After they foiled the 2006 scheme, the UK authorities introduced restrictions on what could be packed in passengers’ hand luggage. Liquids, in particular, were limited to 100 ml (3.4 oz). Other countries soon followed suit, and the guidelines were applied to nearly all flights worldwide.
While there are concerns about liquids, you may be surprised to learn that the containers are the real worry. Limiting the size of containers to 100 ml (3.4 oz) means they are too small to be used to mix liquid explosives that could cause significant damage to a plane. Given the inherent instability of liquid explosives, trying to combine multiple 100 ml measures into a larger bomb would be unsuccessful and more likely to harm the terrorist than anyone else.
What this means for deodorant is that if it is your carry-on bag and in a container bigger than 100 ml (3.4 oz), it is possible that a security officer may not allow you to keep it.
So, Can I Bring My Deodorant on a Plane as Carry-On Luggage?
There are different rules depending on what kind of deodorant you are taking on a plane. Some countries can be stricter than others, so it is always best to check before your flight and err on the side of caution.
America – What Does the TSA Say About Deodorant?
If you are packing a liquid deodorant, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will only allow you to have it in your carry-on bag if it is less than 3.4 oz (100 ml). The same limitation of 3.4 oz (100 ml) would also apply to deodorant in an aerosol. You have to make sure a secure cap protects the button on the aerosol to prevent accidental release. You can have as many 3.4 oz (100 ml) or less containers as you want as long as they all fit into a single, quart-sized bag. The bag must be clear plastic and have a resealable zip-top.
If your deodorant is going in your checked luggage, it must be under 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces). The typical size of a deodorant is 250 ml (8.5 fluid ounces), so this is unlikely to be a problem. The total of all your toiletry items in your suitcase must add up to less than 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces). If your deodorant is in 250 ml (8.5 fluid ounces), you can have eight in your suitcase, as long as you have no other liquids or aerosols.
Solid deodorant is not subject to any restrictions. You can pack it in both your carry-on bags and your checked luggage. There is no limit on the size of solid deodorant.
The UK – What Are the UK Government’s Regulations Concerning Deodorant?
The UK categorizes all deodorants except solid deodorants as liquids. These are the guidelines for taking liquids on a plane that would apply to deodorants.
- Containers must hold no more than 100 ml
- Containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which Contains no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
- Contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
- The bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
- You’re limited to 1 plastic bag per person
- You must show the bag at the airport security point
Solid deodorants have no size limits and can be packed in both your hand luggage and your hold bags.
Europe – What Are the EU’s Guidelines Regarding Deodorant?
The EU website explains that to protect passengers against the threat of liquid explosives, there are restrictions on the amount of liquids that can be taken through security checkpoints and onboard an airplane. You are permitted ‘liquids in individual containers with a capacity not greater than 100 ml and contained in one transparent resealable plastic bag of a capacity not exceeding one liter’. While deodorants are not explicitly mentioned, the examples given to explain what would be viewed as a liquid make it clear all types of deodorant would fall under this category, except solid deodorants.
Australia – Does the ABF Have Laws About Deodorant?
The Australian Border Force (ABF) groups toiletries together. While only perfumes, aerosols, hairsprays, and colognes are specifically listed as being in the toiletries category, it would clearly include all deodorants except solid deodorant. If your deodorant is in an aerosol, then you must protect the button to prevent inadvertent release of the contents.
If you are packing your deodorant in your carry-on baggage, it must be in containers of less than 100 ml (3.4 oz). If you are putting it in your checked bags, then, similar to America, the total quantity of aerosols and toiletries must not exceed 2kg or 2L, and each individual item must be less than 0.5 kg or 0.5L.
New Zealand – What Are the CAA of New Zealand’s Rules About Deodorant?
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) helpfully lists deodorant on its website. Toiletries come under the heading of ‘powders, liquids, aerosols and gels’. They state that: ‘deodorants (includes roll-on, spray, stick, salt, and powder forms) are classified as liquids’. They therefore can only go in your carry-on bag if they are in containers of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. The total of these small containers must add up to one liter or less. All your liquids, aerosols, and gels must fit into a ‘single resealable 20cm by 20cm [one volumetric litre] plastic bag’.
In addition, all aerosol containers must have a fitted cap or locking device to prevent accidental activation.
The CAA also has specific restrictions on powdered deodorant. You can have powdered deodorant up to 350 ml (12 oz), and you do not need to put it in a resealable plastic bag.
Similar to other countries, if your aerosol deodorant is going in your checked luggage, then it must be in a container of 500 ml (500 g) or less. The total of all the aerosols in your suitcase cannot be more than 2000 ml (2000 g).
Canada – What Does the CBSA Say About Deodorant?
Liquid, aerosol, or gel deodorant in a 100 ml (3.4 oz) or smaller container is permitted in carry-on by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Aerosols must be secured to make sure they can’t accidentally go off.
Aerosol deodorant in checked baggage is also subject to limits. You are allowed a maximum of 500 ml (500 g) per container. The total of all your aerosols in your suitcase cannot exceed 2 liters (2 kg).
The CBSA has no size or volume restrictions for solid deodorant in cabin bags or checked luggage.
The Rest of the World
There is no comprehensive answer as to the restrictions on deodorants in parts of the world, such as Asia, Africa, and South America, as each country sets its own individual rules. The simplest thing to do is to consult with your airline before your flight. Most major airlines have websites with guidelines that can help.
Deodorants are usually treated as liquids, so they can only go in your hand luggage if they are in 100ml (3.4 oz) containers. Whether solid and powdered deodorant are classified as liquids varies.
Usually, deodorants, including aerosols, in your checked suitcase must not exceed 0.5 kg (0.5 liters) per article and 2.0 kg (2 liters) in total weight. You must have a cap over the button on an aerosol to protect it and ensure it won’t spray invertedly.
What’s the Best Advice for Travelling on a Plane with a Deodorant?
The usual advice is to pack deodorant in your checked bags that are going in the hold. However, deodorant is something most of us like to have on hand to freshen up during a long journey. Ideally, most travelers would like to have deodorant in their hand luggage.
Deodorant is typically classified as a liquid, so it has to be in a container that is 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. If you use a roll-on or aerosol deodorant, you will have to buy travel-sized deodorant, even though it is more expensive than the standard size. If you use powdered deodorant, you could decant some into a suitable-sized container. Some countries will allow any size of solid deodorant, while others limit it to 100 ml (3.4 oz).
There are limits in many countries on the quantities of toiletries you can have in your hold luggage. Sometimes, the limits are on all items, but some countries only apply the limits to aerosols. Typically, the restriction is that they must not exceed 2kg or 2 liters, and each individual item must be less than 0.5 kg or 0.5 liters. The typical size of a deodorant is 250 ml (8.5 fluid ounces), so this is unlikely to be a problem. If your deodorant is in 250 ml (8.5 fluid ounces), you can have eight in your suitcase, as long as you have no other liquids or aerosols.
What Happens If Your Deodorant Is Flagged by Airport Security?
If your deodorant gets flagged when you are going through an airport security checkpoint, there is nothing to be achieved by making a fuss. If your deodorant is the wrong size, it will be confiscated by the security officer. If you have too many 100ml (3.4 oz) bottles, they will give you the choice of which ones you want to keep. If you haven’t put your small bottles in a clear, plastic bag, then most security checkpoints will give you a suitable bag.
If you have a deodorant that is in an aerosol that has lost its lid, you would be best advised to leave it at home and to buy another one with a top. You could try to put some tape over the button or to improvise some kind of protective covering. The majority of countries require your aerosols to be fixed so they can’t accidentally go off.
What Are the Different Types of Deodorant?
As the name suggests, you can get solid deodorant. It is also sometimes called stick deodorant, and it is usually in a tube with a knob on the bottom you twist to push it out the top, similar to lipstick but bigger. Many countries will allow you to have solid deodorant in your carry-on bag with no restrictions, but some classify it as a liquid.
Liquid deodorant is usually in the form of a roll-on. Whether it is a runny liquid or a gel, this type of deodorant will be restricted to 100 ml (3.4 oz) if it is in your cabin baggage.
This is probably the most common type of deodorant. Whether it is in an aerosol or a pump-action bottle, it will be limited to 100 ml (3.4 oz) if you pack it in your hand luggage. Aerosols also have to be secured, usually by a cap, so they cannot accidentally spray their contents.
This is a less common type of deodorant. As the name suggests, it is usually a powder or sometimes crystals. You scoop some up with your fingers and rub it into the desired area of your body, such as your armpits. Some countries, such as New Zealand, have different limitations for powders in your carry-on luggage than those for liquids. Some countries treat powders the same as solids, whereas other countries group them with liquids. You will probably find that the size of the container will be the thing that the security officer will be concerned about. It would, therefore, be advisable to only take powdered deodorant in a container of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less.
Most types of deodorants are classified as liquids, and therefore, you can only take them on a plane as hand luggage if they are in containers of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. There are often limits to how much you can pack in your checked bags, too. Some countries do not limit solid deodorants, but generally speaking, you need to buy a travel-sized deodorant if you want it in your carry-on bag.
See other articles in this series:
- Can You Bring Nail Clippers on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Tweezers on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Hiking Sticks on a Plane?
- Can Your Bring Shampoo on a Plane?
- Can You Bring a Lighter on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Curling Irons on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Razors on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Scissors on a Plane?
- Can You Bring Candles on a Plane?