Can You Bring Cleaning Products On A Plane?

Planes are only tidied and spot cleaned between flights. The lavatory might get a more thorough cleaning but there simply isn’t time to clean everywhere.

Overnight there is a more complete cleaning of the aircraft including hard surfaces like armrests and tray tables.

Also, airlines usually do a deep clean every 4 to 6 weeks that includes scrubbing down the walls and ceilings.

What is means is that it’s likely that your plane seat and the surrounding area hasn’t been cleaned since the last passenger was sitting in your seat. It probably hasn’t been cleaned all day.

That’s why you might want to bring cleaning products on a plane so you can disinfect your own seat area to help protect yourself against viruses such as cold, flu and coronavirus.

This post is all about what cleaning products and supplies you can bring on a plane in your hand luggage.

Be sure to read until the end to discover the best cleaning product to bring on a plane for killing germs.

TSA Rules For Cleaning Products And Supplies

It’s actually not very easy to see on the TSA website if cleaning products are allowed on planes. That’s because cleaning products is too broad a category. There are many different types of cleaning product and not all are treated the same by the transportation security administration.

To find out if a specific cleaning product is permitted through airport security you need to look more closely at the rules.

For a start, many household cleaners are liquids and you will remember that liquids are restricted by the 3-1-1 rule.

So the 1st rule that applies to cleaning products is the liquids rule. You can’t bring any liquids over 3.4 oz in your carry-on luggage.

Furthermore, not all liquids are equal. There is a reason though that you don’t find travel size bottles of bleach on the store. Not every liquid that is in a 3.4 oz bottle is permitted on to planes.

Bleach, for example, isn’t allowed in carry-on or checked baggage regardless of container size. Here’s the rule on the TSA website:

Fidele got the same answer from the TSA on twitter:

Bleach alone isn’t flammable but if mixed with other chemicals it can become explosive and highly dangerous on a plane.

Which brings us to the second rule that impacts cleaning products.

Flammable Cleaning Products Are Banned From Planes

You can’t bring any cleaning product that is flammable into the cabin.

You can usually find out if a cleaning product is flammable by reading the label on the back.

Usually, all aerosols are flammable so aerosol cleaning products are not allowed on planes.

So the question is can you bring a non-aerosol, non-flammable cleaning product on to a plane?

Lots of pump-triggered disinfecting sprays are non-flammable.

We asked the TSA on Twitter:

So you CAN bring non-flammable cleaning liquids on to planes if they are in small travel size bottles. You might need to decant them into small 3.4 oz containers and you will need to pack them in your quart size toiletries bag.

You can also bring non-flammable cleaners like liquid soaps too.

The Best Cleaning Product To Bring On A Plane

Okay, as promised, here is the best cleaning product to bring on a plane.

Disinfecting wipes!

The reason why might be unexpected.

Despite wipes being wet they are not treated as a liquid so all the rules above don’t apply.

You can bring as many wet wipes on a plane as you can fit in your carry on bag.

This means that disinfecting wipes like Clorex are easily the best cleaning product to bring with you to clean your seat area.

The Bottom Line

Flammable cleaning products are banned.

The only flammable products that are allowed on planes are either toiletries or medical supplies.

That’s why hand cleaning products like hand sanitizer or medical disinfecting products such as rubbing alcohol are permitted. They can potentially be used as a cleaning product but they are designed to be used on human skin.

Now there is nothing to stop you using that rubbing alcohol to wipe down your tray table once you are on the plane. But a flammable cleaning product that is sold and marketed for cleaning toilets or kitchen surfaces won’t make it past the security checkpoint.

Non-flammable liquid cleaning products are permitted in carry-on luggage if they are in bottles under 3.4 oz or 100 ml. The potential issue with non-flammable products is that they might not be strong enough to kill the germs.

Check the product you are considering packing carefully.

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How To Weigh Luggage Without A Scale

The fees for overweight luggage can be quite shockingly expensive, so it’s important that you weigh your bags prior to leaving home.

The most common limit for checked luggage is 50 lbs but Spirit and Allegiant have a 40 lb limit. Carry on luggage can also sometimes have weight restrictions particularly with budget airlines or international airlines.

But what do you do if you don’t have a luggage scale handy? How do you estimate the weight? What does 50 pounds feel like?

How to tell if your luggage is over 50 pounds without a scale?

Don’t worry, this post has some great tips on how to weigh luggage without a scale for you!

Firstly, Dude… Why Don’t You Have A Luggage Scale?

You might not have realized but a luggage scale doesn’t need to be large and bulky like a bathroom scale.

You can pick a small portable luggage scales without spending a lot of money. You just hook it on to the suitcase handle, then you lift the whole thing up holding only the luggage scale. They give you an accurate reading all for the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

You could roughly buy 10 handheld scales for the price of 1 American Airlines overweight luggage fee.

They don’t take up much room in your suitcase, so the best practice is to get one and then keep it with the case at all times. Then you won’t have this problem next time!

Sometimes our case is light enough when we leave home and we’ve checked it on the bathroom scales but then we buy some souvenirs or gifts to take home and we start to worry if our baggage is overweight.

You can most likely buy a luggage scale at the airport but then that leaves you with the problem of what to do with any excess baggage if you are overweight. Hint, put things in your jacket pockets and your purse or personal item!

The bottom line is that handheld luggage scales are a sensible investment and can save you a lot of hassle and guesswork. This one is a good example from Amazon if you’ve been living under a rock and never heard of such a thing:

But you didn’t come here for a lecture so let’s get on with the tips.

Weighing Luggage Without A Scale

People often ask…. “how heavy is a 50 lb suitcase?”.

Well… it’s 50 lbs of course.

But I understand the intent of the question. Passengers want to know what 50 lbs feels like compared to something they are familiar with.

It’s a hard one to explain in words because we actually rarely pick up things that weigh 50 lbs.

If you have a 7-year-old boy around statistically he weighs around 50 lbs.

Or maybe you regularly carry 6 gallon size jugs of milk home when you walk back from the shops…

A 50 lb suitcase feels quite heavy to lift, in fact, it feels exactly liking picking up 6 gallons.

That’s why your suitcase has wheels and why we are always encouraging readers to travel light and consider flying carry on only.

How To Weigh A Bag With A Bathroom Scale

If you are away from home sometimes hotels will have a luggage scale at reception, it can’t hurt or they might even have a bathroom scale somewhere.

If you do have access to a bathroom scale the best way to weigh your luggage is to first weigh yourself and write down your weight.

Then weigh yourself holding the suitcase.

Subtract your weight from the weight of you and the suitcase and you’ll have the weight of the bag.

Bathroom scales work best this way and you won’t need to try to balance a large checked bag on a tiny scale that’s made for 2 feet.

The Way To Estimate Luggage Weight

Let’s be honest. Without a scale, it’s going to be guesswork. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make some good judgment calls with a little bit of thought and effort.

Here is the secret to making a ‘good enough’ estimate with basic tools.

Rather than trying to compare your entire filled suitcase with a weight you are familiar with it’s better to split your belongings into portions.

Your checked luggage when empty will weigh around 8 to 10 lbs. So just count your empty checked luggage as 10 lbs to be on the safe side, or google the brand to find out the real weight.

It will help if you have 2 plastic bags.

Fill the first bag with household items until the plastic bag weighs 10 lbs. Remember there are 16 ounces in 1 lb. Search your cupboard and throw anything you can find with weight printed in the package. Don’t worry about the weight of packaging it’s usually negligible.

Then fill the second plastic bag with your clothes or the other belongings that you want to pack in your suitcase.

Stop when the clothes bag weighs the same at the 10 lb bag.

If you stand with the 1 bag in each hand you should easily be able to tell which one is heavier. Add clothes items gradually. Stop when you are not sure. You need to be able to confidently say that the 10 lb bag with household goods is heavier.

You can then do that 4 times. You are probably weighing out 9 lbs worth of clothes per bag since you are erring on the side of caution.

This will mean that you don’t get too close to the 50 lb limit.

10 lbs suitcase and four 9 lbs bags of clothes and items will come to 46 lbs.

If you are in a hotel room it’s going to be harder. If you have a kettle 1 liter = 1 kg = 2.2 lbs but don’t fill a plastic bag with 4 or 5 liters of water. It’s probably best to try to find a large bottle of water or soda in the store. Then compare the weight of your bag of clothes in 1 hand to the large bottle in the other.

You don’t need to do it in 10 lb increments. You can do it 5 lbs at a time.

Some people recommend constructing a fulcrum using a pivot point and a piece of wood. I much prefer just using 2 plastic bags and weighing them in either hand.

A fulcrum system – too damn complicated.

If all this sounds too difficult, hey it’s you that got yourself into this mess!

Anyway here are some places that you might be able to find a scale before you head to the airport.

Where Can I Weigh My Luggage Before Going To The Airport?

One best place to consider your luggage for free is in the post office.

But to be honest the post office staff might not be too pleased if you turn up wanting to use their equipment for free.

It will depend, who you meet and how busy they are.

Your checked bag is a large item and smaller post offices might not have scales large enough to handle it.

On the other hand, if you do find that your suitcase is overweight then the post office is the right place to be. You can ship some of your things back home to reduce the weight in your case.

The airport itself is probably the best place for weighing your luggage.

The problem with this is what to do with excess baggage.

The answer is usually to use your carry on allowance or your personal item allowance.

To do this you’ll need a 2nd bag. So if you have a carry on size holdall or duffel bag around then grab than and head to the airport, weigh your case at check-in and if it’s over weight move some of your items into the carry on bag.

Take the carry on with you on the plane and store it in the overhead bin!

The Verdict

You should have bought a portable hanging luggage scale and you wouldn’t be in this mess! Make sure you do it at the next available opportunity!

The 50 lb weight limit is quite generous. You are unlikely to hit it if you just have clothes in your suitcase, not unless you have compressed them excessively.

It’s only when you start adding heavier items like laptops, souvenirs, gifts or liquor that you need to start worrying about limits.

It’s always sensible to bring a large personal item bag. This can be a folding daypack that packs away to almost next to nothing. Even a plastic bag can be carried on to the plane with you and put under the seat. An emergency bag is great to have if you find your luggage weighs more than the limit.

You can’t accurately measure luggage without a scale unless you effectively build a DIY scale. I think that if you measure your clothes in 10 lb bundles using the plastic bag method you’ll be able to estimate accurately enough to achieve peace of mind.

And if you want to take a suitcase that is 49.9 lbs then get a scale!

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Can You Bring Scissors On A Plane? The TSA Rules Explained

Scissors are sharp and pointy and they could potentially be used as a weapon.

So it’s sensible to ask yourself… can you bring scissors on a plane in your carry on or checked baggage?

This post is all about flying with scissors. Read on to find out if scissors are allowed on planes.

TSA Scissors Rules

Here is a screengrab from the TSA website:

It seems pretty straightforward…

Scissors In Checked Luggage

You can pack any scissors you want in checked luggage, just make sure that they are wrapped up well and no baggage handlers will injure themselves if they are inspecting your suitcase.

As an example here is a passenger asking about taking veterinarian scissors in checked bags on Twitter.

The TSA answer is quite clear that all types of scissors should be allowed in hold luggage.

It’s scissors in hand luggage that is a little more complicated.

Scissors In Carry-On Luggage

Scissors in hand luggage cannot have blades that are longer than 4 inches. You can take scissors in your carry on if the blades are smaller than 4 inches as measured from the pivot point.

TSA Approved Carry On Scissors

So it’s all about blade length.

This means that Christina was able to take her small thread cutting scissors:

Christine was allowed to take her cuticle trimmers and brow tweezers:

Bernie discovered that multitools with scissors are only allowed if the multitool has no blade:

Bran would have been happy to discover he could take his medical scissors:

These child safety scissors were given the green light:

Mellisa wanted to know if haircutting scissors were ok to take in her carry on:

Hmm… those hair cutting scissors seem quite big. Better get the measuring tape out Melissa!

The Verdict

You get the idea.

There are no officially TSA approved scissors. It’s all about blade length.

Small scissors are fine to take in your hand luggage, scissors with long blades are not.

If you turn up at the security checkpoint and your scissors are too big they will be confiscated by the TSA officer.

Sometimes you just need to measure your scissors before you fly and see if they are going to be allowed past security.

That’s all there is to it! Have a safe flight!

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Is Chapstick, Lipstick, Lip Balm or Lip Gloss Considered A Liquid When Flying By The TSA?

The TSA guidelines about what is considered a liquid can be confusing sometimes.

Here’s their general principle:

Any item that you can pour, pump, squeeze, spread, smear, spray or spill must follow our liquids rule in carry-on bags.

Transportation Security Administration

But is chapstick considered a liquid? After all, you smear it on your lips. Is lipstick considered a liquid? Again it’s a product that smears and spreads.

This post lets you know if you can take chapstick, lipstick, lip balm, and lip gloss on to planes. And if you need to pack it in your toiletries bag or you can just throw it in your carry on.

TSA Chapstick Rules

Let’s start with chapstick.

The good news is that chapstick is not considered a liquid. It smears but the TSA counts chapstick as a solid, not a liquid.

This means that you can pack chapsticks in your carry on bags or your checked bags. There are no restrictions on chapsticks.

TSA Lipstick Rules

The same goes for lipstick.

The TSA don’t consider lipstick to be a liquid. Even although lipstick smears and you spread it on your lips they count lipstick as a solid.

So you don’t need to pack lipsticks or chapsticks in your clear plastic toiletries bag. You can pack them in a make up bag, keep them in your purse or anywhere you like really.

You can bring lipsticks in both hand luggage and hold luggage.

TSA Lip Gloss Rules

Most lip gloss products are applied with a brush.

The TSA doesn’t mention lip gloss on their website but I wanted to find the answer.

Sometimes when the answer isn’t available on the TSA website you can find out on Twitter.

Here was Liu asking about her lip gloss and liquid foundation:

And another Twitter user received this answer:

So lip gloss is considered a liquid by the TSA and you should be packing it inside your toiletries bag.

You can’t bring containers that are larger than 3.4 oz.

TSA Lip Balm Rules

You can probably figure this out yourself now although the @AskTSA service on Twitter seems somewhat confused about lip balm.

You can find them telling Kevin that lip balm is considered a liquid:

And also you can find them saying that lip balm is considered a solid:

The truth is it depends on what type of lip balm you are talking about.

Solid stick lip balms will not be considered a liquid. But little lip balm jars that are more like vaseline or petroleum jelly are considered liquids and need to go in your clear liquids bag.

The Verdict

You can take chapstick and lipstick in your carry on and they don’t need to go in your quart-size liquids bag.

Lip gloss does need to go in the toiletries bag.

And lip balm, well it depends on what type of lip balm.

As always, the final decision about what is considered a liquid is taken by the TSA officer at the security checkpoint.

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Can You Bring Bug Spray On A Plane? TSA Rules For Insect Mosquito Repellant & Aerosol Bug Killer

Many a vacation has been ruined by insect bites so insect repellent is always something you should always ask if you need when traveling.

Also, aerosol bug killer can transform a hotel room into somewhere you can actually sleep if there is a mosquito buzzing around. So it’s also a handy product to have when you are traveling.

The question is… can you bring bug spray on a plane? What types of bug spray are allowed? Where you can pack it? And how much you can bring?

This post has all the info you need.

TSA Bug Spray Rules For Repellents

We need to be clear about what type of bug spray we are talking about.

Firstly let’s look inspect repellents. Here is what the TSA has to say:

Bug Repellent In Hand Luggage

So you can pack travel size mosquito repellent or insect repellent in your carry on hand luggage. The bottles must be 3.4 oz or less (100 ml). You should make sure the spray has a cap so it can’t be accidently sprayed.

Since bug spray is a liquid it needs to be packing in your quart-size bag also with your other toiletries. Repel, Off, and Ranger Ready all make travel-sized bug repellent sprays.

You could also save some money by pouring some spray from a larger bottle into an empty travel size bottle.

Most travel size bug repellents are not aerosols, they liquid pump sprays. Sometimes you do get aerosol repellent sprays. These are permitted in hand luggage but again only if they are smaller than 3.4 oz.

A better alternative to liquid bug spray repellent might be bug repellent wipes. Despite being wet wipes are not treated as a liquid so you can pack as many as you like and they don’t need to go in your quart-size toiletries bag.

The TSA officer at the security checkpoint always has the final say about what is allowed on the plane.

Bug Repellent In Checked Luggage

You can pack bug spray in your checked luggage. The repellent type like Repel or Deet. If the bug spray is a hazardous material the maximum size container is 18 oz and you can’t have more than 70 oz in total.

Bug repellent that you spray on your skin or clothes is considered a toiletry. Check the FAA rules for hazmat products.

Most insect repellents in non-aerosol liquid pump sprays and other forms (liquids, lotions, wipes, etc.) are not restricted as hazardous materials – and therefore not subject to size or quantity limits. Some liquid repellents, including some containing Picaridin, are flammable liquids–these are still allowed but must stay within the size and quantity limits mentioned above.

So most liquid-repellent sprays are fine. Aerosol repellent sprays can sometimes be flammable and have restrictions.

Importantly, bug spray that you spray into the air to kill flying insects is not considered a toiletry and has different rules.

TSA Bug Spray Rules For Aerosol Insecticides

If your enquiring about bug spray that you spray in the air to kill bugs like Raid then it’s a different scenario.

Can You Take Aerosol Insecticide In Carry On Luggage?

Aerosol insecticides are not considered to be toiletries. All aerosols that are not medical or toiletries are banned in hand luggage. So you can’t take aerosol insecticide like Raid on a plane even if it’s a travel-sized spray.

Can You Take Insecticide In Checked Luggage?

Aerosol products are usually banned if they are not considered to be medical products or toiletries.

Aerosol insecticide is not a toiletry and it’s often flammable. If your aerosol bug spray is flammable then it’s probably not being to be allowed in your checked bags as Katie discovered:

You can take liquid insecticide in your checked bags so long as it is not a hazmat material.

For example, Francis was given the go-ahead for this gallon container of liquid insecticide:

Sometimes people ask if bug spray will explode on a plane. If you think it’s going to explode you might be thinking about insecticide bug spray and you probably can’t bring it on a plane anyway! And no it wouldn’t explode!

The Verdict

You can take bug spray repellent is small quantities (3.4 oz) in your hand luggage.

You can take repellant in your checked luggage, if it’s marked as flammable it’s only cans that are under 18 oz.

You probably can’t take bug killer spray that you spray in the air either in checked or hand luggage so if you want to kill that mosquito in your hotel room you’ll need to buy some insect killer at your destination.

Bug repellent wipes are probably the most sensible option if you are traveling on an airplane.

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