Last Updated on October 21, 2021
Laundry detergents come in different forms.
There’s laundry detergent power, laundry pellets, laundry pods.
I’m a huge believer in doing laundry on the road. It means you can travel lighter because you’ll need fewer clothes.
But can you pack laundry detergent in carry-on bags or checked bags?
Let’s take a look.
TSA Rules About Laundry Detergent & Tide Pods
The Transportation Security Administration runs the security checkpoint at the airport. And TSA officers decide what can and can’t be brought on to planes in the United States.
Here is what they say about flying with solid laundry detergent:
You can pack solid laundry detergent such a powder or pellets in your carry-on bag and checked bag.
There is a rule about bringing powders. If you bring more than 12 oz of powder laundry detergent you’ll need to remove it from your bag and place it in a separate bin when going through the security checkpoint.
The TSA officer also needs to be able to open your container to inspect the powder.
Laundry pellets are a better choice. You don’t need to remove them from your bag for additional screening.
Bringing Liquid Detergent On The Plane
The TSA treats liquid laundry detergent differently from solid detergent.
You can pack liquid detergent in checked bags without restriction.
But for carry-on bags laundry detergent must be in containers less than or equal to 3.4 oz.
You also need to pack laundry detergent in your quart-size bag. Move over shampoo and shower gel!
What about laundry pods like tide pods?
Well, Jack asked the TSA this question on Twitter to get clarification:
The TSA considers tide pods or other laundry pods to be a liquid. A single tide pod has less than 1 oz of liquid so it is under the limit.
But if you are taking liquid or gel laundry pods in hand luggage you must pack them in your quart-size bag alongside your other toiletries.
That might be fine if you only need one or two washes. If you are going for a longer trip then consider solid pellets as an alternative.
Still Unsure? Ask The TSA
You can ping the TSA a message on Twitter and ask them about bringing any item on a plane.
Lauren asked the TSA about packing laundry detergent pods in her carry-on bag:
This passenger asked about bringing laundry dryer sheets:
And the TSA gave the green light for packing them in hand luggage.
This passenger packed a dryer sheet, some powder detergent, and some fabric softener in a ziplock bag.
That’s fine for checked luggage but it wouldn’t be permitted in checked luggage.
You can also pack laundry scent beads in both carry-on and checked bags:
Doing laundry while traveling is a great idea. At the very least, it means if your suitcase is searched on the way home you won’t need to “air your dirty laundry in public”.
Where you can pack laundry detergent depends on what form it is.
Solid pellets can be packed anywhere. This is the best choice if you are going for a long trip and want to take a lot of detergent with you.
Detergent powder is fine in checked baggage, but for hand luggage, it could cause delays at the security checkpoint if you pack more than 12 oz.
Liquid detergent can be packed in checked bags but remember your airline might have weight limits for checked baggage.
Liquid detergent can be packed in hand luggage in containers less than 3.4 ounces. This includes liquid laundry pods, but they’ve got to go in your clear plastic toiletries bag.
Also, remember they probably sell laundry detergent where you are going so don’t go crazy!
Also, a portable clothes steamer is a good idea if you just want to be able to freshen clothes up to wear them a second time.