Last Updated on April 15, 2020
Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is a common household that is very versatile and has many uses.
While you might find it in the first-aid section of stores it’s also a great cleaning and disinfectant product.
While you can take hand sanitizer on a plane it’s not always easy to find it in the stores at the moment due to the coronavirus panic.
So you might be wondering if you can bring rubbing alcohol on a plane and use it as a sanitizing alternative to wipe down your tray table or clean and disinfect your phone.
This post covers the rules about flying with rubbing alcohol in your carry on luggage or checked luggage.
TSA Rubbing Alcohol Rules
The TSA doesn’t specifically mention rubbing alcohol on their website.
They have information about alcoholic beverages. You can take alcoholic beverages that are less than 70% alcoholic volume but extremely strong alcohol is banned in both carry on and checked luggage.
Rubbing alcohol comes in various strengths and some are above 70%. Also it needs to be stronger than 60% to be an effective disinfectant.
So I had to dig a little deeper to find out their policies regarding rubbing alcohol.
I checked Twitter to see if the @AskTSA service was fielding questions about isopropyl alcohol.
I discovered this question by Reece:
Can You Take Rubbing Alcohol In Hand Luggage?
Yes, you can take rubbing alcohol in your carry on luggage. It’s a liquid so it must be in containers smaller than 3.4 oz or 100 ml. You also need to put it on your quart size toiletries bag along with your other liquids.
The 70% alcohol rule only applies to alcoholic beverages and rubbing alcohol is NOT a beverage. It’s not safe to drink!
So you can bring strong isopropyl alcohol in your hand luggage in a small travel size bottle.
Can You Take Rubbing Alcohol In Checked Luggage?
When it comes to your checked luggage there are some more rules you need to know about.
You might want to pack some rubbing alcohol in your checked bag to use to clean your hotel room or something.
But the TSA states that you can only take an 18 oz bottle of rubbing alcohol.
This is because rubbing alcohol is flammable and the FAA doesn’t want large quantities of flammable liquids sitting inside checked bags in the hold.
Remember than these ‘rules’ are just a guideline. The final decision about whether you can take rubbing alcohol onto a plane will be taken by the TSA security agent at the security checkpoint.
It’s also possible that a baggage handler might remove alcohol from your checked bag if they see something they don’t like.
You can take rubbing alcohol in carry on luggage or checked luggage subject to size limits.
A better alternative might be to take disinfectant wipes. Although these are wet they actually don’t even count as a liquid so you don’t need to put them in your toiletries bag.
You’ll be able to clean better when you can scrub with a wipe. As for viruses, the best practice is to clean your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizer is not a bad substitute if washing your hands is difficult.
Pure rubbing alcohol might be a bit rough and drying on your hands so it’s a good idea to dilute it. Aloe Vera gel is a good product to use to dilute and is soothing for your hands. Mix 2 parts pure rubbing alcohol with 1 part aloe vera get to make a diy hand sanitizer if you can’t find any in the stores. The final product that you create needs to be about 60% alcohol to be an effective disinfectant.
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