Hotels often provide soap to guests and owners of apartments like on AirBnb usually do too.
But packing your own soap will gives you a little extra peace of mind when you are traveling.
This post looks at whether you can take soap in your hand luggage or checked luggage.
TSA Bar of Soap Regulations
I knew already that there are no TSA restrictions for solids in hand luggage.
But just to be thorough we checked the rules on the TSA website about soap.
Since a bar of soap is a solid there are no restrictions on bringing solid soap through airport security.
Simply put, a bar of soap of any size is allowed in your carry on baggage or in your checked luggage.
A bar of soap does not need to be in your quart bag for toiletries.
So you can take a bar of soap on a plane…
But I did once read a story about a guy being stopped and questioned by the TSA because he had 10 bars of soap. It just seemed a little strange to that particular TSA officer.
The final decision about what is or isn’t allowed on a plane in hand luggage is taken by the TSA officer at the security checkpoint.
So should you pack solid or liquid soap?
Liquid Soaps, Shower Gels, Body Wash Etc
While TSA does limit liquid soaps in hand luggage a bar of soap is not considered to be a liquid by the TSA.
Any liquid soaps must be in bottles smaller than 3.4 oz and kept in your clear plastic quart-sized bag.
A quart-sized bag can only hold around a maximum of nine or ten 3 oz bottles. And you are only allowed 1 quart-sized bag per passenger.
So if you are struggling to take all the liquids you want to take in your hand luggage packing a bar of soap can be a handy trick. You won’t need liquid soap if you pack solid soap instead!
Also, travel-sized bottles of shower gel are expensive and they don’t last very long.
A solid bar of soap can be packed anywhere in your case.
You can actually pull off this trick a few times by flying with solid bars of shampoo and even solid toothpaste pills!
And a bar of laundry soap is a good idea too. If you take a bar of laundry soap and a universal sink plug you can easily do a little laundry in the sink in your hotel bathroom.
This means that you can pack fewer clothes and really lighten your load.
Packing a bar of soap can be an invaluable way to dramatically cut the weight from your hand luggage if you are prepared to do a little hand laundry. So a bar of laundry soap is the secret weapon of the light traveler.
How To Pack A Bar Of Soap In Hand Luggage
A brand new unopened bar of soap is easy to pack in hand luggage, just throw it in your luggage anywhere you want.
Once you’ve opened and used your soap bar at the other end it can be a little messy to pack it for the return journey.
If you’d heading back home and don’t mind about wastage you could just leave the soap behind in your hotel room.
But if you want to take your used bar of soap back home you need to think about how you are going to pack it in your suitcase.
The most basic option is just to put the bar of soap in a plastic zip-lock bag. This is not your quart-sized toiletries bag, just any plastic bag to stop the bar of soap from getting your clothes wet and soapy.
Another option would be a soap case. You can buy a travel soap case designed for this very purpose like this one:
If you are interested in a soap case then check out our review of the best travel soap cases. I recommend the Matador FlatPak Soap bag as the best of the bunch.
I love packing a bar of soap when I travel. It’s much better value than travel-sized shower gel and I like to do hotel room sink laundry when I travel too.
The bottom line is you can take a bar of soap on a plane in your hand luggage. There are no TSA restrictions that you need to worry about. Also, no international airport authority currently has any limitations on traveling with bars of soap.
A bar of soap is an essential packing item and is always near the top of my packing list for any trip I go on.