Can You Bring Isopropyl Alcohol on a Plane

Is Rubbing Alcohol Allowed on Flights? A Handy Guide to Traveling with Isopropyl Alcohol

Hey there, fellow travelers! Today, we’re diving into the world of rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, and whether you can bring this versatile liquid on your flight. Whether you’re looking to sanitize your tray table or disinfect your phone while jet-setting, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this journey and uncover the rules and regulations surrounding rubbing alcohol in your carry-on or checked luggage.

TSA and Rubbing Alcohol: A Closer Look

First things first, let’s talk TSA, the gatekeepers of airport security. Unfortunately, their website doesn’t explicitly mention rubbing alcohol, which left me wondering about their stance on this useful liquid.

So, I took a little detour and scoured Twitter for answers, specifically checking out the @AskTSA service. And there it was, a question by Reece that caught my eye:

Can You Take Rubbing Alcohol In Hand Luggage?

The good news is, yes, you can bring rubbing alcohol in your carry-on luggage. However, there are a few rules to follow. Since it’s a liquid, it must be in containers smaller than 3.4 oz or 100 ml. Plus, you’ll need to stash it in your quart-sized toiletries bag, alongside your other liquids. Just a friendly reminder, rubbing alcohol isn’t for sipping – it’s not safe to drink!

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So, feel free to pack some isopropyl alcohol in your hand luggage in a travel-sized bottle and keep things sanitized on the go.

What About Checked Luggage?

Now, let’s talk about your checked baggage. Here, the rules get a bit more specific. If you plan to pack rubbing alcohol in your checked bag, the TSA allows you to carry only an 18 oz bottle of it.

Why the size limit, you ask? Well, rubbing alcohol is flammable, and the FAA prefers to avoid large quantities of flammable liquids hanging out in the cargo hold. Remember, these ‘rules’ are more like guidelines, and the final say rests with the TSA security agent at the checkpoint. It’s also possible that a vigilant baggage handler might remove your alcohol if they spot anything unusual.

International Variations

If you’re traveling internationally, hold onto your hat, because rules can vary by country and airline. It’s always a good idea to check the regulations of the country you’re flying to and the airline you’re flying with. Some might be stricter, while others could be more lenient.

Practical Tips for Packing Isopropyl Alcohol

Assuming you’ve navigated the regulatory maze and determined that you can, indeed, bring isopropyl alcohol on your flight, how do you go about packing it? Here are some tips to keep your journey smooth and your liquids secure.

Bottle Size and Packaging

Remember the 3.4-ounce rule for carry-ons. For checked luggage, larger quantities might be allowed, but there’s often a cap – usually around 16 ounces (500 milliliters). And let’s not forget leak-proof packaging. Nobody wants their clothes smelling like a hospital hallway.


Be clear and upfront. If your isopropyl alcohol bottle looks suspiciously like your water bottle, you’re going to have a bad time at security. Proper labeling can save you a lot of headaches.

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Alternatives to Carrying Isopropyl Alcohol

If all this talk of regulations has you sweating more than a marathon runner in a desert, fear not! There are alternatives.

Pre-Moistened Wipes

Pre-moistened disinfectant wipes are a great alternative. They’re usually not subject to the same strict liquid regulations and can be just as effective in keeping those pesky germs at bay.

Buying It at Your Destination

Consider purchasing isopropyl alcohol once you arrive at your destination. This way, you can sidestep the whole issue and still keep your hygiene game strong.

The Final Boarding Call for Isopropyl Alcohol

Before we wrap up our high-flying journey, let’s address a few common questions that travelers often have regarding isopropyl alcohol on planes.

Can I Bring Multiple Bottles?

The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule generally limits you to small containers of liquids. If you need to carry multiple bottles, make sure they all fit within the quart-sized bag and meet the size criteria. Additionally, be prepared to declare them during the security screening to avoid any complications.

Is Homemade Hand Sanitizer Allowed?

In recent times, many people have taken to making their hand sanitizers using isopropyl alcohol. Can you bring this homemade concoction on a plane? As long as it’s in a container of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and fits in your quart-sized bag, it should be acceptable. However, be ready to explain its contents if questioned.

International Travel Considerations

When traveling internationally, it’s essential to check the regulations of the country you’re visiting. Some nations may have stricter rules regarding the transportation of liquids, even if the TSA permits it. Research the specific guidelines of your destination to avoid any surprises upon arrival.

Travel Tips for Isopropyl Alcohol

Now that you know you can bring isopropyl alcohol on a plane, here are some additional tips to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience:

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1. Label Your Containers

To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings with airport security, make sure your isopropyl alcohol container is clearly labeled. Use a permanent marker to write “Isopropyl Alcohol 70%” or the specific concentration on the bottle.

2. Secure Lids and Caps

Before packing your isopropyl alcohol in your carry-on or checked luggage, double-check that the lid or cap is tightly sealed. You don’t want any accidental leaks causing a mess in your bags.

3. Check Airline Regulations

While TSA sets the standard guidelines for bringing liquids on board, different airlines may have their own rules or restrictions. It’s a good idea to visit the airline’s website or contact their customer service to verify any additional requirements.

The Final Verdict

So, here’s the bottom line: You can bring rubbing alcohol in both your carry-on and checked luggage, but there are size restrictions for checked bags. While it’s handy for cleaning and sanitizing, there might be better options for you.

Consider packing disinfectant wipes. They aren’t considered liquids, so you don’t need to squeeze them into your toiletries bag. Plus, they offer a more convenient way to scrub away dirt and germs. When it comes to viruses, the golden rule remains washing your hands with soap and water. But if that’s not an option, hand sanitizer can step in.

Now, if you find pure rubbing alcohol a bit harsh on your skin, you can always dilute it with some aloe vera gel. Mix two parts rubbing alcohol with one part aloe vera gel, and voila! You’ve got yourself a homemade hand sanitizer that’s about 60% alcohol – the magic number for effective disinfection.

So, the next time you’re prepping for a flight and wondering about rubbing alcohol, remember these tips to keep your travels clean and safe. Happy flying!