Does Deodorant Need to Be Travel Size? TSA Dos and Don'ts

By Laurie Fanelli in Natural Products

While checking off items from your packing list, have you ever stood over your bags, scratched your head, and wondered what can actually go into your carry-on? For example, can you take a bar of soap on a plane? Does deodorant need to be travel size? Vacations are fun, but air travel can be stressful—especially when determining which of your favorite products can come along in your toiletry bag. With a little bit of prep, you can keep calm and carry on what you need by sticking to the approved sizes and forms.

A mother and daughter sitting on a bed with a suitcase, packing

TSA Rules and Restrictions: A Brief History

Since September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented a number of rules and restrictions to enhance the safety and security of passenger flights. However, its 3-1-1 rule—which limited the amount of liquids, gels, aerosols, and pastes that can be brought in your carry-on bag —wasn't instated until five years later. According to National Public Radio, in 2006, the U.K. government announced that they had discovered a terror plot that involved bringing liquid explosives onto an aircraft in carry-on bags. The 3-1-1 rule was designed in response to this event to prevent large amounts of unknown liquids and semi-liquids to be brought on planes.

Breaking Down the 3-1-1 Rule

So, how do you know that you're following the 3-1-1 rule? The TSA states that liquids, gels, creams, aerosols, and pastes may be carried in your carry-on bag if they're stored in containers that are 3.4 oz or less. This measurement accounts for the number three in the 3-1-1 rule. All your containers must then be placed in a one-quart plastic bag, and only one bag is allowed per passenger.

Exceptions exist for liquid medications and infant and child nourishment, so be sure to chat with an airline representative in advance of your travel plans if you need to take either of these with you onboard. Some common personal care items that need to follow the 3-1-1 rule include the following:

  • body wash
  • bug repellent
  • sunscreen
  • contact lens solution
  • toothpaste
  • hand sanitizer
  • liquid and cream cosmetics
  • liquid and semi-liquid deodorants, such as roll-on, spray, and gel varieties

As long as these products are in containers that are 3.4 oz or less, simply place them in a quart-sized plastic bag, and you should have the green light to carry them aboard. Most liquids are okay as long as you follow the 3-1-1 rule. If in doubt, you can pack any products in question into a checked bag to be picked up upon landing.

Solid toiletry items—such as a bar soap, solid deodorant, chapstick, and baby and sanitizing wipes—don't have quantity requirements, so you're all set to carry those with you on the plane as is. For more information, the TSA has a handy-dandy list of everything that's allowed in carry-on (and checked) bags at

Reusable water bottles are great for reducing waste while traveling.

How to Reduce Waste When Traveling

So, does deodorant need to be travel size? If it's a solid, no. If it's an aerosol or liquid, yes. Can you take a bar of soap on a plane? Absolutely. Now you're ready for a safe and stress-free holiday. But there are some other actions you can take to help make your vacation as good as can be.

Instead of purchasing disposable, travel-sized options for your upcoming trip, consider picking up empty reusable containers that are 3.4 oz or smaller. These can be found in many big box stores as well as in most camping or outdoor activity retailers. Not only will this benefit the environment by helping to reduce waste, but you can also fill them with your favorite products from home, such as Tom's of Maine Sea Salt Mouthwash.

Reusable water bottles are also a great way to reduce plastic waste at the airport. The TSA allows passengers to bring empty bottles through the checkpoint. After you get through screening, find a filling station or water fountain to fill up your bottle.

Other ways to reduce waste when traveling are to go paperless as much as possible (think boarding passes and receipts), carry reusable shopping bags for all your fun souvenirs, and say no to plastic straws. If you do need to use a straw, add a reusable straw to your packing list! These come in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes, and some models even include their own case and cleaning brush.

Looking for more ways to give back? Make your trip more meaningful and connect with the local community by enjoying voluntourism between sightseeing stops. You can also share your favorite ways to reduce waste and engage in green-minded travel on Instagram by tagging @Toms_of_Maine.

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The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

Knowing how to pack before heading to the airport reduces stress and leaves you flying high. Educating yourself on the current TSA guidelines before arriving at the airport will help you ensure that you won't have to leave your favorite products behind.