Alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitizers are allowed on planes, both in hand and checked baggage. But because hand sanitizer is liquid and potentially flammable, extra rules apply.
In hand luggage (carry-on or personal item), hand sanitizers must be in containers below 3.4 oz (100 ml). You also have to pack them in your quart-sized bag of liquid toiletries. TSA used to allow hand sanitizers up to 12 fl oz (355 ml) per passenger during the pandemic. But they stopped the hand sanitizer exemption in 2023, and now only regular quantities are allowed.
In checked bags, you can pack hand sanitizers in bottles up to 17 fl oz (500 ml). This rule is enforced by the FAA because hand sanitizer is treated as a hazardous toiletry item due to the fact that it’s potentially flammable. Each passenger can bring up to 68 fl oz (2 kg) of hazardous toiletries in their checked bags.
It’s also worth noting that the same rules apply to all types of hand sanitizers. This includes liquid, gel, cream, and aerosol hand sanitizers.
These rules also apply to rubbing alcohol, but you should remember to check the alcohol content. Hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol with over 70% alcohol are prohibited both in hand and checked baggage. Only sanitizers with a content of 70% or lower are allowed.
Rules for Bringing Hand Sanitizers on International Flights
The rules stated above are only valid for domestic flights in the US. But if you’ll be flying internationally, other rules may apply.
Australian and New Zealand flight authorities allow bringing liquids in larger quantities in hand baggage on domestic flights. This means that in hand and checked baggage, hand sanitizers up to 17 fl oz (500 ml) are allowed.
Chinese flight authorities have banned all types of hand sanitizers from hand baggage. Only hand sanitizers in bottles below 17 fl oz (500 ml) and alcohol content below 70% are allowed in checked bags.
On Indian flights, you can bring hand sanitizers in up to 12 fl oz (350 ml) bottles in hand luggage and 17 fl oz (500 ml) in checked baggage. But this exemption may end soon, and only sanitizers below 3.4 oz (100 ml) may be allowed.
Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Wipes Aren’t Regulated
For traveling, bringing a pack of disinfecting wipes might make more sense. You can clean your seat and table with them and also use them to clean your hands before the in-flight meal. You won’t run through them too fast because nowadays, free hand sanitizer is available almost everywhere.
The best part is that disinfecting wipes don’t have any packing restrictions, even though they contain a bit of liquid inside. They’re allowed in hand and checked baggage without any extra rules. You also don’t have to pack them in your bag of toiletries.
Don’t Forget to Bring Face Masks
Cleaning your hands is important. But sitting in a packed airplane next to strangers increases the chances of you getting sick. And if you don’t want to spend your vacation in bed, you should also bring (and use) face masks. The airport security even allows you to wear them while going through the security checkpoints.
Summing Up – Traveling With Hand Sanitizers
Even though the pandemic has now returned back to normal levels (at least at the time of writing this article), it’s still important to avoid spreading and absorbing germs. You can do that by bringing a small 3.4 oz (100 ml) bottle of hand sanitizer and using it every once in a while. Only make sure that it’s below 70% alcohol content and pack it inside your bag of toiletries when going through the security checkpoint.