Can You Take Toothpaste In Your Hand Luggage? Why Can't You?

Can You Take Toothpaste In Your Hand Luggage?

Yes, but with conditions and only in limited quantities. 

Read more to find out!

Why Can't You Bring Toothpaste On A Plane?

Toothpaste - such a harmless thing, why do airlines regulate how you can carry them?

The reason behind this is an incident where terrorists concealed chemicals in seemingly harmless items such as toothpaste.

From then, airlines introduced liquid restrictions on how many and how much liquid you can bring with you on a flight. This luggage restriction makes it hard for terrorists to get enough chemicals to make explosives.

It also makes it easier for the airport security personnel to conduct a security check.

The risk and fear of terrorists using liquids to blow up planes have increased since 9/11. Also, liquids can pose a threat to airport staff and other travelers. 

How Much Toothpaste Can You Bring In Your Hand Luggage?

Airlines can have different rules and regulations.

For example, the largest number of ounces allowed per passenger could vary from airline to airline.

Most airlines and the Transportation Security Administration allow 3.4 ounces or around 100ml size limit per liquid product on carry-on baggage.

TSA considers toothpaste liquid, together with other creams, pastes, aerosols, and gels.

Generally, there are no limits on how much you can pack on your checked-in baggage.

You can also bring liquids through customs at the airport. Some countries allow travelers to bring specific amounts of liquids into their country without paying duty as long as they don't contain hazardous materials such as alcoholic beverages that are stronger than 140 proof or 70% ABV, aerosols, and flammable liquids.

For example, some airlines allow passengers to bring two liters of liquids (about four cups) into the United States. 

How To Pack Liquid Products For Carry-on/ Hand Luggage?

If you want to bring liquid products on board, you'll need to pack them in a container that's 100ml or less.

TSA has a 3-1-1 rule for packing liquids.

3 - 3 oz or 100ml per item limit on the amount of liquid

1 - one clear quart-sized plastic bag. All your 3 oz containers should fit into one clear quart-sized plastic bag. You can bring as many 3 oz containers you can fit in your quart-sized plastic bag.

1 - Each passenger can only bring one of the quart-sized plastic bags.


Only pack essential personal items you'll use on the plane, like travel-size alcohol bottles and toiletries.

Avoid miscellaneous items like shaving foam and shower gel, which you're not likely to use on the flight.

There are a lot of tiny, travel-sized toothpaste tubes available on the market. You can also buy reusable 100ml travel containers or even recycle the container of your used products. 

Taking Liquids Through Security

You can try to carry as many liquids as you can in your hand luggage, but it will be subject to the approval of the security personnel of the airline.

You can bring liquids up to 100ml per item into the US. The TSA needs to check anything over this amount. That means your liquids should be in a resealable plastic bag in case your security officer needs to open it for the additional screening process.

It's also good practice to separate your resealable plastic from your other items, especially your travel documents. Doing that will give you easy access to them and can help avoid the risk of leaking to your other belongings. 

What Are Considered Liquid?

Any substance that is free-flowing or viscous is a liquid according to TSA guidelines.

They listed aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes together with liquids on their 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

Toothpaste can is a paste or a gel, so it must follow the rule.

But what about essentials like liquid medication or baby food and milk? 

Can You Take Medication In Your Hand Luggage?

You should always carry essential medicines and topical skin creams with you when you travel.

Your doctor can give you a letter explaining why you need them, a prescription, or any medical documentation you have. Show this to airport security staff if they ask to open your liquid container.

You must pack medicines and medical equipment in checked baggage.

You may carry medications in your hand luggage if they are in their original containers and labeled.

You may carry items such as tablets or capsules on board. Liquid medicines must be screened.

Inhalers and hypodermic syringes are allowed on board. Medical equipment, including CPAT and TENS machines, are permitted on board. 

What About Baby Food Items And Baby Milk?

Traveling with a baby or infant can be very stressful as they need specific items, and there's unlikely baby food on board unless you order in advance. And baby foods are semi-liquid foods, so it's tricky.

It's a good thing TSA exempted baby food and milk in their liquid rule.

Still, you should check your airline rules before traveling with a baby or infant.

You can bring as much baby food, sterilized water, milk, and snacks as you need for the trip.

You can also bring breast milk in your hand baggage even if you aren't traveling with a baby, but not frozen milk.

Containers of breast milk must hold up to 2,000 ml, and each container will need screening at the security checkpoint. 


Ensure that you check your destination country and airlines' policies when you're packing for your flight.

Even something as simple as toothpaste can have limits and other additional restrictions.

You'll want to pack everything you may need into your carry-on bag in the amount you may need.

Anything in containers larger than 3 oz or 100 ml should go in your checked bag. 

About this Guide

Written By Sheena
Last Updated On March 19, 2022
Reading Time 
5 minutes
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