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Powders in airport security

I've seen some posts about how having powdered substances in your carry-on will get you hassled at airport security. I've brought makeup powder and powdered laundry detergent on international flights before and nobody in security ever commented on it. Anyone have thoughts/experiences?

Posted by
3491 posts

I always carry laundry powder in a zipper top bag when I travel. Never had anyone notice.

Posted by
2560 posts

It depends. My wife got the complete shake down for pancake mix (don’t ask, it was part of a Xmas gift). But this was in DEN where it seems like they train a lot of new TSA agents and like to strut their stuff.

Posted by
4693 posts

aipease,

It’s interesting that you ask about powders, because I’ve also traveled with powdered detergent and it never has been an issue.
However, for whatever reason, my bars of Dove soap have undoubtedly been an issue when my carry-on bag goes through airport security, and one of the agents always has to search my bag.
I often wonder how these bars show up on the x-ray screen that makes them think it’s something suspicious.

Enjoy your trip! 🌼

Posted by
720 posts

Was bringing home some cheese from Vermont a few years ago and it was wrapped in brown paper and was about the size of a large bar of soap. The agent stopped me to examine my bag and told me that this size package looks a lot like a bomb.....so that was the reason he had to check out my cheese blocks.

Posted by
1277 posts

I was held up a couple of years ago for s pound of coffee. Several years ago, before September 11th, a co worker was up because of a powdered soap

Posted by
921 posts

I travel with powdered makeup up and detergent and never have been stopped about it. I also use baking soda to clean my contacts, and store it in a small Tupperware pill box size thing. I used to worry about this and so not take it. Then I started taking a small box of baking soda figuring in an unopened box it would be okay. The last few trips I have just brought it in it’s regular little container and it hasn’t been checked, either. So no, I’ve never been hassled for multiple powders in my carry-on.

Posted by
3374 posts

I've carried powdered Gatoraid in a zip lock bag as well as mineral make up powder for years in my carry-on both domestic and international flights without incident.

Posted by
6642 posts

aipease1, its not that powder itself is a problem, its that the containers or packages of powders can often look suspicious to the screeners because they can't tell what it is from the x-ray. I've often taken small baggies or boxes of detergent and always foot powder. The one time I was stopped for a closer look, the foot powder was in a larger container that could have looked like a bottle of shampoo or something worse. They just looked at it and put it back. I dont consider that a hassle and the screener wasn't abusive, just thorough.

Posted by
1893 posts

A few posts about powders especially at LHR also caught my eye because as I posted earlier this week a friend's checked bag got held back because he had some powdered mix that he uses for adding to water bottles for long runs -- the brand has the unfortunate name 'Tailwind' with nutritive boosting in mind, though it could be taken other ways :-P

Posted by
8631 posts

Ground coffee in a resealable plastic bag got my wife's bag extra scrutiny. The instant it was pulled out and the agent got a whiff of the aroma we were on our way. Now we keep it handy and not buried.

Certain kinds of food can look, on an xray screen, like some other nasty stuff. Now keep edibles separate and easyto access to smooth the screening process

Not had powdered detergent, yet, be a problem.

Posted by
119 posts

Wow! I did not know that contacts could be cleaned with baking soda! Too late for me now, though, I outlived the need for my contacts.

Posted by
125 posts

I've never had a problem with powdered makeup products, but I flew to Japan with powdered coffee creamer (part of a hostess gift for the friend I was staying with) in my carry on and was pulled over for extra inspection on my way through security at my home airport. The TSA agent started laughing as soon as she opened my bag and saw the creamer. It was still sealed in the original container, so she just did a quick swab for bomb residue and sent me on my way. Less than a 5 minute detour. I wouldn't hesitate to bring it again if I needed to, but this was a good reminder not to wrap gifts before you fly.

Posted by
3030 posts

My bag recently got selected for additional evaluation by the screener at the Lexington, KY airport for foot powder in its original container. Not a big deal -- they just wiped it down and checked it for bomb residue. I've carried it in my carry-on through security at international airports many times and never had it checked.

Posted by
996 posts

So I'm traveling soon and received an email today from my airline with the subject line - Before You Fly: TSA Changes

They listed three items that must now come out and be placed into a separate bin - electronics larger than a cell phone, food, and liquids/powders.

That last graphic in the email made it look like powders have to go into your 3-1-1 bag, but it didn't actually SAY that. It's just the way the drawing looked.

The email did not say if this applies to PreCheck as well as regular TSA lines.

Posted by
396 posts

I wonder how widely this powder rule is being applied. My doctor has recommended a daily supplement that comes in powder form; not a prescription item, just on the shelf in the pharmacy stuff. I'm not travelling into or out of the USA, but will be going through airports in Singapore, Istanbul, Georgia, Athens, France and the UK. I thought it wise to ask the doctor for a note, but he has tiny handwriting and I can only just decipher it. I usually travel with hand luggage only but was thinking of checking a small suitcase on a couple of legs of this journey. Would it be better to have this item (it comes in a 4 1/2 inch tall solid plastic cylinder) in my hand luggage or in checked baggage? If it's considered suspect in hand luggage, might it not also trigger some sort of alarm if buried in checked baggage, or is that never X-rayed?

Posted by
1277 posts

C gichard, i travel w a print out from the Drs office thst lists all my minerals and prescription, over-the-counter medicines, etc. This is what the Drs nurse is looking at on the computer while verifying what I currently take. On the back I even Xeroxed the other print out of blood pressure, weight, etc from that visit. The clinic, drs name etc also appear there. I had not a smidge of trouble in and out of Mexico (put the prescriptions in the little baggies from Walgreens, and they were willing to print extra of the adhesive labels for me. ) Short answer on yr powder, id say in a place near the top, easy to access if they want to see it.

Posted by
10 posts

You can buy laundry detergent sheets-dissolvable paper. I recommend pressed powder like MAC or Lancôme.

Posted by
32 posts

Update: I kept my baggie of powdered detergent in my carry on and nobody in security at o’hare or Gatwick said anything about it.

Posted by
184 posts

I got pulled aside at Gatwick because of my dry shampoo powder. I've flown with it so many times before with no problem. It just depends on who is looking at the scanner that day.

Posted by
233 posts

New rules for flights to the US reported in some overseas outlets -- http://www.aviation24.be/organisations/tsa-transportation-security-administration/new-restrictions-on-carrying-powder-on-board-for-flights-to-the-u-s-from-30th-june-2018/

From 30 June 2018, new TSA rules will restrict the transport of powders for all passengers traveling to the United States.

– Passengers will not be able to transport powder products larger than 350ml (12oz) in the cabin as part of hand luggage.

– Powder products larger than 350ml (12oz) will only be permitted as part of checked luggage.

I haven't yet seen this on the TSA website.

Posted by
1607 posts

Glad to see the powder rule is TO the US. By then my pre-packaged packets of powdered benefiber and laundry soap will be used. It will probably be just a matter of time before TSA extends the restriction both ways. 12 oz seems like a lot of powder. Maybe not if it’s cumulative.

Posted by
3491 posts

There is no ban on powders in your carry on, you just have to pull the package out like your liquids to allow for inspection.

Posted by
4535 posts

There is no ban on powders in your carry on, you just have to pull the
package out like your liquids to allow for inspection.

The new rules are somewhat confusing, but seem to ban powders over 12 ounces. TSA or foreign security retain the right to ban any powder they cannot identify, so there is a chance things could be prohibited on a case by case basis.

If there is something you do not want to risk losing, put it in your checked baggage.

Posted by
9363 posts

I've never had a problem with any powders I have carried, and I go to Europe annually.

Posted by
12895 posts

No problem since I don't bring any powders with me, so there is nothing to check. I don't bring laundry powder. For that purpose I use Tide concentrate, blue liquid in bags of three. Separate the bags and put them in different zip lock bags...always goes through without attracting additional attention.

Never had any problems, ie double check, opening up the carry-on, etc with TSA going over on a trans-Atlantic flight.