Everything you need to know about the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule

Feb 24, 2020

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When you head for the airport for your next trip — international or domestic — you’ll want to make sure everything is organized properly so that you don’t run into any hiccups getting through security. One of the most confusing restrictions is the “3-1-1” liquids rule promulgated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This guide will clear things right up.

With your bags packed perfectly, you’ll be on your way to those tours and restaurants you’ve booked.

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The 3-1-1 rule means that you can carry onto a plane liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that each hold only 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, and the products have to fit in a one-quart, resealable bag. These items probably include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion. As long as these small items can fit inside the bag, you can take them with you past security.

In short, the 3-1-1 rule is: Each liquid must be in a 3.4-ounce or less container (“3”), all containers must be placed inside one clear quart-sized plastic bag (“1”) and each passenger is only allowed one plastic bag (“1”).

If your liquid items are larger than 3.4 ounces each, you’ll have to leave them in your checked bag.

Related: How to easily check your passport application status


It’s worth noting, though, that there are some liquid foods you cannot bring with you, even if they contain less than 3.4 ounces. This includes creamy cheeses, liquid chocolate, liquid coffee, creamy dips and spreads, gravy, honey, hummus, ice cream, jam, jelly, juice, syrup, peanut butter, salad dressing, sauce, salsa, soda, soup and yogurt.

Related: Should you get TSA PreCheck or Clear — or both?

And, yes, you can bring your water bottle with you, even if it weighs more than 3.4 ounces — as long as it’s empty.

When in doubt, consult the TSA’s list of what you can carry through the airport and check with your airline.

Featured image by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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