Discussion Forums - USPS Postal Regulations USPS Postal Regulations

Topic: Please explain requirement for liquid items in mail?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Please explain requirement for liquid items in mail?
Date Posted: 12/31/2007 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

It occured to me over the holidays that there are probably lots of liquids in the mail. Perfume, bath sets, etc.

My PO always asks if there is anything liquid, flamable, etc in my mailings. So if I did ever mail anything liquid, what happens? Do I pay more postage? Package differently?


Date Posted: 12/31/2007 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
Back To Top

This is from the Domestic Mail Manual (the USPS bible)


Mailers must mark the outer container of a mailpiece containing liquid to indicate the nature of the contents. Mailers must package and mail liquids under the following conditions:

a. Use screw-on caps, soldering, clips, or similar means to close mailpieces containing liquids. Do not use only friction-top closures (push-down types).

b. Liquids in steel pails and drums with positive closures, such as locking rings or recessed spouts under screw-cap closures, may be mailed without additional packaging.

c. Package glass and other breakable containers of liquid with a capacity of more than 4 fluid ounces according to the following requirements:

1. Cushion the primary container with material sufficient to absorb all leakage in case of breakage.

2. Place the primary container inside another sealed, leakproof container (secondary container), such as a can or plastic bag.

3. Use an outer mailing container that is strong enough to protect the contents.

d. As an alternative to 2.3c above, mailers may use containers certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) that passed ISTA's Test Procedure 3A. Mailers must provide their ISTA 3A Package-Product Certification Notice at the time of mailing as verification that the mailpieces they are submitting passed the required performance test.

Date Posted: 1/1/2008 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 285
Back To Top

There are certain liquids that the FAA will not allow in the cargo holds of planes, or that the PO considers hazardous enough to limit or ban. Perfume and other scents cannot fly. it is illegal to mail alcoholic beverages. (Every xmas I piss off at least one customer because I can't allow them to ship a bottle of Bitter Brittle Root to Aunt Granny in Okeefenokee, or a bottle of Chanel No. 5 to Cousin Coco in Paris.)

Corrosives like sulfuric acid are forbidden, for obvious reasons. Urine samples have to be shipped in special containers marked "Hazmat".

usps.com has a comprehensive list @ http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/notices/not128.pdf

Date Posted: 1/1/2008 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
Back To Top

Very interesting...

Just before Xmas I mailed two packages to a friend in Iraq.  No one asked me if the packages contained liquids.  It did -- about 30 bottles of Visine-like eye drops.  I guess I was okay because the bottles were inside ziploc baggies and then groups of baggies were inside poly mailers which were put into PM boxes.

I also had some roll-on deodorant bottles in there wrapped the same way.  Those would be liquids, too.

Haven't heard if they've arrived or not.

Date Posted: 1/1/2008 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
Back To Top

I very occasionally mail liquids - and when I do, I usually find that precautions I take for the recipient (like taping the lid, placing in a zipper bag, etc) also make my PO happy. I also make sure it's packed so that the containner won't move during shipment - the liquid may  slosh but otherwise you can shake the box and nothing moves.

Anytime I've mailed a box with liquid in it, I always tell the postal clerk and follow it up with my assurance that the liquid is packaged securely. So far I've had no problem.

Date Posted: 1/1/2008 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Thanks for all the info folks, learned alot.

But the postage doesn't increase because it's liquid, right?

Date Posted: 1/1/2008 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 285
Back To Top


And the eyedrops that got shipped to Iraq wouldn't have been a problem, anyway. In the unlikely event of their leaking, no real harm would have been done. The clerk may not have asked you about it being liquids because he saw them listed on the customs form. You DID list them on the customs form, didn't you?

Last Edited on: 1/1/08 11:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/2/2008 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
Back To Top

I just wrote "TOILETRIES" on the form -- the packages contained everything from shampoo samples (which were also liquids, forgot about those) to lip balm to wipes to clean your glasses to eye drops -- everything one would need during their daily toilette.  The clerk didn't ask me to be more specific.

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
Back To Top

The other thing to remember is that sometimes when liquid freezes and unfreezes it can leak as well.