I plan on flying domestically in the US tomorrow, and I was wondering if it is possible for the TSA to tell the difference between flammable and non-flammable aerosols as they go through a security scanner. Obviously they can determine if it is flammable when doing a bag search, but if it is only through a regular security scanner, are they able to determine if my deodorant is flammable or not?

Also, if my deodorant bottle is 3.5oz, what is the chance that I get caught for breaking the 3-1-1 rule?


The machine can not tell, but the person looking at the screen, may have seen enough toiletries to know physical sizes and related content volume. The metal can of your aerosol may, by itself, warrant a visual inspection, at which time flammability and weight will be obvious.

It is always better to go legal, rather than pushing your luck and arriving at your destination minus some of your toiletries.

  • JB may not arrive at the destination at expected time if trying to 'smuggle on' flammable aerosols in current climate. – Russell McMahon Nov 20 '15 at 13:50
  • @RussellMcMahon The TSA isn't going to detain anyone with a 3.5 oz can of aerosol deodorant unless that person responds very poorly to its being confiscated. Any traveler who is so unable to handle that situation as to be detained probably has larger problems than failing to arrive at the destination. In fact, in my experience, I've been allowed to keep a 4-oz (118 ml) bottle of lotion, though that was in Europe, on a flight bound to the US, and it was a few years ago. – phoog Nov 20 '15 at 17:00
  • @Phoog - Good to hear they are doing their job. | lessee - 3.5 Oz x 28g/oz x say 35 J/g =~ 3500 J. Not vast, but 'enough;. I know what I could do with that, but I won't provide anything more detailed here. – Russell McMahon Nov 21 '15 at 11:22

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