Can I Ship Cleaning Supplies With USPS?

Learn the proper way to ship cleaning supplies with USPS, and why you'll most likely be restricted to ground services like Parcel Select Ground
you can ship cleaning supplies with USPS

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, we’ve seen an increased interest in shipping a certain kind of household item: cleaning supplies. However, we’ve also noticed that shippers haven’t been taking the proper precautions for these shipments, and haven’t been shipping them in the appropriate mail classes. Household cleaning supplies typically contain a variety of hazardous materials, such as corrosive and oxidizing chemicals. As a result, shipping these items isn’t as simple as sticking them in a box, slapping a label on it, and sending it off. Time to roll up our sleeves and see what’s going on!

You’re Restricted to Ground Services When Shipping Cleaning Supplies with USPS

As we wrote in the intro above, common household cleaning supplies contain several types of hazardous materials. Therefore, the US Postal Service restricts these items to only ground transportation, such as Retail Ground (at the Post Office) and Parcel Select Ground (with online shipping software). That means you can’t ship cleaning supplies with any air-based service like First Class Package, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express. Sorry!

Is It a Corrosive or an Oxidizer?

When shipping cleaning supplies, it’s also important to note whether they are corrosive or oxidizing agents. Depending on which one they are, the shipping process is different (although they’ll both go via ground transportation service). After talking with USPS, we’ve laid out the proper packaging instructions for each of these two categories below.

Corrosives (e.g. ammonia, bleach, sodium hydroxide)

  • Maximum of 25 pounds per individual shipment
  • For liquid corrosives, the mixture must be 1 pint (16 oz) or less per primary receptacle, and must contain 15% or less corrosive material with the remainder of the mixture not being a hazardous material
  • For solid corrosives, the mixture must be 10 pounds or less per primary receptacle, and must contain 10% or less corrosive material with the remainder of the mixture not being a hazardous material
  • Surround the receptacle with enough absorbent and cushioning packing material to prevent breakage and absorb all potential leakage
  • Triple package the shipment; include a sealable primary container for the cleaning agent (1), then wrap it in cushioning and a leak-proof plastic bag (2) inside a strong, corrugated outer box (3).
  • Affix Limited Quantity Label and write “Surface Transportation Only” on the outside of the package

Oxidizers (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, organic peroxides, benzoyl peroxide)

  • Maximum of 25 pounds per individual shipment
  • For liquid oxidizers, the capacity of the primary receptacle must not exceed 1 pint (16 oz)
  • For solid oxidizers, the weight of the contents of the primary receptacle must not exceed 1 pound
  • Surround the receptacle with enough absorbent and cushioning packing material to prevent breakage and absorb all potential leakage
  • Triple package the shipment; include a sealable primary container for the cleaning agent (1), then wrap it in cushioning inside a leak-proof metal or plastic container (2), then place this container inside a strong, corrugated outer box (3).
  • Affix Limited Quantity Label and write “Surface Transportation Only” on the outside of the package

What About Lysol or Clorox Spray Cans?

You can still definitely ship Lysol or Clorox spray containers with USPS. However, USPS classifies Lysol or Clorox as both corrosive hazardous material and as aerosols. Shipping aerosols is a whole different ball game, but USPS still restricts these shipments to ground transportation services. There are the rare exceptions to this rule, of course, which you can read about in our guide on shipping aerosols with USPS. However, for the most part, the same restrictions apply to aerosols as to corrosives and oxidizing agents.

Can I Ship Cleaning Supplies Internationally?

Unfortunately, USPS prohibits any international shipments of cleaning supplies. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether they are corrosive or non-corrosive, oxidizing or non-oxidizing. Wish we had better news!

Want more information on USPS policy for shipping corrosive or oxidizing cleaning materials? Check out the following USPS packaging instructions to make sure you’re doing everything correctly:

Related Shipping Guides


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