While it’s perfectly legal to carry and ship pepper spray, these bottles contain materials that USPS considers hazardous. Pepper sprays are a unique item, since they can technically be classified as both an aerosol and a corrosive, which fall into two different hazard classes. Regardless of determining which hazard class pepper spray belongs to, ground transportation is the only option to ship it with USPS.
Ship Pepper Spray via USPS Ground Services with the Proper Markings
According to their website, USPS defines pepper spray as toxic materials and infectious substances. Therefore, the Postal Service groups pepper spray into Hazard Class 6, which you can see in the USPS Hazard Classes. Since this is the case, the best option is to ship them via USPS ground service. Retail Ground will be the selected service at the Post Office, and Parcel Select Ground with online shipping software.
Note that USPS ground services take much longer for delivery than other air-based services such as Priority Mail and First Class Package. Typically, delivery timeframes for USPS ground services range anywhere from 3 to 8 business days.
The Exception to the Rule
While ground service is the simplest way to go for pepper spray shipments, there are rare exceptions where you can ship via air-based service. Specifically, you’re able to use air-based services if your aerosol receptacles are non-flammable and meet the qualifications for Consumer Commodity. That said, we don’t recommend going the air-based service route for pepper spray because of the sheer amount of time it will take you to properly prepare these shipments.
For more information on whether your pepper spray qualifies for air-based services, check out our post on shipping aerosols with USPS.
Include the Proper Markings On Your Package
Since pepper spray is a hazardous material traveling via ground transportation, you’ll need to affix specific markings to your shipment. Firstly, you’ll want to stick the Limited Quantity Label onto your box or envelope. Secondly, clearly write “Surface Transportation Only” on the outside of your package. Once you’ve followed these two steps, you’re set to ship!
You Can’t Ship Pepper Spray Internationally
Ground services allow you to ship to any of the 50 United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. However, you can’t send pepper spray internationally. Certain countries may restrict it altogether, which you can find in the USPS individual country listings. Plus, as a rule of thumb, neither aerosols nor corrosives can travel via international air transport.