Can I Use USPS to Ship Hand Sanitizer?

You can ship hand sanitizers with the US Postal Service, but you can only use ground transportation services, and you'll need to affix the proper markings to your package
you can ship hand sanitizer with USPS, but only via surface transportation
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As Coronavirus continues to monopolize headlines, bottles of hand sanitizer are more in demand now than ever. Physical retail stores are quickly running out of medical and personal hygiene supplies like these, and as a result, more and more consumers have begun to order hand sanitizer online. Lots of it. Thus, shippers who provide fulfillment for hand sanitizer are starting to see a huge increase in orders. If you’re a shipper in this particular position, here’s a quick guide on how to properly ship hand sanitizer with the US Postal Service.

USPS Only Allows You to Ship Hand Sanitizers Via Ground Transportation

Since hand sanitizer products contain alcohol, USPS considers these products a type of a hazardous material. Therefore, the Postal Service restricts hand sanitizer shipments to surface transportation only. That means you’ll need to ship Retail Ground if you’re shipping at the Post Office, and Parcel Select Ground if you use online shipping software to buy postage.

These ground services takes longer than other USPS services, with delivery often clocking in between 1 and 3 weeks. However, the good news is that these two services are often cheaper than Priority Mail.

Another thing to keep in mind is that neither Retail Ground nor Parcel Select Ground automatically includes built-in USPS insurance. Therefore, if you wish to insure your hand sanitizer shipments, you’ll need to purchase additional shipping insurance on top of the price of postage.

How to Properly Package Your Hand Sanitizer Shipment

When shipping out bottles containing hand sanitizer, you’ll want to make sure you use the adequate type of packing material. The safest bet is to provide sufficient cushioning and insulation around the bottles, such as bubble wrap and/or air pillows. Also, we suggest lining the bottom of your package with an absorbent material in the case of any leakage during transit. In this case, a rag or a hand towel will do just fine.

Lastly, since hand sanitizers are a type of hazardous material, you’ll need to affix the Limited Quantity Label to the side of your package. You’ll also want to clearly mark on the phrase “Surface Transportation Only” on the box. Once you do that, you’re all set!

What About Sending Them Internationally?

Unfortunately, USPS prohibits any international shipment of hand sanitizer, since these bottles contain trace amounts of alcohol. In fact, no items containing any amount of alcohol can be sent internationally with the US Postal Service.

If you’d like to see other items that USPS prohibits, check out our guide on USPS Shipping Restrictions.

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  1. Melinda

    Sharing for updated rules:

    “Update: During this period of increased demand, mailers can obtain an exception through the Manager, Product Classification to increase the quantity of items containing ethyl and isopropanol alcohol sent via surface transportation. Mailers can also be granted an authorization by the Manager, Product Classification to ship limited quantities of ethanol alcohol in domestic air transportation. For full details, see Mailability of Hand Sanitizer Update (April 14, 2020).”

  2. Melinda

    Thanks!!! Very helpful!


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