PackSafe - Paints and Solvents


Thinners, turpentine, MEK, denatured alcohol, acetone, resins, lacquers, varnishes, stains

Most paints and paint-related solvents are regulated as flammable liquids and are forbidden in carry-on or checked baggage.

Many (but not all) artist paints are nonflammable and, if posing no other hazard, may be carried in carry-on and checked baggage. However, paint not marked nonflammable by the manufacturer could be removed from luggage by airport screeners. If the manufacturer's safety data sheet (SDS) indicates the paints are nonflammable, packing the MSDS with the paints may help avoid their removal from baggage.

An MSDS will show if a paint or related product is a flammable liquid or not. When checking the MSDS, a "flash point" at or below 140° F (60° C) indicates it is a flammable liquid and may not be carried in airline baggage.


Watercolors, acrylics, pigments and most artist oil paints

Quantity limits: None*

Artist paints that are nonflammable are not regulated by FAA and may be carried in carry-on* or checked baggage.

For transportation purposes, "nonflammable" paints are those with a flashpoint above 140° F (60° C). The flashpoint is listed on a product's safety data sheet (SDS). Section 14 of the SDS will also indicate if the product is regulated for transportation. The MSDS is usually available online from the vendor or manufacturer.

Some artist paints such as alkyl gels, polyurethanes, and varnishes can be flammable (flashpoint at or below 140° F (60° C). Flammable paint products may not be carried in carry-on or checked baggage.

Paint thinners, turpentine, and brush cleaners are flammable liquids and may not be carried in carry-on or checked baggage.

*Liquids, pastes, and gels in carry-on baggage are further limited to 100-ml (3.4 oz) containers at the TSA security checkpoint.

Last updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2024