The Liquid Truth: Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Liquids

The specifics of shipping liquids can be overwhelming at first glance. We put this little guide together to help you ship with confidence!

Whether you’re trying to send homemade salsa to a friend, or start a business selling your famous salsa around the country, we want to make sure it gets there safely.

Read this guide for a crash course in shipping liquids!

Am I Allowed to Ship Liquids?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer depends on exactly what you are trying to ship and where you are trying to ship it to.

In many cases, you cannot legally ship liquids that may be dangerous to the carrier. This means that liquids that are flammable or explosive are out in a lot of cases. Gasoline, for example, is a no-go and poisons and controlled substances are also out.

You must ship certain other items, like aerosol cans, by surface mail only. That means they can’t be shipped airmail, as they could explode with the air pressure changes associated with flying.

When shipping internationally, the list of prohibited liquids grows. In many cases, this is due to the fact that in order to ship things other than to Mexico or Canada, they need to travel by air or ship. Customs laws also affect what you can and cannot ship internationally. 

Liquids you cannot ship internationally include:

  • gasoline
  • nail polish
  • perfumes that contain alcohol
  • alcoholic beverages
  • poison

If you are unsure if you can ship your liquid domestically or not, you will want to contact your carrier to be sure.

Can I Ship Alcohol Domestically?

You may be wondering if you can send your friend a bottle of wine or a nice scotch. You may be aware of alcohol subscription services and places you can order alcohol online. How do those work?

This is tricky. It will depend on the carrier. It is not illegal to ship alcohol domestically in most cases, though some states do not allow it to cross state lines. The United States Postal Service does not ship alcohol domestically or internationally.

Other couriers may require you to sign an agreement when shipping alcohol. If your business is alcohol, you will need to be licensed to sell alcohol in order to ship it. Your package will also need to be specially labeled.

Upon final delivery of the product, an adult over the age of 21 will need to sign for the package.

How to Ship Liquids Safely

Once you’ve determined whether or not you can ship your liquid, you have to package it to make sure it arrives safely. The biggest issue you will want to consider is that your product could leak.

If not packed properly, the item may leak and destroy the package and potentially other mail in the system. That could result in your package being completely undeliverable, or at the least, a mess for the recipient. That can be a big problem for personal and business shipments.

In order to prevent leaks, you will want to take the following precautions when shipping your liquid items:

Step 1. Seal Your Item Well

Your item should have a double seal. That means it will have extra plastic wrapping around the cap or lid to prevent leaks. If it does not, you will want to add an extra layer of protection with plastic wrap or tape.

Step 2. Put the Item in a Waterproof Bag

The best way to prevent your item from leaking is to bag it. That way, if the packaging itself fails, the liquid remains contained and does not cause damage. 

Find a bag that is large enough for your item to fit completely inside of with enough extra room for you to seal it. Without sealing in a lot of air and creating a “balloon” that could easily rupture, seal the bag with tape after twisting or folding over the end. It is often a good idea to use a second bag and repeat the process of sealing.

Step 3. Securely Pack Your Item

Use a cardboard box that is large enough to accommodate your item but has room for packing material as well. Before placing your item in the box, line the bottom of the box with a layer of soft packing material. This can be packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or even foam.

Next, set your item inside the box leaving room on all sides for more packing material. Fill any space that remains with packing material. If you leave too much room, your product may shift around inside the box during shipping and this could cause it to break or leak.

Before sealing the box, make sure to include a layer of shipping material on top of your item as well.

Step 4. Seal and Mark the Box

Make sure that your box closes completely and then tape along the seams to seal the box. Use enough tape that you feel confident the box will not open during shipping.

Next, make sure to label your package so that both the carrier and recipient know what they are dealing with. You will want to use stickers or write the words “fragile” and “liquid” on all sides of the box. Sometimes, a sticker indicating not to use a box cutter can be helpful to the recipient so that they do not cause the item to leak when opening the box.

Shipping Liquids That Are Perishable

If the item you are sending is a perishable liquid, you will want to insulate the package from temperature fluctuations. This can be done by using a styrofoam cooler. Pack things the same way, making sure that both the cooler is secure inside the box and your item is secure inside the cooler.

It is a good idea to use rush or overnight shipping when dealing with perishable items to ensure they arrive while they are still fresh.

Now Ship It, Ship It Good!

After that, you should be a pro at getting your liquids ready to ship! Once they are, we’d love to help you with shipping liquids or anything else wherever you want them to go.

Contact us today for all your shipping need. We ship both domestically and internationally!