I don’t think I’ve thought about hand sanitizer ever in my life as much as I have in the last two months. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizer is all that’s on everyone’s minds. (Okay, okay. People are also thinking about paper towels and toilet paper.)
For military families with deployed loved ones, another wrinkle to the pandemic chaos is an unsettling worry. Do their deployed loved ones have the supplies they need to stay safe?
While I wish I could answer that question, I can’t. What individual deployed groups have and don’t have is subject to constant change, making it absolutely impossible for someone on the outside looking in to speculate on what particular groups do and don’t have.
But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that military families are proactive. And that’s why you’re here, right? You’ve been thinking about stocking up your deployed loved one and you want to know if you can send hand sanitizer. That’s because hand sanitizer is particularly important to deployed troops who might not have regular access to water for hand-washing–one of the basic needs associated with keeping the novel coronavirus at bay.
So, let’s get to the good stuff.
Can I send hand sanitizer in the mail?
The simple answer? Yes. But–believe it or not– hand sanitizer is a hazardous material because it is flammable. (Most hand sanitizer has a high alcohol content.) This is for liquid hand sanitizer as well as hand sanitizing wipes with high alcohol contents. For this reason, you are only allowed to send it through Retail Ground, Parcel Select, or Parcel Select Lightweight. These are options that you can’t choose from home and send using USPS.com’s online, shipped from home services, so you’ll have to venture into your local post office to do so. Don’t forget to take a mask and your own hand sanitizer when you go. You can read this directly from the USPS’s website.
Can I send hand sanitizer overseas?
Nope. According to USPS’ policies, because hand sanitizer is hazardous and flammable, it can only be mailed domestically by surface transportation. That means no airmail and no shipping internationally, including APO/FPO/DPO addresses. That’s right– APO, FPO, and DPO addresses count as overseas addresses for this restriction. It’s important to note, too, that these restrictions have nothing to do with the pandemic.
Should I send hand sanitizer in the mail?
Lots of people send all kinds of restricted things through the mail and simply do not declare it. But, I have a hard line when it comes to shipping things through the mail that aren’t allowable: I don’t do it and don’t advise others to do it either.
I still want to send hand sanitizer. What else can I ship?
If you’re specifically sending supplies because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are options other than hand sanitizer that are known to kill the novel coronavirus. Liquid and bar soap are effective against the virus and both can be shipped internationally as well as domestically. If you’re sending liquid soap, make sure that you place it inside at least one sealable bag, just in case it breaks or oozes during shipping. Soap sheets are portable and another way to ensure your loved one always has soap available to them. They will need water to activate soap sheets, liquid soap, and bar soap. Alcohol-free, non-flammable hand sanitizing sprays as well as alcohol-free, non-flammable hand gels are also an option; you’ll want to double-check with your post office about shipping best practices and your family doctor about the most effective brands.
Looking For More Care Package Ideas? Try These:
- Can I Ship Alcohol in a Care Package?
- The Gigantic List of Free Care Packages for Deployed Service Members
- Here’s What Troops Really Want in a Care Package