Common items like phones, nail polish, perfume, and hair spray are considered hazardous materials and require special procedures when shipping them.

Shipping Hazardous Materials with USPS®

It's important to read all the USPS rules about Hazardous Materials when shipping anything considered dangerous. You are liable for any failure to follow the rules. 

For common, less-hazardous items like perfume or hand sanitizer, you're simply not allowed to use air-based services like First Class Package, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express. This means Parcel Select Ground is your only option. You also need to follow a few steps, explained below.

How to ship hazardous materials

If you want to ship hazardous materials with USPS, you’ll need to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox below the Extra Services menu when creating your label, as seen here:

  • Choose Parcel Select Ground as your service

  • Place a "limited quantity" sticker on the label side of your package. You can buy them here

Common hazardous materials

  • Aerosols, like hair spray

  • Cleaning agents and solvents

  • Cigarette lighter fluid

  • Compressed oxygen

  • Fuels

  • Lithium-ion batteries

  • Inks

  • Matches

  • Nail polish

  • Paint

  • Perfumes/colognes

  • Pre-owned or damaged electronics with lithium-ion batteries

Rules for shipping electronic devices containing lithium-ion batteries

Brand-new or certified new/refurbished electronics with unopened manufacturer’s packaging that contain lithium-ion batteries inside can be shipped via any USPS service. If this is the case for your shipment, do not select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label.

On the other hand, if you’re shipping a used, damaged, or defective electronic device with a lithium-ion battery (such as a phone, tablet, laptop, camera, power tool, etc.), you’ll need to follow these guidelines:

  • Select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label.

  • You may only use the Parcel Select Ground shipping service, as electronics with used or damaged lithium-ion batteries cannot be transported via air.

  • If you’re shipping multiple items, separate the lithium-ion batteries or electronics containing lithium-ion batteries into a different package.

  • Label the package with: “Restricted Electronic Device – Surface Transportation Only.”

Shipments containing pre-owned or damaged electronic devices that contain lithium-ion batteries are prohibited from being shipped internationally or to military addresses and certain parts of the United States where USPS doesn’t have ground transportation available.

Prohibited items

There are some products that you’re not able to ship with USPS at all, no matter what. Find out if USPS prohibits the shipment of your items.

Shipping Hazardous Materials with UPS®

Unfortunately, UPS doesn't allow for hazmat shipments on Pirate Ship. So, you'll need to use USPS Parcel Select Ground or First Class Package if you're shipping any items that contain hazardous materials!

The one exception is packages containing lithium-ion batteries. You can ship lithium-ion batteries contained in the device they power (such as cell phones) with any UPS service without prior permission from UPS, as long as:

(a) the package contains no more than 4 cells or 2 batteries

(b) the consignment contains no more than two packages of lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment

If your shipment meets these requirements, do not select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label, and choose the service you wish to use after clicking the Get Rates button. If your shipment does not meet these requirements, select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox and choose USPS Parcel Select Ground service.

For more information, see this UPS resource on packing and shipping batteries.

Shipping Hazardous Materials Internationally

You can't create any labels for international shipments containing hazardous materials on Pirate Ship.

Any questions? Click the blue chat button to get in touch with our Support Crew - we're here to lend a hook 😃

Did this answer your question?