Can You Bring A Steamer On A Plane?

Travelers often wonder about the items they can take on a plane, particularly when it comes to items that can be seen as unconventional or that have the potential to cause safety concerns. A garment steamer, a device commonly used to remove wrinkles from clothing with the use of high-temperature steam, is one such item that prompts questions with regards to air travel regulations.

Understanding the regulations surrounding air travel with such items traces back to the advent of modern aviation security measures, which have become increasingly stringent since the late 20th century. The protocol for carrying items like steamers on planes has shifted in response to various security threats and technological advancements. In the current travel landscape, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as international governing bodies, have set forth clear guidelines outlining what passengers can and cannot bring aboard aircraft in both checked luggage and carry-ons. These regulations are critical for ensuring the safety and security of all passengers and aircraft staff. With the present-day reliance on air travel, the ability to carry personal devices, such as steamers, has become more relevant, as business travelers and vacationers alike seek to maintain a crisp appearance upon reaching their destinations.

can you bring a clothes steamer on a plane

Can You Take A Steamer On A Plane?

When traveling by air, many passengers wonder if they can take a clothes steamer on a plane to keep their garments wrinkle-free. The answer is generally yes, but with certain restrictions. Handheld travel steamers are typically allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage. However, it’s important to ensure that the steamer is empty of all water and complies with the airline’s size and weight regulations for carry-on items. For larger steamers, checking with the specific airline is advisable as policies can vary. Additionally, it’s crucial to consider the regulations of the destination country, as some may have specific rules regarding the import of electrical devices. Understanding these guidelines can help ensure a smooth journey and that you arrive with your clothes looking their best. For a more detailed exploration of the rules and tips for traveling with a steamer, continue to the next section where we delve into the intricacies of flying with this handy device.

Overview of Using a Steamer on USA Domestic Flights

When traveling on domestic flights within the United States, passengers may want to bring a steamer for clothes to ensure they look their best upon arrival. Travel steamers are a popular tool for removing wrinkles from clothing, and understanding the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules for such devices is crucial before packing.

TSA Regulations for Carry-On Luggage

The TSA allows passengers to carry a steamer in their hand luggage on domestic flights with specific guidelines. However, it’s essential to ensure that the steamer adheres to the agency’s safety regulations—which primarily pertain to items with heating elements or containing water.

  • Steamers must be completely empty of water and cooled down.
  • Ensure that the steamer’s size does not exceed carry-on baggage size restrictions enforced by the airline.
  • Passengers should be prepared for additional screening if the security officers need to take a closer look.

Guidelines for Checked Luggage

Passengers also have the option to pack their steamer in checked luggage. The protective casing or padding is recommended for the steamer to prevent damage during transport.

  • Ensure the steamer does not have water in its reservoir to prevent leakage.
  • It’s advisable to pack the device near the center of the suitcase, surrounded by clothing for added protection.

Safe Travel Tips for Electronics and Gadgets

Traveling with any electronic device, including a clothes steamer, requires certain precautions to avoid issues during the security screening process or the flight itself.

  • Charge your steamer if it has a battery-operated function so it’s ready to use upon arrival.
  • Keep any cords neatly tucked away to avoid entanglement or damage.
  • Consider investing in a travel case designed for the specific model of your steamer for additional safety.

Airline-Specific Regulations

Different airlines might have additional restrictions or allowances for travel steamers. Therefore, it’s pivotal to:

  • Review your airline’s specific policy on electronic devices.
  • Check whether the airline has power outlets aboard that support the use of steamers during flight, although this is typically not allowed for safety reasons.

Best Practices for Efficient Packing

Efficient packing can help ensure that your steamer and all other essentials are transported safely and conveniently.

  • Use packing cubes or bags to organize your suitcase and protect your steamer.
  • Roll clothes instead of folding to save space and possibly reduce reliance on a steamer.
  • If space is tight, consider a more compact or travel-specific steamer model.

For more detailed information regarding the TSA’s requirements for traveling with a steamer, please visit the TSA website page for steamers.

✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Allows for wrinkle-free clothing Must adhere to airline liquid restrictions if using a steam iron with a water reservoir
Portable steamers are compact and travel-friendly Potential safety hazard if improperly packed or if it turns on accidentally
Often allowed in carry-on and checked luggage Added weight to luggage
Useful for quick touch-ups at the destination May not be necessary if the hotel provides ironing facilities
Can help sanitize and remove odors from clothes TSA security checks might require additional screening

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

Traveling with a steamer internationally requires adhering to specific guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety and security of all passengers and crew during flights. The IATA provides general rules for the carriage of portable electronic devices, including steamers, which may contain lithium batteries or other components that are subject to strict regulations.

  • Steamers must be carried in carry-on baggage only.
  • Lithium batteries within the steamer must not exceed certain watt-hour ratings.
  • Spare batteries must be protected from short circuit and carried in carry-on baggage.
  • Steamers should not be used on board the aircraft at any time.

For the most current and detailed information, please refer to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and the IATA guidance on portable electronic devices via their official website. IATA Baggage Information.

Country Specific Regulations

When flying internationally with a steamer, it’s crucial to be aware of the country-specific regulations that may apply. Each country may have its own set of rules regarding the transportation of electronic devices and items that could be considered dangerous goods. These regulations can affect whether you’re allowed to bring a steamer into the country, and if so, how it must be packed and declared.

United Kingdom

For the UK, passengers should consult the UK Civil Aviation Authority for guidance on carrying steamers on board aircraft. UK Civil Aviation Authority.


In Europe, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) provides regulations for air passengers traveling with electronic devices. European Union Aviation Safety Agency.


Transport Canada outlines the rules for flying with electronic devices, including steamers, within or out of Canada. Transport Canada.


The Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications provides guidelines for air travel with electronic devices. Australian Government Department of Infrastructure.

New Zealand

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand offers advice on traveling with electronic devices on flights to or from New Zealand. Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.


For Asian countries, passengers should check with the respective civil aviation authorities as regulations can vary significantly across the region.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore provides specific guidelines for passengers flying with electronic devices. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with a Steamer

Different airlines have their own policies regarding the transportation of steamers and other electronic devices. It’s important to check with your airline before traveling to ensure compliance with their specific regulations. Below are examples of airline-specific regulations for flying with a steamer.

American Airlines

  • Steamers must be in carry-on luggage only.
  • Use of steamers during the flight is prohibited.

For more details, visit American Airlines Baggage Policies.

Delta Air Lines

  • Portable electronic devices like steamers should be carried on and not used in flight.

Check out Delta Air Lines Baggage & Travel Policies for more information.

United Airlines

  • Steamers are allowed in carry-on bags, with restrictions on battery wattage.

Refer to United Airlines Baggage Information for specifics.

Air Canada

  • Carriage of steamers is subject to Transport Canada’s regulations.

Visit Air Canada Baggage Policies for further guidance.

British Airways

  • Steamers can be included in hand luggage but must not be used on board.

For additional details, go to British Airways Baggage Essentials.


  • Electronic devices with batteries are permitted in carry-on luggage, following IATA guidelines.

More information can be found at Lufthansa Baggage Information.


  • Steamers are allowed on board but cannot be used during the flight.

Check Qantas Baggage Information for the latest updates.

Air New Zealand

  • Carry-on policy includes steamers, subject to New Zealand’s aviation regulations.

Further details are available at Air New Zealand Baggage Help.


  • Steamers are accepted in carry-on baggage, with restrictions on the use during flight.

For more information, visit Emirates Baggage Policies.

Singapore Airlines

  • Steamers must be carried in hand luggage and comply with Singapore’s aviation authority regulations.

Refer to Singapore Airlines Baggage Information for specific rules.

Packing a Steamer in Your Carry-On Luggage

When traveling with a garment steamer in your carry-on luggage, it’s crucial to keep airline regulations and space limitations in mind. Here’s how to pack it efficiently:

  • Check Airline Policies: Verify that your steamer is allowed in carry-on luggage according to the airline’s guidelines, paying special attention to any restrictions on electrical items.
  • Empty the Water Reservoir: Ensure that the steamer’s water tank is completely empty to adhere to the TSA’s liquid rules and prevent leakage during the flight.
  • Wrap to Protect: Use a soft cloth or bubble wrap to encase the steamer, protecting it from scratches and dents caused by other items in your bag.
  • Choose the Right Spot: Place your wrapped steamer in the center of your carry-on, surrounded by clothing or soft items for additional cushioning.
  • Keep Accessibility in Mind: Position your steamer near the top of your bag or in an easily accessible pocket to streamline the security check process if you need to remove it for inspection.
  • Check Weight: Monitor the weight of your carry-on after packing the steamer to avoid exceeding the airline’s weight limit.

taking clothes steamer through airport security

Packing a Steamer in Your Hold Luggage

Packing a steamer in checked luggage allows for more flexibility but still requires careful packing to ensure its safety during travel:

  • Follow Airline Regulations: While hold luggage often allows for larger items, always check your airline’s policies to ensure steamers are permitted in checked bags.
  • Empty the Tank: As with carry-ons, empty the water reservoir to prevent leakage and potential water damage to your belongings.
  • Securely Wrap the Steamer: Protect the steamer by wrapping it in bubble wrap, towels, or clothes. This padding acts as a shock absorber during transit.
  • Choose a Strategic Position: Place the wrapped steamer in the middle of your suitcase, ideally between layers of clothing, for an added buffer from the impacts of travel.
  • Prevent Movement: To ensure your steamer doesn’t move around inside your suitcase, pack items snugly and fill empty spaces with socks, underwear, or accessories.
  • Consider a Hard Shell Case: Use a hard-sided suitcase for additional protection against external pressures that might occur during the handling of your luggage.
  • Label Fragile: If you’re worried about the handling of your luggage, consider attaching a ‘Fragile’ label to encourage more careful treatment from airport staff.

Travel-Friendly Alternatives to a Steamer

When packing for a trip, consider portable alternatives to a steamer to keep your clothes wrinkle-free. A travel-sized iron is a classic choice, often compact and dual-voltage for international use. Wrinkle-release sprays can be a quick fix; simply spray on your clothes, smooth out, and let dry. For a more high-tech solution, a handheld garment press is effective and can be small enough to fit in your luggage. Lastly, packing cubes and garment folders help prevent wrinkles by keeping clothes neatly folded during transit. Each of these items is designed to be lightweight and convenient for travelers looking to maintain a polished appearance on the go.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring A Steamer On A Plane?

Travelers often have questions about the types of items they can bring on an airplane, with clothing steamers being a common point of confusion. The rules about carrying portable steamers on planes, whether in checked luggage or carry-on, vary by airline and must comply with aviation security regulations. Below, you will find frequently asked questions that shed light on the intricacies of traveling with a garment steamer, helping to prepare you for a smooth journey.

Can I bring a handheld garment steamer in my carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can usually bring a handheld garment steamer in your carry-on luggage. However, it’s best to check with the airline for any specific restrictions.

Are there any size or power limitations for steamers brought on a plane?

Yes, there might be size or power limitations based on the airline’s policies or TSA regulations. It is advisable to check these limitations before packing your steamer.

Do steamers need to be empty when carried onto a plane?

Yes, your steamer should be completely empty of water when going through airport security to comply with the liquid restrictions for carry-on items.

Can I use my steamer during the flight?

No, you cannot use your steamer aboard the aircraft. The use of personal electronic devices that produce heat or steam is prohibited during the flight.

Is a steamer subject to the same rules as irons when flying?

Generally, yes. Both steamers and irons can often be included in luggage, subject to similar safety restrictions, especially regarding the presence of water in the device.

Does the TSA have specific guidelines for bringing a steamer on a plane?

The TSA does not have specific guidelines for steamers, but they must adhere to general rules for carry-ons, including the liquid limit. It is recommended you check the TSA website for the latest info.

If I’m flying internationally, do the rules change for carrying a steamer?

When flying internationally, rules can vary by destination. Check with both your airline and the aviation authorities for your destination country.

Will my steamer be subject to additional screening?

It is possible that your steamer will be subject to additional screening. Be prepared to remove it from your carry-on bag to be X-rayed separately.

Can a steamer be considered a prohibited item in any country?

While not typically considered prohibited, you should verify the entry requirements for the specific country you are visiting as regulations can change.

Are there any airlines that prohibit steamers altogether?

It is uncommon for airlines to prohibit steamers completely, but airline policies can vary. Always confirm with your airline prior to packing your steamer.

Packing It All Up

Travelers can indeed bring a steamer on a plane, a revelation that could significantly enhance the ability to maintain neat and wrinkle-free clothing on trips. However, several pivotal points must be considered to ensure a seamless travel experience. It is crucial to recognize that steamers are subject to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, which permit both travel-sized and full-sized steamers in carry-on and checked luggage. Nevertheless, it’s paramount to verify that any water reservoir is emptied before passing through security to avoid delays. Additionally, travelers should be cognizant of airline-specific luggage policies, which may impose restrictions on the size and weight of carry-on items, potentially impacting the practicality of carrying a steamer onboard.

The insights provided also underscore the convenience and potential caveats of travelling with a steamer. While steamers are a handy tool for looking presentable, they also occupy valuable luggage space, an essential consideration for those who prefer to travel light or with minimal baggage. It is advisable to opt for compact, travel-sized steamers when space is a premium. For international voyages, it’s imperative to ensure that your steamer is compatible with the voltage requirements of the destination country, or alternatively, to carry a suitable power adapter. By doing so, travelers can maximize the utility of their steamers without encountering power-related issues that could damage their devices or clothing.