TSA and Suspicious Soap

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
6,908
Reaction score
7,691
Location
Minnesota
I went on a trip to visit friends, and of course wanted to give them some soap. I had quite a bit packed in my suitcase, so some were laying flat and the rest were on end around the perimeter of my bag. My bag was flagged and had to be opened for inspection. When the agent came to open it he told me the soaps on end around the edge of the bag was what they were looking at, not the ones laying flat. So just giving you a heads up if you are packing a lot of soap - lay it flat or get to the airport early!
 

dillsandwitch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
539
Reaction score
318
Location
Maitland, NSW, AUSTRALIA
I once saw an episode of customs and one guy tried to smuggle in a bunch or heroin inside soap bars. They were hollow on the inside and filled with the drug but looked perfectly fine on the outside. Its probably the fact that he had 2 suitcases full of soap that clued on the customs officers. hahaha funny thing though is it doesn't seen at all odd to me to be caring a but-load of soap when going to visit family
 

SuzieOz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
372
Reaction score
309
Location
Tasmania, Australia
Ha ha, yes I was a bit concerned about my son when he left us to go back to Melbourne where he lives after visiting us for Christmas as I gave him a big box of soap to take back for himself and his grandma.

He's always stopped and scanned and patted down and what have you at airports, being a 20 year old male travelling alone I suppose.

Anyway, he wasn't stopped this time thankfully.
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,998
Location
So Cal
I always carry oddball things in my luggage (besides soap), so sometimes I just request a bag search, so they don't have to call me back.

Hawaii confiscated one of my soaps right out of my bag!! I think it was the one with the lavender buds, to be fair they do have that agriculture thing, but Aus and NZ dont mind my soaps (I asked). I think the agent just liked the pretty soap...
 

amd

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
5,692
Location
South Dakota
I once saw an episode of customs and one guy tried to smuggle in a bunch or heroin inside soap bars. They were hollow on the inside and filled with the drug but looked perfectly fine on the outside. Its probably the fact that he had 2 suitcases full of soap that clued on the customs officers. hahaha funny thing though is it doesn't seen at all odd to me to be caring a but-load of soap when going to visit family
Haha, I just had one of the office guys bring me back some soap from Germany. He had to take it out of the box and wrappers for customs. Now I know why! I think he's glad it was only 2 bars...
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,282
Reaction score
11,089
Location
Right here, silly!
I was stopped once because of my soap, too. If I recall correctly, I had about 10 bars with me in my carry-on for family I was going to visit. Thankfully, they didn't confiscate any and I was allowed to continue my travels without any further hassle.


IrishLass :)
 

snappyllama

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
3,910
Reaction score
3,040
Location
Near Charlotte NC
I just traveled over the weekend and didn't have any bars with me, but I was flagged for a hand swab. I think there must have been glycerin lingering since I'd just washed my hands with a sliver of my soap before getting in the security line. They did two more swabs, felt me up and then eventually waved me through. Next time I'll use the nasty bathroom soap dispenser instead...
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,998
Location
So Cal
Nah that swabby thing is pretty random. If it was triggered by glycerin my e-cig vaping habit would be triggering them constantly.
Don't use nasty airport soap!!

I just traveled over the weekend and didn't have any bars with me, but I was flagged for a hand swab. I think there must have been glycerin lingering since I'd just washed my hands with a sliver of my soap before getting in the security line. They did two more swabs, felt me up and then eventually waved me through. Next time I'll use the nasty bathroom soap dispenser instead...
 

galaxyMLP

Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
1,838
Reaction score
1,333
Location
Florida
What do they do when they swab you (is it a light, a physical swab)? I wonder if a component in the fragrance is showing up?

Sorry, I don't fly often!

I'm taking a flight by myself for the first time to visit my mom for Mother's Day. I have a very ...ahem... "Ethnic" last name and second middle name. I'm a bit worried about it and I'll be bringing a lot of soap as gifts of course. From this thread I'll be expecting a full check most likely! I'll have to see how it goes!
 

Relle

Administrator & Bunny Fanatic
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
11,820
Reaction score
4,014
I always carry oddball things in my luggage (besides soap), so sometimes I just request a bag search, so they don't have to call me back.

Hawaii confiscated one of my soaps right out of my bag!! I think it was the one with the lavender buds, to be fair they do have that agriculture thing, but Aus and NZ dont mind my soaps (I asked). I think the agent just liked the pretty soap...
Beware of having soap with botanicals in, coming into Oz, if you haven't been caught yet, you surely will soon. Quarantine don't like it. It will be confiscated and destroyed. Not sure why you were told it's OK, it's not. I don't know about NZ.
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,998
Location
So Cal
Beware of having soap with botanicals in, coming into Oz, if you haven't been caught yet, you surely will soon. Quarantine don't like it. It will be confiscated and destroyed. Not sure why you were told it's OK, it's not. I don't know about NZ.
Yeah it depends on who inspects me, sometimes they let me keep my commercial herbal tea, sometimes they don't, once they took my protein bar! Coffee I can keep, but I always show them what I have, if they don't like it I leave it on the ship.
 
Last edited:

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,282
Reaction score
11,089
Location
Right here, silly!
I just traveled over the weekend and didn't have any bars with me, but I was flagged for a hand swab. I think there must have been glycerin lingering since I'd just washed my hands with a sliver of my soap before getting in the security line. They did two more swabs, felt me up and then eventually waved me through. Next time I'll use the nasty bathroom soap dispenser instead...
Back in 2007 I was flagged for a foot swab. I was travelling across the country back home with a badly sprained ankle after having visited my grandma that winter, and I was wearing one of those awesome, cushiony support boots to keep my foot out of agony as I hobbled around on crutches. Anyway, they made me take my boot off and my sock off so they could check my naked foot out to make sure I wasn't hiding anything and that my ankle was really sprained (a very painful ordeal, and very embarrassing, too), and as a part of that examination, they happened to have swabbed my boot......at least 3 or 4 times. Seems it kept coming back with a reading that indicated some kind of explosive residue. I can't say I'm 100% sure, but I'm fairly convinced the source of it was from my grandma's house where we had been staying. She heated her house with a couple of portable propane heaters, and it wouldn't surprise me if my cushiony boot had soaked up enough of the fumes to be able to set their meter on alert (those heaters are so smelly!). After being convinced I wasn't a threat, I was finally let go and was able to join my hubby and son on our flight back home. Thankfully we had gone to the airport a couple of hours before our flight and didn't miss it. I must admit, it was kinda scary there for a bit.


IrishLass :)
 

paillo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
2,233
Reaction score
748
Location
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
I was flagged and my carry-on searched one time for the same reason. I didn't have that much soap, maybe a dozen bars, but enough. The TSA agent and I had a good laugh. I offered her some, but it was against the rules for her to accept. I now USPS ship a box to my destination ahead of time. No adventures and a lighter bag :)
 

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
6,908
Reaction score
7,691
Location
Minnesota
galaxy, if you are checking a bag put all the soap in that. If they want to open it to look at it, then at least you aren't pulled aside and slowed down waiting for the agent that opens bags at the checkpoint. If you are just taking carry on, you may or may not get held up, but at least you will know why. I couldn't even imagine what they had seen that caused them to hold my bag. I'm a nervous traveler which probably didn't help either.
 

Latest posts

Top