Anybody who deals in online commerce, whether it's selling on eBay or items for their own business, knows that the United States Postal Service (USPS) can be strict when it comes to shipping regulations. There's a distinct shipping difference between ground and air service, for one, and the weight of your package is what determines shipping costs.

However, there are also items you cannot ship under any circumstances. Some of these are actually common household items that you must declare with specific packaging, forms, etc. Via, I was able to find six items that you cannot legally ship via USPS in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin:

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Don't Even Try to Ship Ammo:

Small arms ammunition is classified as "explosive materials" by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under federal law, it's illegal to send ammunition via the U.S. mail:

Ammunition that is designed to be fired from a pistol, revolver, rifle, or shotgun, as well as primers and blank cartridges - including those designed for tools- and propellant powder for use in any firearm, is prohibited from mailing. Small arms ammunition poses a danger to postal employees, equipment and customers, USPS said, and violating the law could make you subject to civil penalties and criminal charges. - per

Photo Credit: Mitch Conrad
Photo Credit: Mitch Conrad

That Goes for Firearms as Well:

The Gun Control Act of 1968 significantly impacts and restricts the shipment of firearms. There are certain exceptions for licensed dealers that you can view on USPS' website. However, for us Average Joes and Janes, shipping firearms is strictly prohibited and is against the (federal) law.

Think Twice Before Even Attempting to Ship Fireworks:

This one should be common sense, but alas, it must be said: it is illegal to ship fireworks via USPS. Fireworks are dangerous to postal workers and anyone who might come in contact with the package, especially when you consider how elements such as weather and/or handling can play a role in their condition.

Photo Credit: Ralf Geithe
Photo Credit: Ralf Geithe

Mercury is a No-No:

Whether it's on its own, or part of another item, liquid mercury is prohibited in the mail:

[Liquid mercury] is a hazardous substance that produces toxic vapors if exposed to air and can cause mercury poisoning if the vapors are inhaled. Older-style thermometers, blood pressure gauges, and barometers — which often contain liquid mercury– may become damaged or broken during the shipping process, making them all off-limits for mailing. - per

Many Common Household Items:

When it comes to shipping household items, things can get pretty nebulous. Certain items like spray disinfectants, hairspray, or even spray paint include flammable aerosol products that make them a hazard to ship.

This also applies to perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover, etc. Some of these items are permitted via airmail. Some can only be sent via ground delivery. Most have a cap on the quantity limits and require special markings to denote what substance is being shipped and how much of it.

Be Careful with Lithium Batteries Too:

You might be shocked to know just how many of your common electronics contain lithium batteries. That includes cell phones, tablets, laptops, wireless headphones, certain children's toys/electronics, and more. These items are not illegal to ship, however, they are considered hazardous materials and remain highly regulated, per the USPS.

If improperly shipped, lithium batteries can heat up to dangerous levels, leaving open the possibility they could catch fire and explode during handling. If packaged, declared, and shipped properly, the risk of this happening can be reduced and avoided. If you find yourself needing to ship something that includes a lithium battery, you can find out more info on USPS' website.

Photo Credit: McConnell Adams
Photo Credit: McConnell Adams

For more information on any of these items, you can visit, although it's best to consult the USPS via their website or directly if you have questions or concern about what you're planning to ship.

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