Shipping paints and varnishes

These everyday items can be classed as dangerous goods when shipped, along with primers, wood stains, thinners and lacquers. Before you ship, there are a few things you need to know.

What makes them dangerous?

The risk of flames

Oil-based paints, spray paints and some varnishes can overheat and catch fire in certain conditions. Latex and water-based paints don’t pose this risk so they’re not classed as dangerous goods. You need to know how your product is classified before it is shipped.

The risk of spillage

As with all liquid shipments, there’s the potential for spillages when shipping paints and varnishes – particularly if they’re not packed properly. This can contaminate equipment, the environment, as well as other shipments.

What does this mean for my shipment?

Shipments containing paints and varnishes usually fall under the UN 1950 classification of dangerous goods regulations. To move these items safely and compliantly, they need to be packed, marked and documented in line with these regulations.


A failure to comply may cost you money and could result in accidents – putting your shipment and our staff at risk. That’s why you always need to inform us when you’re intending to ship paints and varnishes.


Find out more about UN dangerous goods classification, here.

We can help

Unsure whether your goods are dangerous or not? No problem. Just get in touch with our experts. They’ll answer all your questions.

Packing your shipment safely

Do it twice

It’s all about combination packaging. First, surround your paints with bubble wrap. Finally, place them in their tough, outer packaging.

Protect against leaks

Tightly seal your double-packed paints and varnishes in a bag or any other kind of wrapping. This way you’ll be better protected against leaks, should the worst happen.

Invest in locking rings

For the best possible protection, apply locking rings or lid clips to all cans of paint. These can be pricey but they are reusable.

While these tips are a general guide to help keep your sprays and aerosols securely packed, they may vary depending on the weight, volume and perceived risk of your goods. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to ensure your shipment complies with all required regulations – so be sure to take your time when packing.


Your goods’ Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can help provide more information about how to safely pack and prepare your perfumes for shipping. This can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website.


Want to learn more about keeping your paints and varnishes safe during transit? Click below for more information.

So how do I ship my perfumes?

The first time you ship dangerous goods, you’ll need to give us a call. Don’t worry, it won’t take long – and our experts will walk you through the process.


Any questions? We’re waiting to help.

TNT customer data to be migrated to FedEx Express effective on November 17, 2017. Find out more