My sister is turning twenty-one this summer and as her older sister, I feel like it's my job to help her celebrate. Unfortunately, she lives in Pennsylvania, and I live in Iowa, so I won't actually be able to spend her birthday taking her to get her first legal drink.

Kind of a bummer, right?

When I was reminded of this, I thought of maybe looking into sending her a bottle of champagne or something.

Then I started looking into the actual process of mailing her any sort of alcohol and quickly realized how complicated it seemed.

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What Items Can You Not Send in the Mail in Iowa?

Unsplash - Brian Patrick Tagalog
Unsplash - Brian Patrick Tagalog

There are certain items that you should never mail out in the state of Iowa. With other items, you'll have to make sure you follow the correct rules and guidelines.

Ammunition & Firearms

Howcast via YouTube
Howcast via YouTube

Sending out firearms is highly regulated, and they can only be mailed through licensed dealers and manufacturers.

In addition, propellant powders, primers as well as small arms ammunition are considered to be "hazardous materials" thus are prohibited, according to the United States Postal Inspection Service.


Alexander Kagan, Unsplash
Alexander Kagan, Unsplash

Can I get a big DUH!?!

This also includes fireworks.

Flammable Materials


According to the USPIS, items like lighter fluid, paints, matches, as well as aerosols are restricted due to how flammable they are.



Old thermometers and barometers that contain mercury can be toxic if they leak. So, mailing these or any item with mercury in it is a big NO, according to the Postal Explorer via the USPS site.

Lithium Batteries

Don't worry about your tiny lithium batteries! Those can actually be mailed depending on the circumstances.

However, bigger lithium batteries, like ones you'd use for an electric car are COMPLETELY prohibited. This is because of their risk of exploding.

Alcoholic Beverages

Unsplash - Adam Wilson
Unsplash - Adam Wilson

If you want to mail your buddy a can of Busch Lite, it will prove to be difficult.

While it is illegal to mail booze through USPS, there are special circumstances where alcoholic beverages can be sent out in Iowa.

You can actually mail it out if you are a licensed alcohol shipper through FedEx and UPS, according to reports.

Controlled Substances and Illegal Drugs

Unsplash - Colin Davis
Unsplash - Colin Davis

Illegal drugs are sort of an obvious one, right?

However, controlled substances are a different story.

You actually need proper authorization if you are sending out prescription medication.

Hazardous Biological Materials

Some of these are pretty obvious.

If you're unsure of what exactly a "hazardous biological material" is, it's a biological substance that threaten the health of living organisms.

A few things that fall under this umbrella include human blood, plasma, animal waste, pathological waste, and molds, according to reports.

USPS Says These Items are Prohibited, Restricted, and Non-Mailable

Before you go to drop a package at the post office, be sure you are not trying to mail one of these prohibited, restricted, or non-mailable items.

Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals

Stay up to date with everything going on in Eastern Iowa by downloading the free station app from your app store. Also, do not forget to follow the station across all social media platforms for the latest news updates.

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Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

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