How to clean your tattoo machine – LACEnano
How to clean your tattoo machine

How to clean your tattoo machine

A clean machine is a safe machine, there are no two ways about it; both for the client and for the artist. Furthermore; a clean machine is also a reliable machine and the cleaning process is when you have a few moments to take a better look at you machine and see if there are any issues with it that need addressing like worn out bushings, cracked springs on a coil, exposed wires, cracked frames etc. You can’t be worrying about these things when you are in the middle of a tattoo session with a customer.


Ok, so back to the actual cleaning part; First you have to get the major ink drops etc off the machine. This is best done with a moist paper towel on any machine. Or if you have a machine with a removable motor or a machine that can be submerged with the motor (like the LACEnano) you can rinse the machine under running water. Do not rinse machines that have non-removable brushed motors because you will damage the graphite brushes inside. Some naked frame coil machines or the ones that have the bobbins made out of absorbent materials also won’t like water.

After you have gone thru the rinsing part you can proceed in one of four ways:


There are several chemical disinfectants available from the medical industry; they kill germs by destroying their cell membranes or providing a bad environment in which the germs can’t survive. This is a large topic and we will go into this in a future blogspot.

Their are suitable for all tattoo machines.


These work by exposing the surfaces of the machine to intense UV light. Much like the sun, but much more intense; they destroy the DNA in germs, so the germs stop functioning and are no longer a threat. But UV light can also wreak havoc on painted machine frames, it will also accelerate the degradation of any rubber parts that your machine has and if you have exposed copper on your coil machine, the UV rays will age the insulating clear lacquer on the copper wires and the coil will soon short circuit.

So be careful with what you put in a UV sterilizer. Also; you will probably have to turn your machine several times, because the parts of the machine that are in the shade will not sterilize properly.


They work by sending what is basically a very high frequency sound (that humans can’t hear) thru the fluid in the ultrasonic bath that you submerge your machine in. The machine then vibrates at that frequency and “shakes off” any leftover ink, and much hiding in the corners. Ultrasonic cleaners do not sterilize, they only clean; you will still need to use one of the other three methods to sterilize your machine.

Any electronic parts are not safe in an ultrasonic cleaner, neither are any enameled copper wires. So no motors (even brushless ones) or coils! Do not put your LACEnano tattoo machine in an ultrasonic cleaner. The ultrasonic action will strip the enamel off the copper wire in any motor after a few times in there and the motor will short circuit.


They work by destroying germs with wet or dry steam (depending on the type)under high pressure.
Wet steam types go up to 135°C, dry steam types go higher and you need to leave the machine in them longer. The high temperature environment that is above the boiling point of water basically boils and “explodes” any pathogens. Nothing can survive a few minutes in such an environment. This is the best level of sterilization and that is also the reason that all surgical instruments are sterilized in this way.

If your machine has a detachable motor you can autoclave the body of the machine, just make sure you use autoclave spec grease if your machine needs grease. Or, ideally; if you have a LACEnano you can put the whole thing in; motor and all. The LACEnano machine uses no grease, the bearings are autoclavable dental bearings and the brushless motor was specifically designed to take the 135°C heat without a problem. It is the only tattoo machine on the market that can go in the autoclave with the motor, so you get a truly surgical grade sterilized machine out of it. For your and your customer’s peace of mind.

Keep it clean and stay safe!

LACEnano team