5 TIPS FOR WORKING CLEAN in your tattoo studio
Tattooing is not a sterile procedure (compared to surgery). We do not work in a “clean room” with HEPA filters and iodine disinfectants for the skin etc. But it is a clean procedure and it is the professional artist’s job to keep their workspace and tools as clean as possible. This will not only ensure that the customer leaves the studio as healthy as they came in, but it will also provide a foundation for proper healing of their new tattoo.
1.) THE STUDIO
There is a reason why artists must work in studios. The work spaces in a studio are specially adapted so they can be easily cleaned daily and provide a safe environment for the artist and the customer. It is best to for the walls and floor to be covered in ceramic tiles, or other non porous material. Tests with UV dye have shown that tattoo machines emit a micro spray that can cover floors walls and ceilings. This spray can include pathogens that can stay behind after tattooing and increase the risk of spreading diseases and infections if not cleaned periodically.
2.) THE WORK TABLE
Work tables are usually made of stainless steel and covered with cling wrap for ease of cleaning. They should be cleaned periodically but more often then the studio. But the top surface where you put your ink caps and machines must have the cling wrap changed for every customer and then sprayed with a disinfectant. You put your machines there during work, so the work table is almost in immediate contact with the customer’s skin. The work table must be disinfected.
3.) NEEDLES AND TUBES
There is no two ways about this; Every needle and tube that comes into contact with a customer’s skin must be absolutely sterile. If you use stainless tubes/grips this means you have to autoclave them at the proper settings and inside individual sterilizing pouches that have the blue indicator on them. If the indicator has not turned blue during autoclaving, it means that the contents of the pouch have not been sterilized properly and need to be re-done. All sterilized equipment must be kept in the sterilized pouches marked with the date of sterilization and opened in front of the customer.
Needles and cartridges must also be kept in their individual blisters and opened in front of the customer. Care must be taken to check that the needle packaging is not past it’s best-by-date, as sterility of the contents cannot be guaranteed after that.
Machines are the hardest thing to keep clean. Many beautiful coil machines with intricate cast designs and cloth-wound coils are the hardest ones of the bunch. But there are methods to maintain a clean tattoo machine. Here they are from least to most effective.
First of all; it is best to cover your machine with the propper bag (same goes for the cable) to keep the major in spatters off it. If your machine can is designed to take it you should then first rinse it after you are done to get any in off (the LACEnano machine has no problem with being rinsed or dunked into water). Then you have 3 options;
a.) Clean it with disinfectant,
b.) Put it in a UV sterilizer or
c.) Autoclave it.
The LACEnano tattoo machine has been designed with a brushless motor, so the whole machine including the motor can be autoclaved without a problem and you get a truly sterile machine out of it. This is great for you and your customer as it takes one factor of risk out of the picture and is very professional. Now you can take the machine out of the autoclave bag in front of the customer, just like your stainless grips, needles or cartridges.
5.) SHARPS AND GLOVESLast but not least; make sure you have a sharps biohazard container in your studio and only throw needles and cartridges in there, never in the trash. Also; don’t even think about tattooing without gloves and if you are using vaseline on the tattooed skin make sure to get nitrile gloves so they do not fall apart on you. They are also great because they do not cause latex allergies like the normal white gloves can.
Keep it clean and stay safe!