The thing you need every time you are tattooing is the tattoo machine. It can be infected with fungus, bacteria which is extremely risky for the person getting the tattoo. To give the best experience to your client, your machine should be cleaned and sterilized at all times. Think what your clients will think if they see a rusty and dirty tattoo gun when they walk into the shop for the first time. That will ruin the first impression.
By now it should be clear why you should clean the tattoo machine.
Steps to Clean the Machine
- Clean the cover
- Clean the machine
- Disinfect it
- Clean needles and cartridges
You’ll need boiled water and some bleach. Mix them to make a cleaning mixture. You will also need a disinfectant spray to clean the grip. A medical treatment container to dispose of the used needles. Warm cloth or tissue paper is a convenient thing to have. A sonic basket would be good if you have one or we can sterilize without the help of it.
2. Clean the cover
Whether it is a rotary or coil tattoo machine its handle should always be covered with a grip to avoid being contaminated by blood and liquid. This is also helpful for the artist to get a grip. Disassemble the grip from the machine and then put it in the water mixture for 5 minutes. Then use the spray to disinfect it. This is recommended to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.
3. Clean the machine
First, disassemble the machine and put it into several parts. Then start from the first part you see suitable to you. It may be a little bit tricky to clean every corner of the machine. You may need a cotton-tipped applicator to reach out to every last cranny of the machine. Wipe all the parts of the machine. It should be clean enough from the outside but it still needs to be sterilized before using again.
4. Disinfecting the machine
Now that your machine is as shiny as a new one now you can make progress to disinfecting it. For the next part, you can use the same spray we used to clean grips to clean the machine parts and give it 10 minutes to get dried up. It should be effective by that time. Do it for all the parts inside and out. Use medical gloves every time you do this because you do not want the machine to contaminate you or you contaminating the machine.
Next, you should use an alcohol pad or solution to clean it again.
It is important to clean all the equipment along with the tattoo machine like grips and tubes, cables, and of course your power supply as well as your working place, tattoo (client) chair, and so on.
5. Autoclaving Your Equipment
It is crucial to be in the safest possible situation in this pandemic. The safest way to avoid cross-contamination and eliminating all germs, viruses, and bacteria is an autoclave. The above procedure is effective but to reduce the chance of contamination more autoclaving is a must. So if you have a good autoclave machine! but if you don’t then don’t worry you can always use cold sterilization.
6. Cold Sterilization
Cold sterilization is more like a chemical bath. These take much longer (8 to 24 hours) to be effective but are a good method of getting your equipment usable for the next customer. But if you have ultrasonic cleaner then you can use their high frequency. Though it is not as safe as autoclaving, so you should be careful while using one of these methods.
7. Tattoo Needle Cartridges
They are the most convenient to have if you are unable to use an autoclave for some reason. Cartridges help by sealing the way so that blood or liquid can’t enter the tube, grip, or tattoo machine. They should be cleaned or changed after each session.