As a professional tattoo artist, you have a responsibility to provide your clients with a positive, health-conscious experience. In order to build customer loyalty and a solid reputation for yourself, you need to maintain an extremely clean work environment and have an arsenal of medical supplies at your fingertips. Building a repeat customer base is 10 times easier when your clients know they aren’t at risk of catching any life-threatening diseases by getting a tattoo from your studio.
The most obvious necessity to ensure cleanliness is the disinfectant wipe. Not only do you need to keep your needles and other supplies sterile, you also need to keep your client’s tattoo area clean and free of germs and bacteria. These wipes come in packs and can usually be bought for less than 10 dollars.
Wearing quality gloves while tattooing a client is critical for your health. There are a bunch of deadly diseases that are transferred via blood that you don’t want to take a risk of catching. Tattoo gloves are typically made of thicker material than the gloves you’re used to seeing medical staff wear.
You’ll want to use non-latex gloves, as some customers may have a latex allergy. Talk to them about their specific allergies beforehand, as an allergic reaction during the procedure is a nightmare for all parties involved. Gloves that don’t have any powder on them are ideal.
The color of the gloves you wear is important as well. Since your customer may watch the tattooing procedure, he or she will almost certainly see blood. Since some people begin to feel nauseous and uneasy at the sight of blood, most tattoo artists prefer to wear black gloves instead of white or light-colored gloves. Black gloves are the most commonly sold, although tattoo gloves come in any color you prefer. Always keep in mind what’s best for the client rather than your own color tastes. After all, the tattoo session is an experience for the client, whether he or she is a seasoned tattoo lover or someone brand new to body art.
These simple little tools are great for transferring ointments from one container to another without contaminating either container. You can get hundreds of these in a box for less than 10 bucks, and they’ll last you plenty of sessions. Most tongue depressors are splinter-free, have polished edges and can be used for plenty of other things you may encounter while tattooing.
An often-overlooked item that helps keep your workstation sterile is the cord sleeve. These disposable sleeves are placed over the cord of your tattoo gun and prevent ink and blood from plastering the wire. Once you’re done with your current device and need to switch to another, you can do so without worrying about the possibility of cross contamination. These are lightweight and won’t distract you from your project. They’re also manufactured in a way that keeps them snug on the cord but won’t restrict its mobility, allowing you to move freely while tattooing.
It would be insane to throw needles or wipes into a regular trash can. Getting rid of needles and other medical waste that comes from all these disposable supplies is made way easier when using a sharps container. These are the red containers you see in doctors’ offices and other medical facilities. There’s a max fill line about two-thirds of the way up on the container that should always be considered. You don’t want to overfill these waste containers, as they’re carrying hazardous waste.
We can’t discuss must-have medical equipment for tattoo professionals without mentioning autoclaves. This is the one device you do not want to be without. An autoclave is a device that decontaminates your tattoo equipment by exposing it to intense steam at high pressure. It takes around 40 minutes to completely sterilize the tools and have them ready for use again. It’s important that you buy an autoclave that is made by a reputable company, as there are many inexpensive versions that have a high failure rate and can put you and your clients at risk. This is true of autoclaves just as it’s true for your favorite tattoo machine or tattoo gun. The most reliable medical equipment often comes at a higher price tag.
Keep in mind, state laws typically regulate which medical supplies tattoo artists must keep in their studio. Regulations also outline very specifically the types of cleaning procedures that must take place before, during and after a tattoo session. These regulations are in place to protect both you and your clients. Regulators are swift to revoke licenses for even the slightest infractions or disregard of these regulations. And with online reviews being so easily accessible for nearly anyone to read or write, a negative review about the uncleanliness of your tattoo studio can be detrimental to your business.