How to Clean a Tattoo Gun at Home

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To keep tattooing safe, the gun has to be cleaned regularly.
To keep tattooing safe, the gun has to be cleaned regularly. (Image: tattoo woman image by ennavanduinen from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Getting a tattoo can be fun or grueling, depending on your feelings about needles, but more people than can easily be counted do it every day. In order to make sure that customers get safe and hygienic tattoos, it's important to make sure that the tattoo gun is cleaned and all the parts scrubbed down after each tattooing session. This process can be tiresome and complicated at first, but it's a necessity for keeping things sterile.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterilization bags
  • Autoclave
  • Latex gloves
  • Sonic cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Bleach
  • Medical sharps container

Put on latex gloves and disassemble the tattoo gun. You will be removing the tip, grips and the ink tube from the tattoo gun.

Put the tips and the tube in warm water mixed with bleach. Spray down the grips with disinfectant spray, and then place them in the water as well.

Take the tube, grips and tip out of the warm water. The needle is thrown away in a medical waste sharps container. The other parts are wiped down and put inside the sonic cleaner's cleaning basket. This cleaning process shakes residue off of the tattoo gun parts.

Place the tattoo gun tube, grips and tips each into a separate sterilization bag. These bags are chemically treated so that when the contents have been properly heated, a strip on the back of the bag changes from pink to gray. Seal the sterilization bags, and place the tools each in a separate autoclave tray.

Fill the autoclave halfway with water, and then put in the trays with the sealed bags. If you have only one tray, then autoclave each tool separately. An autoclave works like a pressure cooker, creating heat that will kill all of the germs and bacteria that might be forming on the tattoo gun parts and making them sterile again. The autoclave process takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Throw your gloves away in a medical waste bag.

Tips & Warnings

  • While you can easily transport all of the necessary cleaning tools to a home to clean a tattoo gun, it's often easier just to have the cleaners in the same place where the tattooing will be done.
  • Don't skimp on supplies. It's very important that a tattoo gun be as clean as possible to prevent infection. When wiping the gun clean, make sure that you get into all the crevices and nooks to wipe out any potential dirt or blood.

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