How to Keep a Tattoo Clean While Tattooing: Clean Your Tattoo Regularly

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There are many different ways to keep a tattoo clean while tattooing, and those methods will depend on the type of tattoo you’re doing. This blog post will go through some of those methods and explain how you can keep your client’s tattoo as sanitary as possible so they can heal better and faster with less risk for infection.

Before we get started, we should go over what we mean by “tattoo”. A traditional or black and gray colored tattoo is done exclusively with ink, whereas tattoos that use color all require an area of bare skin called a substrate to attach colors too. Regardless of what kind of colors your client may want in their tattoo, this advice will apply equally well to both types.

In addition, tattooing can also be done on a client’s eyelid, neck, lips, or any other skin area. That’s why it’s very important to use the correct technique for each of those areas so that you don’t accidentally ruin more than your intended tattoo. Many people make mistakes by trying to tattoo their eyelids when they’re not used to their own face being tattooed before them. The same goes for tattooing on the neck and lips; some artists are just not comfortable with these areas due to their unfamiliarity and prefer not to get involved with them.

how to keep a tattoo clean while tattooing
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How to Keep a Tattoo Clean While Tattooing

Painting Your Tattoo

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of tattoos and how they’re done, let’s talk about what you can do to keep your client’s tattoos clean while they heal. Painting is a very popular method of keeping a tattoo clean, and you’ll discover that many artists do it this way. In order to use this method, the client will usually keep the area of skin that they want tattooed clean by using baby wipes or antibacterial soap on the area before their appointment. Make sure not to use anything with heavy perfumes or scented soaps as they can cause allergic reactions in some people.

An artist can then outline the tattoo with a marking pen. This is usually done in one sitting, so it’s important to get an accurate outline before the procedure begins. If you make any mistakes, you’ll have to fix them later if they’re not noticeable at first glance. Once the outline is completed, you can go ahead and start tattooing whatever colors they desire. For each color that you use, wipe away the ink on your machine and then wipe off your client’s skin with baby wipes or damp cloth before applying a new color. If you don’t wipe off each area before applying another color over it, those colors will mix and muddy up other areas around them. It’s very important to not only keep your client’s tattoo clean but also to keep the surrounding skin as clean as possible.

Ink Blotting

Another common way to keep a client’s tattoo clean while they heal is called ink blotting. This is a very simple method that involves blotting excess ink off of the skin while it’s still wet. There are many different brands of ink blotting papers on the market, but if you’re sticking with traditional black and gray tattoos then you can use one of those instead of using actual blotters. The most popular are NYX-brand blotters for black and gray, but I’m sure there are other brands as well. You can also use laser print paper, but that’s not what ink blotters are made of and will tear up easily.

To use the ink blotting method, you just have to make sure that you’re getting all of the excess ink off of your client’s skin. It’s more time-consuming than painting, but it is a very simple and effective way to keep your client’s skin clean while they heal. The only downside to this method is that it can be a little messy for the artist; however, if you put some sort of plastic down on your workstation before tattooing then you won’t have to worry about ruining anything.

Stencils And Transfer Sheets

A less popular method of keeping a tattoo clean while tattooing is using a stencil and transfer paper. This is great for tattoos that have small areas of color within them, but it’s not ideal for people who want to put colors all over their skin. I like this method because it eliminates the cleaning process between each color; you just apply the stencil and then go straight to tattooing the next area (or colors). However, there are some downsides to this method as well.

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If there are forms or curves in your stencil, then it will make it difficult to use your stencil again in the future. If your stencil is not made out of plastic, then it will warp when used and you’ll have to buy a new one. That said, this method is great for cleaning up an old tattoo or touching up an area of a tattoo that has old colors in it. It’s also ideal for small tattoos that don’t need to be outlined first, such as the names of loved ones.

Notes On Keeping Your Tattoo Clean While Tattooing

Regardless of which method you use to keep your client’s tattoo clean while tattooing, make sure that you’re being careful when working with the stencils and paper. I’ve torn my fair share of stencils when taking them out of the package, and I’ve also had a few sheets of transfer paper rip on me when I was removing them from around my client’s skin. Those accidents can ruin your client’s tattoo if they tear up any important parts, so it’s important to be very careful. You should also consider investing in a digital camera and some flash discs so that you can photograph your client’s body before tattooing them and then afterward show them how their new tattoo looked as it was healing.

Tips and Tricks for Each Tattoo Cleaning Method

So now we’ve discussed the different methods of cleaning and keeping your tattoo clean while they heal; here are some tips and tricks for each method.

  • Blotting: For blotting, it’s important to keep the ink off of the client’s skin before you start any outlines. Blotting is less messy for your client, but it does take more time to do. You will only want to use this method if your client’s tattoo is small and doesn’t need to be outlined.
  • Painting: For painting, it’s very important to cover up any surfaces that you don’t want to be inked up during the healing process. You also need to make sure that you’re wiping off all of the ink from your machine between colors on your client; otherwise, you’ll get a muddy mess. You’ll have to wipe off the skin with a damp cloth or baby wipes for each color as well.
  • Transfer Paper: For using a stencil and transfer paper, it’s very important to make sure that the form of the stencil is not problematic when using it again in the future. If you’re using a laser printer to print off your stencils, then they will not be reusable when they become too damaged. You also need to make sure that you are wiping away any excess ink while your client is getting tattooed; otherwise, you’ll just be rubbing ink all over their body.
  • Regardless of the method that you use to clean your client and their tattoo while they’re healing, it’s important to make sure that you are cleaning everything up as well. I strongly suggest washing your hands before and after every session so that you don’t spread any germs or nasty diseases around. You should also wear gloves when applying ointments and topical solutions so that your hands will be safe from any excess ink or pigment. If your client is using a topical cream, then they can put it directly on their skin without having to worry about smearing it all over the place from their fingers.
  • When it comes to tattooing, there are a lot of different aspects to consider. You need to make sure that your artist station is clean and everything is sterilized before you start on your client’s skin; otherwise, you’re just spreading germs around. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t think about the cleaning aspect when they get a new tattoo, so here are some tips for keeping things clean during the tattooing process. You can share these tips with your clients and educate them about keeping their skin clean while healing as well. All this work is necessary so that you can get them a great tattoo, and your clients will appreciate the effort that you put into it!

How to Properly Maintain a Tattoo

A tattoo is permanent, so it’s important to take care of it properly. Here are some steps you can take to keep your tattoo looking fresh for many years to come.

  • Aftercare
  • Sunscreen
  • General skincare
  • Bacterial infections
  • Healing time 
  • Getting your tattoo colored
  • Treatments
  • What to avoid
  • Manufacturer warranty
  • Don’t forget to use common sense and safety first!
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After getting a new tattoo, you will have to make sure that you take care of it properly so that it will heal well. This means following a few instructions for the first few weeks after getting your ink done.

  • Keep the tattoo clean and dry. Clean away any excess blood with water and mild soap immediately after getting your tattoo finished, then pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. If any significant bleeding occurs, press down on the area hard so that it doesn’t soak into the mat. Most artists provide masks or medical tape to cover your tattoo while it heals, but if you don’t have these supplies then apply a bandage instead.
  • Avoid any hot objects that may burn the tattoo. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and do not keep the tattoo in a hot tub. Though they seem like great ideas at the time, putting your new tattoo underwater will be bad for it; note to mention you may run into some health problems while doing so.
  • Keep the area clean and dry as well when you go shower or bathe. This will help prevent unwanted staining.


Sunscreen is a must-have for anyone who has a sunburn or sun exposure on their skin at all times! That’s because your skin is very delicate and opens up to air easily. Because of this, it is more sensitive than most people imagine. Sunlight directly can cause your skin to age faster and can damage your skin cells, causing things like freckles and faded color in tattoos.

To prevent this, use sunscreen on your skin when you go out in the sun, or even just outside in the shade. Sunscreen will not only prevent you from being burned by sunlight but can also help keep your tattoo looking fresh longer.

  • We recommend wearing sunscreen that has SPF 15 or higher on it at all times to reduce the risk of burning.
  • Apply sunscreen every morning and before going out in the sun.

General skincare

Your tattoo will look better when you take care of it. Doing so can prevent infection and ensure that your tattoo will eventually look as good as it did when you first had it done.

  • Don’t wear a shirt that is too loose. This way the ink in your tattoo can move around freely and if there are any problems with the placement, you’ll know about them sooner rather than later.
  • Wash or cleanse your tattoo after each shower or bath. Try not to wear any clothing with tight cracks near your tattoo as they can pick up makeup or dirt.
  • Make sure you wash off any lotions, oils, or other chemicals before getting in the shower or bath. This can lead to an infection, which could cause further complications for your tattoo.

Bacterial infections

It is important that you take care of your new tattoo if you want it to stay vibrant and healthy for many years. Unfortunately, a small thing like getting a bacterial infection can lead to major complications (in some extreme cases) such as scarring and even rejection of the ink. This is why you should always do your best to wash it properly.

  • Wash your tattoo every day during the healing process.
  • Avoid touching the tattoo for a week after getting it done (except when washing).

Healing time

The healing period for your tattoo will vary depending on a few things, such as the location of it and how deep it is. Here’s what you can expect when you first get a tattoo:

1 week – During this time, your skin will be very irritated, flaky, red, and tender to the touch. This stage will last for around two or three days after getting your ink finished with an artist.

3 weeks – After this, your skin will begin to heal. The color of the tattoo will become lighter and it may look like there is a scab or crust on top of your new tattoo. Your skin should be pretty much all healed after this point.

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6 weeks – For some tattoos, the healing process will be over at this point. But for others, you need more time. Depending on where your new ink is placed and how deep it is, you may need up to a month to completely heal it completely.

If you have a breakout or feel your skin getting worse, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Getting your tattoo colored

Because tattoos are permanent, it is even more important to choose the right place to get yours done. Since you will want it to look good for many years, here are some things you should take into consideration:

  • Make sure your artist uses sterile needles and sterilized inks that were made to be used on the skin. Using something like this can prevent infection and give you peace of mind knowing that what your artist is using on you is safe and can help keep your tattoo looking great for many years.
  • Instead of using bandages to cover your tattoo, you should use medical tape, which is safe and effective in covering up your new ink. Again, this can help keep the ink clean and make sure it doesn’t gain any infections.
  • If you want a more natural look, then consider getting a tattoo that is placed on more of a background (rather than one that is placed right in the middle of your skin). This will make it look like one with some blending, rather than being raised. If your placement is right in the middle of your skin or if you are going for an all-over color then your tattoo can look blotchy instead if there are big imperfections in the placement of pigment.
  • Make sure your artist doesn’t skimp on the ink. If they do, the color may fade over time, which can cause complications to your tattoo for many years and make it impossible for you to fix it.
  • See if you can get a little sample of ink or ask them to show you a successful drawing from their portfolio before getting inked by them. You want to make sure that your tattoo artist has a history of creating great tattoos and knows what they are doing with yours. If you have any questions about their previous work, then ask them about it.

Avoiding Infection

If you are getting your tattoo colored then it is important to know about infections so that you can avoid them at all costs. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when getting your tattoo colored:

  • Avoid swimming for at least a month. This is because the ink that you get infused with will wash out of your skin quicker than normal if you are immersed in the water.
  • Avoid sun exposure for 30 days before getting it done so that the ink can actually absorb into your skin.
  • Don’t wear tight, tight clothing around your tattoo for two weeks after getting it done. Your skin will need time to “prep” itself and loosen up around it so be careful with what you wear to prevent infection or damage.
  • Be sure to tell your tattoo artist if you are allergic to latex. Many tattoos are placed with latex gloves and it is important that you aren’t sensitive or allergic to this so that nothing can happen to your new ink.
  • Avoid sleeping on your tattoo for a week and don’t touch it too much during the time that it is healing.

Take into consideration what I have told you above about washing it properly and making sure that you avoid anything that could damage the appearance of your tattoo (like touching) while it is healing. This can help keep infections at an all-time minimum.


In closing, keep your client’s tattoo clean by following the guidelines that I’ve laid out for you here. There are many different ways to do things, but this is the best way for most situations (especially if you don’t have a lot of experience). Utilize the different procedures discussed here, along with some extra precautionary measures like using laser printer paper or plastic stencils, to keep your client’s skin clean while they heal. You’ll soon find that it’s easy to tattoo by using the methods I’ve discussed here and that you’ll have happy clients who come back in the future.