Tattooing – Infection Prevention and Control
What Do I Need to Do Before I Start Tattooing?
- Record the client’s name, address, telephone number, date and type of procedure, and the name of the tattoo artist.
- Keep client records and accidental exposures on-site for at least one year and on file for at least five years.
- Cover all light fixtures, spray bottles and parts of the tattoo machine that cannot be cleaned and disinfected. Use single-use plastic wrap. New plastic wrap must be used for each client.
- Clean and disinfect headrests, worktables, and chairs between clients. Use a low-level disinfectant
- Inspect the area of the skin that will be tattooed for inflammation or a rash. Avoid tattooing within 6 inches of skin that is red, swollen, infected or with a rash.
- Clean your hands before putting on single-use disposable gloves and after removing gloves.
- Use a new pair of single-use disposable gloves for each client.
- Clean the area of the skin with an approved antiseptic such as 70% isopropyl alcohol. Use a disposable swab.
- Deodorant sticks are not recommended for applying stencils.
- Dispense any creams, lotions, ointments, and ink in a way that prevents contamination – use a pump or disposable ink cap stick.
- If a razor is required to shave the area, it must be sterile and discarded immediately after use, Discard the razor into an approved sharps container. Sharps containers cannot be discarded with municipal garbage.
Can I Prepare My Own Needles?
- Toronto Public Health recommends using needles and needle bars that have been purchased pre-packaged, sterile and ready for use. Keep records for these items on-site for one year and on file for five years.
- If the needles are prepared by the artist, the needles must be purchased pre-packaged and sterile. The needle and needle bar must then be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner, re-packaged and sterilized before use. The date the item was sterilized must be written on the package.
- Remove prepackaged sterile instruments and needles from their packaging in front of the clients.
- Discard needles and needle bars into an approved sharps container immediately after use. Sharps containers cannot be discarded with municipal garbage.
What Do I Need to Know About Sterilizing My Equipment in an Autoclave?
- Any item being sterilized must first be cleaned. An ultrasonic cleaner can be used to clean instruments before sterilization.
- All items must be packaged before being sterilized.
- Autoclaves must be monitored to ensure they are working properly.
- There are three types of monitoring that are required; biological, chemical and physical.
Biological monitoring (spore testing) must be done every 2 weeks. You must send the strip tests to a laboratory for testing. A passed (negative) spore test means the sterilizer is working properly. A failed (positive) spore test means the sterilizer is not working properly. Keep copies of the spore test results on site for a year and on file for 5 years.
**Do not use sterilized items or instruments until AFTER you receive the passed (negative) spore test results**
Three consecutive spore tests must be conducted if:
- The autoclave fails a spore test.
- A new autoclave is used.
- The autoclave has not been in use for more than 2 weeks.
- The autoclave has been repaired.
- The business moves to a new fixed location.
Chemical monitoring must be done every time you use the autoclave. This means that all instrument packages must have a heat sensitive indicator on the outside. The indicator will change colour if the instrument has gone through a cycle in the autoclave. It does not tell you if the instrument was sterilized properly.
Physical monitoring means keeping a record for each load. You must write down the date, time, duration, amount of equipment, temperature, pressure and the person who is responsible for the sterilization load. These records must be on site for one year and on file for five years. The date an item is sterilized must also be written on the package. Before writing, wait for the item to dry and be careful not to tear the package with your pen. A sticker can also be used with the sterilization date.
What Should I Do If My Autoclave Fails a Spore Test?
- Do not use any equipment from the failed load and any items sterilized after the last passed spore test.
- You can use any equipment sterilized during the time when the autoclave passed the spore test or use purchased pre-packaged sterile items.
- Report the failed spore test to Toronto Public Health.
What Should I Do If My Heat Indicator Does Not Change Colour?
- Reprocess those same items immediately using an indicator. If the indicator fails again, stop using any equipment from the failed indicator tests and conduct a spore test right away.
- Use equipment reprocessed from the last passed spore test or use purchased, pre-packaged, sterile items until you get the spore test results.
What Do I Need to Know About the Ink Caps and Ink?
- Toronto Public Health recommends using disposable ink caps. Ink caps must be cleaned and disinfected before use. Use an intermediate-level disinfectant such as 70% isopropyl alcohol.
- Discard disposable ink caps after each client. Discard any leftover ink. Use a new disposable ink cap, if additional ink is required during the procedure.
- Sterilize reusable ink caps between clients.
- If an ink cap holder is used, it must be cleaned and disinfected between clients. Use a high-level disinfectant.
Do I Need to Give Aftercare Instructions?
Yes. Every client should be told and receive written information on how to care for their skin after their tattoo and what they should do if their skin becomes red, swollen or uncomfortable
- Cleaning instruments
- Disinfection of Instruments & Equipment
- Hand Hygiene
- Reporting failed spore results
- Routine Infection Control Practices
- Sterilization of Instruments & Equipment
- Tattooing Needle Cartridge System