How To Clean Tattoo Machines

People have marks on their bodies where some are gotten by accident while others are out of one’s choices. Tattoos have existed since time immemorial. They were there in the past and are there even in the current times only that the reasons have changed from time to time. In the past, people had tattoos on them as a mark of a rite of passage or to signify some rank, while nowadays, most people have tattoos for decoration purposes.

What Is A Tattoo?

A tattoo is a form of body mark made by inserting ink into the skin using needles, which is permanent but at times temporary. Tattooing is the art of making tattoos. There are three broad categories of tattoos: pictorial tattoos, symbolic tattoos, and purely decorative. Some tattoos are also used as a mark of identification. A tattoo can either be permanent or temporary.

What Are The Different Types Of Tattoos?

1. Traumatic Tattoos

This is a type of tattoo that occurs as a result of an accident. They are mostly hard to get rid of because substances such as gun powder are rubbed into a wound, and the substances get into several layers of the skin. These accidents are prone to coal miners since there are high risks of coal getting into any wound, leaving a permanent mark. Another example of an accident that would lead to the tattoo formation is stabbing someone with a pencil or pen, which leaves graphite or ink in the skin.

2. Cultural Connotations

In Traditional Societies, tattooing was used to signify different things such as bravery and courage, a mark of a rite of passage, oath of commitment to lovers, symbols of religious devotion, and marks of protection. Extensive decorative tattooing was popular among artists in the past. They were also used to punish wrongdoers who were identified as outcasts of a particular community. Tattooing is an art that existed in the past, but the difference between the past and present is the tools used and the steps followed during this process.

3. Identification Tattoos

In most cases, tattooing done for identification purposes is forcibly done without considering the victim’s stand on the matter. During colonial times, prisoners and slaves were tattooed for easy identification by the authorities. An example is the Chinese authorities who would apply facial tattoos to prisoners and slaves as punishment.

4. Medical Tattoos

Medical tattoos are made to ensure that surgical instruments are placed accurately during a repeated application of radiotherapy. Tattoos are also used for medical purposes, such as covering a particular skin disorder such as Vitiligo.

In 1898 a medical doctor Daniel Fouquet speculated that markings and other scarifications on the body might have been used for therapeutic purposes.

5. Cosmetic Tattoos

The use of Tattoos for beautification purposes is traced to have started a long time ago since traditionally, females had tattoos used as amulets and decorations. As times have changed, nowadays, makeup is the new order for ladies. Tattooing can be used to permanently serve as makeup for a particular part of the body to enhance beauty. Permanent makeup in tattooing is done in parts such as the eyebrows, lips as a lip liner, and eyes as eyeliner. The tattoo is done with specific designs and uses particular colors, especially natural ones.

Tattoos involve the shedding of blood, and therefore, the process must be done with utmost precaution since many consequences would be faced in case of carelessness. One of the precautions that should be observed is ensuring that the tools used are highly sterilized, and different people shouldn’t share the needles. Below are some ways one can clean tattoo machines since hygiene is a basic necessity in this process that can’t be overlooked.

How Can One Clean Tattoo Machines?

A clean tattooing machine is a safe machine to use both for the client and the artist. One way of maintaining a tattoo machine and making it reliable is by ensuring it’s clean. Therefore it’s vital to ensure the tattooing machine is kept clean, and below are some of the ways to ensure that.
Step 1.

The first thing that should be done is to remove the ink stains from the machine. This is done best using a moist paper towel on any device. If the machine has a removable motor or can be submerged in water, one can rinse under running water. It’s important to note that one shouldn’t immerse a machine with non-removable brushes in water because the graphite brushes could get spoiled.

One can use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the machine. It works by setting high-frequency sounds through the fluid in the ultrasonic cleaner, which is why one should submerge the tattooing machine in the liquid. The ultrasonic then vibrates, shaking off all ink leftovers, even the ones in hidden corners. This is the most recommended method to clean the tattooing machine before proceeding to sterilize them.
Step 2

Sterilizing the tattooing machine can be done using either of the machines below:

• Chemical Cleaners

The chemical cleaners kill germs either by destroying their cells or providing an environment that doesn’t support their existence leading to death. The chemical disinfectants are availed by the medical industry and are easily accessible.

• UV Sterilizers

Sterilizers kill germs by exposing them to strong ultraviolet rays, intense enough to destroy the DNA of the germs, causing their death; hence they stop becoming a threat. This happens after the tattooing machine is placed in the sterilizer and surfaces exposed to ultraviolet rays. It’s important to note that the rays can damage parts of the machine made of rubber by making them wear out quickly.

While the tattooing machine is in the sterilizer, it’s vital to keep turning it to allow all parts to be exposed to ultraviolet rays.

• Autoclaves

Autoclaves use dry or wet steam depending on the type to kill germs. This is done under high pressure. Wet steam goes up to 135 degrees Celsius while the dry steam autoclaves go higher than that. For better results, the tattooing machine should stay in the autoclave for a more extended period. High temperatures beyond the boiling point explode pathogens, and nothing is left to survive in a temperature such as that. Using an autoclave is the best way of sterilization, and it’s the most recommended for all surgical instruments.

By following the above few but critical easy steps, the machine is in good shape to be used again on another client. It’s vital to keep the tattooing process clean and safe.


It’s interesting how some marks, either small or big, on our bodies, could carry with them a lot of meaning. Most tattoos are of significant importance to some people as no one would go through the pain and hustle to get them.

Even with the interest of getting a tattoo, it’s vital to ensure that the machines used are clean and highly sterilized to avoid contracting any diseases or infections as its better prevention than cure.

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