Some of the tattoo artist’s tools are not disposable. Some of the
equipment that is used during the tattoo process will be re-used
again on another client. The preferred method is to use as much
expendable material as possible during the tattoo process; however
some things just simply cost too much money to discard or
are not available in a disposable format. This is where the autoclave
comes into play in the tattoo studio.
Any item that comes in contact with human skin, blood, or bodily
fluids must be properly sanitized and sterilized. A majority of
tattoo studios will use non-disposable tubes, tips, and grips, but
it is less common to see needle bars reused. The needle bar is
the portion of the needle that slips around the armature bar via a
bent loop. The needles are then soldered onto the needle bar in
groupings. These and many other items in the tattoo studio fall
into the category of items that must be autoclaved.

What is an autoclave? The autoclave is a machine that emits
heat and manipulates the atmospheric pressure in a confined
area. The instruments are placed in this confined area for a
specific amount of time to ensure that an acceptable amount of
microorganisms are destroyed. Autoclave is the final process
in prepping multi-use materials, prior to their next usage. There
are many types of autoclaves, with just as numerous variants in
ability. The most commonly used type of autoclave in the tattoo
industry is the steam element type. There are also dry heat and
chemical sterilization processes and equipment that can effectively
obtain the same results that will remain within medical
It is always best to consult a physician or reputable manufacturer
of the autoclave that is in use in the tattoo studio that you
will operate out of. Find out how to test your autoclave to ensure
that it is actually working. It is also very important to understand
the process that the tattoo studio uses to identify, label, and
store reusable items after they have been sent through the autoclave

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