Reusing tattoo needles has long been replaced by the use of disposable ones in reputable tattoo parlors. This is because using any implement that has come into contact with bodily fluids, like blood, can pose serious health threats to that person. Blood borne pathogens could be transferred from one individual to another if safety procedures are not followed. However, if you are a budding artist who wishes to practice on your own skin, you can reuse the needles so long as you sanitize your equipment correctly. It is important to remember that merely boiling the needle in water, soaking in alcohol, or even burning the used needles with a match are not sufficient steps to take in properly sterilizing tattoo needles. To be able to destroy all the living organisms that may be harbored in these implements, you need to use a steam sterilizer or autoclave. This equipment makes use of extremely high pressure and heat to get rid of pathogens. Here are the steps that you need to take to sterilize and be able to safely reuse a tattoo needle for your own use.
- Purchase an autoclave. Look for a medical supply store that stocks steam sterilizers. There are numerous reputable shops that also allow purchasing online. If you want to find the best deal, talk to proprietors of local tattoo and body piercing shops. They might know of suppliers that are not listed in phonebooks. If you are looking to buy secondhand equipment, look through websites like Craigslist and eBay. Make sure that you inspect the equipment to check whether it is working properly or not.
- Prep the autoclave for use. Before touching anything, put on sterile latex gloves. Clean the autoclave by washing the inside with water. Remove any debris trapped in the drain. Using a store-bought solution, descale the interior of the autoclave based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrub the interior with a cleaning brush specifically made for autoclaves. Rinse the equipment thoroughly. Allow the water to drain out and leave the equipment to dry. Set your autoclave on a level workspace. Switch the drain knob to its closed position.
- Wash and soak your used tattoo needles in bleach. Wear rubber gloves and apron for this step. Get the used tattoo needles and scrub them clean in a solution of soap and water. Rinse thoroughly. Get a small amount of bleach and put this in a small, shallow bowl. Put the needles into the bowl and leave it there for a few minutes. After soaking, carefully pick up the needles and rinse it a few more times.
- Sterilize the needles in the steamer. Pour hot water into the autoclave’s opening until it reaches the lip reservoir. Put all your needles in the autoclave basket or sterilization pouch and place these inside the machine. Close the lid and secure the latch. Switch the steamer on and set the timer to an hour or so depending on your machine’s specification. Once the cycle is complete, your needles are ready for reuse.
There is a new kind of equipment that can be used to sterilize your tattooing equipment. It is called an ultrasonic cleaner. This machine utilizes ultrasonic waves to cleanse even invisible dirt and microbes. This equipment can also be used to sterilize diamond jewelry, electronic components, glassware, and even fruits and vegetables.