If there’s one way Americans love to express themselves and their creativity, it’s getting a tattoo. Around 14% of Americans (of all ages) have at least one tattoo and there are approximately 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States.
Whether you’re looking to ink yourself with a skull and crossbones, a tribute to a loved one or your personal life motto, there are dozens of popular tattoos and artistic designs to choose from when choosing a tattoo.
Behind all those great tattoo ideas is a tattoo artist. As skilled as they are at making customers’ ideas into reality, it’s important for them to follow proper sterilization procedures and keep their equipment up to date.
For tattoo artists and tattoo parlor owners, there are many ways to equipment sterilized and safe. Typically there are four types of sterilization: dry heat, steam, gas and cold sterilization.
When it comes to sterilization, steam cleaning using an autoclave is the common way to do it. Autoclaves are relatively inexpensive and pretty easy to maintain.
If you’re wondering what in the heck an autoclave is, picture something like a pressure cooker. But it’s important to note a couple of important things about using autoclaves here:
- Autoclaves work using hot water, which then produces steam. The steam gets caught in the machine’s steam clave and pressure is built within the container. The steam within an autoclave typically reaches about 270 degrees Fahrenheit and around 30 psi.
- To fully eliminate bacteria and blood-borne diseases from equipment, you have to keep at least a minimum of 12 pounds of pressure. Whether you know it or not, blood-borne pathogens can linger on pieces of equipment for up to a week. So in between clients, equipment and surfaces have to be properly cleaned and sterilized.
- Once 12 pounds of pressure is reached, it should run for at least half an hour at the pressure. Not following this step means your equipment won’t be properly sterilized.
- Autoclaves like the Tuttnauer EZ10 can be quite useful for tattoo artists, but even those have to be cleaned regularly. The CDC reports that sterilizing machines like autoclaves should have spore tests run on them weekly. This also helps eliminate autoclave failure, which is usually the result of human error or mechanical failure.
If you’re a talented tattoo artist and you hold yourself to high standards, don’t be surprised if clients ask questions before you get to work. It’s perfectly normal for them to want to make sure they’re not being put at risk. If anything, don’t be afraid to encourage clients to ask questions.
Don’t be surprised if a client:
- Asks about your sterilization and safety methods
- Asks to see your autoclave
- Asks to check over tattoo needles
- Asks or is concerned about tools that aren’t in sterilization trays
Remember, the main goal is to make the client comfortable. If he or she asks questions, don’t be evasive. Be truthful and forthcoming. If they trust you and your methods, the chance of doing repeat business with them are good.
When it comes to buying an autoclave like the Tuttnauer EZ10, prices for them typically range from a few hundred bucks to several thousand dollars. You can search online to see if you can score a deal on EBay. A current search of autoclave EBay or EBay autoclave pulls up dozens of results with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $800 or more.
While a search of autoclave Ebay may net you a deal on the popular bidding site, there are other options as well. An online search of autoclave manufacturers in USA might give you the type of machine you’re looking for when it comes to cleaning. Searching elsewhere on the Internet, you may be able to find a refurbished autoclave like a Tuttnauer EZ10 for your tattoo parlor as well.
However you come across an autoclave, whether it’s a Tuttnauer EZ10 or another model, owning one will undoubtedly keep your equipment clean and safe and make customers a lot more comfortable about getting tattoos at your parlor.