In addition to General and Operational Requirements

Before the Service:

  • Inspect the skin. Do not tattoo or micropigment within six inches of inflamed or infected skin or skin with a rash.
  • All supplies and equipment required for tattooing or micropigmentation are to be assembled and set up immediately prior to starting the procedure.
  • Approved sharps containers must be located in the area that the sharps item is used

Remember: You do not have to see blood or body fluids on instruments for an infection to occur.


  • Single-use, disposable sterile needles must be used and discarded in an approved sharps container immediately after use.
  • The entire needle bar assembly (needle bar with attached needles) must be discarded into an approved sharps container immediately after each tattoo or micropigmentation procedure.
  • Any razors used for shaving skin must be single-use and discarded in an approved sharps container immediately after use.
  • All reusable equipment and instruments such as beds, chairs, and counters, must be cleaned and then disinfected (low to high level depending on use) between clients.
  • Single-use disposable ink caps are preferred. Disposable ink caps must be discarded immediately after each client. Prior to using disposable ink caps that are supplied in bulk quantities, individual ink caps must be cleaned and then disinfected with an intermediate level disinfectant, example – 70 to 90% isopropyl alcohol.
  • Reusable ink caps must be cleaned and sterilized between each use. Reusable ink cap holders, used in combination with reusable ink caps, must be cleaned and high-level disinfected.
  • Some items such as spray bottle, clip cord, and motor frame, can be covered with a disposable plastic sheath that is discarded after each client. These items must then be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the working day and after any heavy contamination.
  • Liquid used for rinsing between colours must be placed in disposable cups. The liquid and cups must be discarded after each client
  • Equipment and instruments that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected between clients are single-use such as stencils, ink caps, grommets, elastics, leftover paper towels, Vaseline, ink, and cotton. A sufficient number of tissues or wipes required for the procedure must be dispensed prior to the service.
  • If a tattoo machine is not used for micropigmentation, the needle holder device on the pen/instrument must be single-use disposable or cleaned and then sterilized before it can be used again.
  • After needles are attached to the needle bar, they must be cleaned such as using an ultrasonic cleaner, before sterilization. Used needles and needle bars must not be manipulated prior to being discarded.
  • Reusable tubes must be disassembled prior to cleaning and sterilization.
  • If stencils are used they must be single-use and discarded at the end of the procedure.


  • Provide an approved sterilizer or pre-packaged, sterile items
  • If pre-packaged, sterile items are provided, records of all information are required on-site for tracking purposes such as proof of sterility, name of company that sterilizes the needles, lot numbers, invoices and receipts. Any sterile items without records may be seized by the Public Health Inspector at time of inspection.

After Care

  • The tattoo must be covered with an individually packaged dressing or bandage intended for covering wounds.
  • Clients must be given verbal and written information regarding tattooing aftercare such as:
    • Appropriate aftercare for tattooing and micropigmentation
    • Clean hands immediately before touching tattooed or micropigmented area
    • Discuss the expected healing time of the site with the client
    • Describe possible complications and their signs and symptoms
    • Advice on how to deal with slight redness, pain or swelling
    • Recommend consultation with a family physician if the problem does not improve within 24 hours

Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Services Settings, January 2009

January 2013