Sanitation is a priority in tattooing. It happens before, during, and after a tattoo session. In fact, while a tattoo artist is tattooing a client, they are consistently wiping the tattoo to remove excess ink from the area. The product they are using obviously has to be antiseptic, antibacterial, and of the highest quality, so just what do tattoo artists use to wipe ink off? It's green soap!
Keep reading to learn exactly what it is and why it's used.
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Keeping the Tattoo Area Clean
- 2 What Do Tattoo Artists Use to Wipe Ink Off?
- 3 What is in Green Soap?
- 4 Does Green Soap Contain Green Dyes?
- 5 Does Green Soap Have a Smell?
- 6 How Can You Use Green Soap?
- 7 Why Can’t a Tattoo Artist Use Regular Soap?
- 8 Are There Any Risks With Using Green Soap?
- 9 What if Someone is Allergic to Green Soap?
- 10 How Do You Purchase Green Soap?
- 11 How to Make Green Soap For Tattoos
- 12 Our Final Thoughts
Keeping the Tattoo Area Clean
A tattoo artist not only has to sanitize the area that is being tattooed on the client, but also has to sanitize the space. It’s for that reason that many search for a product that can “do it all”. This makes their work much simpler, but it also ensures that they are not worried about mixing up products they are using.
The soap they use for your tattoo is medical grade and can be used on skin, on surfaces, and on their equipment. So just what is this powerful - but safe - product?
What Do Tattoo Artists Use to Wipe Ink Off?
Green soap is a product found in almost every tattoo shop, and it is even used by medical professionals. It’s an environmentally-friendly, vegetable, oil-based product that is used on skin and surfaces.
It has the ability to remove dirt and blood and contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, while also having soothing ingredients that help aid in inflammation and healing. It is preferred by artists and healthcare professionals because few people experience allergic reactions to the product.
What is in Green Soap?
Green soap comes in a concentrated format, so it needs to be diluted with water prior to use. It contains:
- Vegetable oil or glycerin, which helps moisturize the skin
- Ethyl alcohol, which helps sanitize the area
- Plant-based properties, such as lavender or aloe, which helps soothe inflammation
This product is often used by surgeons or even commercial cleaning tasks. It is important that if you have any known allergies, especially to vegetable oils, that you discuss this with your artist.
Does Green Soap Contain Green Dyes?
No, this product does not contain any coloring. The tint you see in the product is a natural result of the glycerin and vegetable oils.
Does Green Soap Have a Smell?
Green soap may have a natural scent that is due to lavender or coconut oil. There are no added fragrances, as fragrance is composed of chemical compounds and this is dangerous to raw skin.
How Can You Use Green Soap?
Green soap can be used to:
- Wipe down your equipment and the tattoo table
- Wipe down the area of the skin to apply a tattoo stencil
- Wipe the area as you are tattooing
- Wipe the area at the end of the tattoo for a final sterilization of the wound
Why Can’t a Tattoo Artist Use Regular Soap?
Green soap is an industry standard because it is effective in combating bacteria and dirt and grime, while also being very safe for skin, with very few allergic reactions to the product. It is also a product that comes in a large, concentrated format, which means it can be diluted according to the need (cleaning surfaces, cleaning skin, etc.) and that makes it more financially feasible than more expensive soaps available.
Since it is used by medical and healthcare professionals, it can be trusted for tattooing, which is considered a medical procedure. It also has a perfect consistency to be used in both spray and squeeze bottle format, making it convenient for artists for every shop need.
In addition, this soap does not complicate the tattoo process. It leaves no remnants and does not need to be “washed off” like a standard soap, which means it can be used during a tattoo to improve the sterilization of the area while not negatively influencing the tattoo process.
Are There Any Risks With Using Green Soap?
Even though this product is environmentally friendly and made from all-natural products, you need to be aware of potential allergic reactions to the ingredients. Be sure to discuss the ingredient list with a client.
In addition, green soap must be diluted properly. You should also be careful not to get green soap into eyes or mucous membranes.
What if Someone is Allergic to Green Soap?
There are alternatives to green soap should you have a client who is allergic to it. You could use:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sterilized water
- Alcohol mixed with a carrier oil
How Do You Purchase Green Soap?
Most green soap is purchased by your tattoo shop rather than an artist themselves. It is a high-grade disinfectant, so it is usually sold through tattoo supply manufacturers.
How to Make Green Soap For Tattoos
If you can’t get your hands on commercial grade green soap and aren’t mixing from that, you can always make your own. To make your own green soap you need:
- ¼ of antibacterial liquid hand soap such as Hibiclens Antimicrobial and Antiseptic Soak and Skin Cleanser.
- ⅛ of hydrogen peroxide (be careful, as this product can cause burns when not distilled)
- ⅝ distilled water (do not use tap water)
These should be added to a clean plastic container and mixed together. Be sure to do a patch test of the product prior to using it on an open wound.
Our Final Thoughts
Green soap is an all-purpose powerful disinfectant agent. It soothes the skin, moisturizes the tattooed area, while also battling dirt, grime, blood, and bacteria. It’s strong enough for your shop while being gentle enough for a client’s skin.
When used on skin, green soap should be diluted to one part green soap to eight parts distilled water. You could have more potent mixtures when you are focusing on cleaning your equipment and space.