All absorbent materials which come in contact with the client, or which become contaminated by anything which has come in contact with the client, must be single-use disposable materials, and must be discarded after such contact. (Eg. Needles, paper table covers, paper towels, swabs, corks, elastic bands etc.) Many piercers simply do not understand the concepts of clean field and of chain of contamination. These things will have to be spelled out in detail for most.
Separate facilities must be available for storage of potentially hazardous instruments and/or toxic materials.
Contaminated waste and instruments in the piercing area must be discarded into covered containers sitting on the floor. Used needles must be discarded into an approved medical sharps container (i.e. a puncture-proof container that is approved for the safe storage and disposal of used needles and syringes). Contaminated material should not be permitted higher than 18" (0.5m) off the floor within the work area, to prevent anything from falling on and soiling the working surface.
Used instruments will be cleaned by scrubbing with an accepted instrument germicide, such as Germiphene, using an ultrasonic cleaner, or will be soaked in the instrument germicide until ready, then disinfected with a strong, degreasing disinfectant, such as Spray Nine.
The instruments will then be rinsed with fresh potable water, and any required hand cleaning or lubrication will be done prior to sterilization. Solution-based sterilization methods are only effective if the contaminated surfaces are thoroughly wetted. Any oil or grease on the surface, or air bubbles in surface cavities will prevent wetting and contaminants will be shielded from the disinfectant solution Also, wrapping of the instruments cannot be done before the sterilization process. Thus, solution based methods alone are not suitable for piercing studios.
Instruments must be wrapped in an accepted closed packaging when being sterilized. The use of tear-open disposable packaging ensures that the instruments are maintained in a sterile state until the package is opened immediately prior to use.
Re-usable instruments (e.g. Clamp, forceps, pliers, scissors, insertion tapers, receiving tubes, etc.) are to be sterilized after use on each patron by one of:
  • autoclaving a 103 Kpa (15 lb/sq in) for at least 15 min at temperature, or
  • dry heat sterilization at or above 230 C. for at least 1 hour at temperature.

Ideally, all instruments will be individually packaged and sterilized in an autoclave. With all heat-based methods, it is important to note that the instruments must reach the required temperature before the sterilization time is started.

Dry heat sterilizers have fallen into disfavour for three reasons:

  • tattoo shops cannot run them at the proper temperature; the solder on their needles is molten at 190 C.,
  • the metal in tools crystalizes over time and becomes brittle; tool breakage is significant, and
  • metal foil packaging to withstand the temperatures is expremely expensive.
All jewelry to be inserted in a new piercing must be made of non-toxic and hypoallergenic material.

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