How To Clean A Tattoo (Properly) In 6 Easy Steps

Having a new tattoo is a cool thing to many people, especially to the youth. Getting inked is a simple way to express individuality. However, not many know how to clean a tattoo in the right way to avoid skin infection. 

In this article, we will explain to you why cleaning a new tattoo is so important, then we would love to give you the instructions on how to do it correctly. Let’s follow us!

The Importance Of Cleaning A New Tattoo

If you have just gotten your tattoo for the first time, you know that your artist used antibacterial soap to clean the tattoo, and he applied a surgical wrap to cover it for a certain time. 

And you might wonder about the aftercare process, right? It includes the cleaning process and how often you have to do it. Why is this process so important? We will explain to you right below: 

An Important Step For Healing Process 

After removing the wrap, you will have to do the first clean by yourself. 

This is an important step of the aftercare process because the tattooed area is as vulnerable as a wound. It needs time and needs to be cleaned. As the new skin grows every day, cleaning helps keep the area tidy, which helps it heal better and faster.

Making a tattoo is an art.

Preventing Infection 

It is good that your artist sterilized and protected your tattoo with a wrap to keep it away from bacteria for a while. However, this stage has pros and cons. 

During the wrapping time, the excess ink and blood plasma may still leak out. If you don’t unwrap the tattoo and clean up, it might lead to infection. 

As soon as you take off the wrap, bacteria and tiny dust particles in the air will have more chances to contact your tattoo. Cleaning the tattooed area often will prevent you from bacteria.

How To Clean Your Tattoo: Step By Step Guide

Cleaning a tattoo is not just a process of using water and soap. It is a chain of small steps that requires carefulness. Let’s have a closer look at these steps one by one by following our instructions below:

1. Washing Your Hands

Yes, this first step is extremely important. Nothing can be worse than using your dirty hands to rub all over the tattoo, again and again. 

Make sure to wash your hands with a high-quality antibacterial soap before touching the tattoo. Long fingernails might also have a high risk of containing bacteria, so trim them shorter for hygiene purposes.

Washing your hands before cleaning the tattoo

2. Wetting The Area 

The next step is making the tattooed area wet. Use neither too warm nor too cold water as your skin is very sensitive now. Either kind of water can bring you pain. 

Furthermore, warmer water can cause the pores on your skin to open, and the ink would be pulled apart because of this. Our advice is to let the water run out from the tap till it gets lukewarm, and then you can use this water.   

There are few things you should avoid to get your tattooed wet properly:

  • Firstly, instead of sticking this area under the tap, use your hands to cup the water and gently make the area damp. Then use the fingertips to rub around the tattoo tenderly in circular motions. Keep on doing these gestures several times before you move to the next step. 
  • Secondly, don’t keep the wetting process too long as water might soak and leak into the pores that lead to ink diffusion later. 

3. Adding Soap 

Once you have dampened all the tattooed areas, rub alcohol-free soap on the area tenderly using your fingertips. Ask your artist or friend about the soap that is specialized to use for cleaning tattoos. 

Many people utilize pre-used towels to scrub the area with soap. It is because some believe the material is clean and safe to use, but it is still a big “no.”  You should use your bare hands to clean the tattoo for the beginning weeks instead of reused washcloths.

Utilizing an antibacterial soap to clean the tattoo

If there is a small block of ink or blood stuck on your skin, don’t hurry to wipe it away. Keep rubbing them following circular motions on the area. If they go away, then it’s good. 

Otherwise, leave them where they are as they will automatically fall off by themselves or get removed at the next clean. You might also experience the slippery feeling of the tattoo, which is caused by excess plasma, but don’t worry. Once you have the cleaning process finished, if your tattoo looks clean and you feel less slimy, then you have done enough.

4. Rinsing

Cupping the lukewarm water to clean the tattooed area

After cleaning all over the area with the soap, cup some lukewarm water to wash it away. Do it tenderly until there is no soap left on your tattoo. At this step, the excess ink might keep coming off with the soap. It will even keep happening for several days. 

The reason behind this is, when carving the tattoo, the artist tends to cam the area with as much ink as they can. Therefore, a small ink will get trapped in the higher layers of your skin. Later, it causes the excess ink to come off for the following days with the cleaning and decreases over time as the tattoo gets healed.

5. Drying 

There are two ways for you to ensure the tattooed area gets dry. The first is to use tissue paper to press onto the area to absorb the water, and the second is to let it air-dry by itself. 

If you choose to apply the first method, remember to dab the tissue gently on the area, then quickly take it off. Also, the paper might carry some excess ink on it. But don’t panic! This phenomenon is normal as it will soon disappear after several days.

6. Applying Lotion

Applying some lotion help hydrating the tattooed place

Using lotion is not a must after drying your tattoo, but it is a should-do thing. There are many types of lotions on the market, but we would like to suggest After Inked Tattoo Lotion. This cream worked amazingly for us. All you have to do is apply a small amount of cream to the tattooed area, rub gently to cover the area with a thin layer. 

Remember not to put too much lotion to prevent the area from getting oxygen and delay the healing times. Besides hydrating, lotions also help soothe the itching on your tattoo during the healing times.

How Often Should I Clean My New Tattoo?

For the first two weeks, you should wash your tattoo properly 2-3 times a day. The best time to do it is in the morning after waking up and in the evening before you head to bed. 

If your tattoo is at a place that can’t be covered by clothes often, then you should avoid activities like exercising and running. Because it increases the chance for bacteria to approach your tattoo, it is also better to clean it right after engaging in these activities. 

You can care less about the tattoo if you cover it well by wearing not too tight clothes. As the tattoo gets healed over time, you still need to take care of it until the new skin emerges.

The Bottom Line! 

Cleaning a tattoo is not complicated work. It just requires a bit of time and tactfulness from you. But any carelessness can lead to infection. After reading this article, we hope you now know how to clean a tattoo in the right way until it gets healed completely.

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