About this fact sheet

Body art and tattooing procedures can damage client’s skin and there is a risk of infections spreading between clients. Poor cleaning and hygiene of equipment and surfaces can spread viral, bacterial or fungal infections from one client to another. This can result in diseases such as Hepatitis C and B, or staphylococcal, streptococcal and pseudomonas infections.



  • All equipment needs to be in good working order, be cleaned and dried after use and be kept in a clean and dry condition.
  • All articles that penetrate the skin must be sterile before use.
  • Equipment that is difficult to clean and sterilise should be single-use.
  • Needles must be single-use and disposed of into an appropriate sharps container directly after use.
  • Articles that are used in a skin penetration procedure but do not penetrate the skin, must be correctly cleaned and kept in a clean condition.
  • Clean towels and linen must be used for each new client. Linen should be washed in detergent and hot water. If an impervious cover is used (such as plastic), it must be cleaned and disinfected before it is used for each new client.
  • The tattoo gun motor and clip cords must be cleaned then disinfected with 70% alcohol solution, or hospital grade disinfectant, and allowed to dry before being re-used.

You can find the rules for skin penetration procedures in the Public Health Regulation 2022 (the Regulation).

Business hygiene

  • The business is to be kept in a clean condition.
  • Treatment areas such as benches must be cleaned between each client and/or a clean covering placed over the treatment surface.
  • The business should have documented cleaning and maintenance procedures for the fixtures, fittings and equipment, and staff should be trained in these procedures.
  • All waste should be tightly bagged and disposed of daily.
  • Sterile packaging should be opened just prior to starting the treatment.
  • Sterile parts of equipment that will penetrate the skin must not be touched with bare hands. If sterile equipment needs to be touched, a pre-packed sterile alcohol swab, a sterile dry swab, or sterile single-use gloves must be used.
  • Use an aseptic non-touch technique to pour inks into sterilised containers or caps before working on a client. If inks need dilution, only use sterile water and dispose of any leftover inks.
  • Equipment should be covered with single-use plastic to minimise the chance of contamination and disposed of immediately after the procedure.
  • Only work on clients with skin that is clean and free from infection, sores, or wounds on or around the tattoo site.
  • If the tattoo area needs to be shaved, use a new single-use safety razor for each client and dispose of it into the sharps container.

Personal hygiene for tattooists


  • Tattooist and body art practitioners must wear a clean gown or apron and single-use gloves during the procedure.
  • Cuts or wounds should be covered with sealed waterproof bandages.
  • Hands should be washed:
    • before and after attending to a client
    • before and after a procedure
    • after exposure to a body substance
    • after touching a client’s surroundings
    • after the removal of gloves.