Important Tattoo Medical Supplies to Keep on Hand | Painful Pleasures Community

Important Tattoo Medical Supplies to Keep on Hand

It's important to keep your tattoo shop stocked with all the tattoo medical supplies needed to prep and modify clients--things like antiseptics, skin cleansers, tattoo bandages, and disinfectants. If you're just getting started and looking for a comprehensive list of tattoo medical supplies to keep on hand, download our Tattoo Medical Supply Checklist. You can also read through this article to compare tattoo medical supply options and follow the links provided to purchase tattoo medical supplies for your shop at wholesale prices.

by PainfulPleasures Last Updated: May 14, 2021

Mark Keller of Chameleon Ink Tattooing With Protective Gear Over His Equipment It’s important to keep your tattoo shop stocked with all the tattoo medical supplies needed to prep and modify your clients safely. These medical supplies include antiseptics, skin cleansers, tattoo bandages, and disinfectants.

Download our Tattoo Medical Supply Checklist to ensure you’re covering all important bases. Explore your product options in the sections below and follow the links to purchase tattoo medical supplies for your shop at wholesale prices. Follow the bold “Learn” links to our educational articles within the sections below.


Autoclaves & Autoclave Supplies

An autoclave steam sterilizer is the single most effective tool for sterilizing reusable tattoo supplies like steel grips and tattoo tubes. There are sterilization alternatives for smaller shops that don’t yet have the budget to purchase an autoclave, but an autoclave is the absolute best sterilization tool you can own. You’ll be able to sterilize larger batches of tools faster and more thoroughly with an autoclave than you could with chemical baths or other sterilization alternatives. (Learn about the efficacy of sterilization by steam.) We offer several autoclave options so you can find the one that best fits your budget.

Autoclave Steam SterilizersPhoto of Tuttnauer 1730 ValueKlave Autoclave Steam Sterilizer

There are several types of autoclave accessories you’ll need to keep on hand to get the most out of your steam sterilizer. Every tool you sterilize will need to be bagged separately before being autoclaved, so it’s a good idea to stock up on sterilization pouches and nylon tubing in a variety of sizes. You’ll also want a heat sealer to seal your autoclave bags, steam sterilization integrators that clearly show when your tools have been fully sterilized, a reliable autoclave cleaner you can use to clean your sterilizer regularly, and spore testing kits so you can periodically test your machine to make sure it’s operating optimally. You can see examples of the autoclave accessories available to you below. Visit our Tattoo Sterilization Pouches, Autoclaves & Ultrasonic Cleaners section to see every option we offer. (Learn how to make custom autoclave bags with nylon tubing.)

Autoclave Tools & Accessories

  • Nylon Tubing
    Nylon tubing comes in widths of 2″ up to 6″, allowing you to create custom-length sterilization pouches for your autoclavable tattoo tools.
  • Sterilization Pouches
    Our Precision and Defend autoclave bags offer a convenient alternative to nylon tubing. They’re available in a variety of sizes and quantities to suit your needs.
  • Autoclave Indicator Tape
    Autoclave tape has a dual purpose. You can use it to seal sterilization pouches, and it shows you that your tools have been fully sterilized.Photo of AutoClean Autoclave Cleaner and Enhancer bottle
  • AutoClean Autoclave Cleaner
    Remove hard water scale and lime deposits from the chamber of your autoclave steam sterilizer with AutoClean Autoclave Cleaner and Enhancer.
  • Propper’s Vapor Line® Integrators
    These easy-to-read steam sterilization integrators accurately measure 3 essential variables: saturated steam, exposure temperature and exposure time.
  • Internal Steam Indicators
    Add process indicators to the outside of your sterilization pouches to give customers the reassurance that your reusable tattoo tools have been autoclaved.
  • Spore Testing Kits
    Each spore testing kit includes 12 packets to test your autoclave monthly for a year. They provide 3rd party proof that your autoclave is functioning optimally.
  • Desktop Heat Sealer
    Our 110v and 220v desktop impulse heat sealers are convenient tools for sealing autoclave bags and nylon tubing. We also offer replacement heat sealer strips.
  • Miltex Instrument Stain Remover
    Autoclave detergent with high or low pH levels can stain your tools. Remove unsightly stains and restore luster to your tattoo tools with this stain-removing powder.

Ultrasonic Cleaners, Solutions, and Tools

Photo of one bottle of cavicide

Tattoo tools have to be thoroughly cleaned before they’re autoclaved, and we have a variety of tools that simplify the cleaning process. Choose from steel bristle, brass bristle and nylon bristle brushes, Cavicide Germicide & Disinfectant Soaking Solution, standard ultrasonic cleaners in a variety of sizes, and a variety of ultrasonic cleaner detergents. (Learn the best methods for cleaning tattoo tools.)

Steel, Brass and Nylon Bristle Brushes for Scrubbing Tattoo Instruments Although an ultrasonic cleaner may seem like a nice-to-have compared to an autoclave, it can be a huge time saver for a busy shop. Without an autoclave, you have to hand-scrub all of your reusable tattoo tools, soak them in disinfectant and lubricate them before you sterilize them. If you’re interested in shortening the clean-up process in between clients so you can tattoo more people in a day, you need an ultrasonic cleaner. We offer several options so you can find the perfect one for your space and budget, as shown below along with our ultrasonic cleaner detergents. (Learn how ultrasonic cleaners work. | Compare Alconox and Tergazyme ultrasonic cleaner detergents.)

Ultrasonic Cleaners and Detergents


Tattoo Cleaners, Disinfectants & Bio-Hazard Containers

It’s highly critical that you maintain a sterile work environment to keep your clients safe and make them feel secure when they get tattooed in your shop. To keep surfaces throughout your shop sterilized, you’ll need an assortment of disinfecting cleaning products. You should also make biohazard containers easily accessible to your tattoo artists so that they can properly dispose of used tattoo needles, other sharps, and contaminated protective gear, like used tattoo machine bags. We offer a wide range of cleaners, disinfectants and biohazard containers to meet your needs, as shown below. (Learn about maintaining a sterile work environment. | Learn about the Sharps Disposable Recovery System.Photo of bottle of Madacide

Sharps Containers and Biohazard Bags

Petrify Ink Sponges There’s one other cleaning tool worth mentioning that can simplify clean-up while you’re tattooing and in between clients: Petrify. Petrify is a super-absorbent polymer that turns liquids into gel. Just add a single Petrify tea bag or a shot of Petrify from a needle-nose bottle to a cup of inky water, and you can easily toss it in the trash instead of having to get up and take it to a sink. Petrify is also a great addition to the bottom of Sharps containers, where it absorbs and solidifies excess fluids.

You’ll find Petrify to be a helpful tool in your shop, but it’s even more valuable when you’re working tattoo conventions and there isn’t a sink nearby where you can dispose of inky water and other liquids. Just keep a stash of Petrify on hand and you’ll be able to easily keep your workspace clean as you’re tattooing.


Tattoo Covers and Protective Gear

In your efforts to maintain a sterile work environment within your tattoo shop, you should bag all reusable tattoo tools that can’t be autoclaved, like tattoo machines and clip cords. Additionally, it’s important that your tattoo artists wear medical gloves while tattooing, and that they change them at appropriate intervals. Some artists also like to cover more of themselves, for their health, to prevent cross-contamination and to protect their clothing, which is why we offer a selection of disposable and reusable aprons, arm covers and other protective gear in addition to equipment bags and gloves. Check out our full selection of tattoo covers and protective gear, or review our most popular options below. (Learn about guidelines for hand hygiene, why it’s important to wear gloves while modifying, and how to choose the right glove size.)

Medical Gloves and Tattoo Protective Gear Photo of box of Umbra gloves with hand

  • Surgical Face Masks
    When you’re tattooing a client’s face or neck, it’s best to wear a face mask. These surgical face masks come in boxes of 50 and have ear loops to hold them in place.
  • Exam Table Paper
    Cover your tattoo tables and tattoo chairs with fresh sheets of exam table paper before modifying clients. Choose from 225′-long rolls in 18″ and 21″ widths.
  • Precision Bottle Bags
    Cover skin prep bottles and other bottles used during the tattooing process with our premium Precision bottle bags. They come in boxes of 200 6″ x 8″ bags.
  • Precision Tattoo Machine BagsPhoto of Precision tattoo machine bags
    Cover your coil or rotary tattoo machine with a fresh Precision tattoo machine bag before tattooing a new client. Each box contains 250 tattoo machine bags.
  • Precision Tattoo Sleeves
    Prevent cross-contamination by having your artists wear our Precision tattoo sleeves while they tattoo. Each box contains 100 tattoo sleeves with elastic-secured ends.
  • Precision Dental Bibs
    Protect your clients’ clothes or work surfaces while tattooing with our Precision Dental Bibs. These 13″ x 18″ covers come in boxes of 200 lap or table cloths.
  • Precision Clip Cord Covers
    These 20″- or 32″-long clip cord covers come in boxes of 200 and can be used to protect both RCA and clip cords and prevent cross-contamination while tattooing.
  • Precision Grip Sleeves 
    Prevent cross-contamination by covering your reusable tattoo grips with our Precision Grip Sleeves. Each box contains 100 barrier sleeves for any tattoo grips.
  • Disposable Black Aprons 
    Cover and protect your clothes and prevent cross-contamination when you’re tattooing with our disposable black aprons. Each box contains 100 aprons.
  • Cut-to-Length Clip Cord Covers
    Get more than 1,000 feet of Precision clip cord covers on a roll so you can cut it to the perfect length for your electrical cables. Each roll is 5cm (~1.97″) wide.
  • 40″ x 60″ Drape Cloths
    These 40″ x 60″ drape cloths come in boxes of 50 sheets or bags of 10 sheets. They’re a great tool for covering tattoo tables and clients’ clothes while tattooing.
  • Precision Cohesive Wrap
    Prevent cross-contamination and make your tattoo grips more comfortable to hold for long periods of time by wrapping them with layers of Precision cohesive wrap.
  • Reusable Canvas Aprons
    We offer Knife & Flag and Cutthroat Apparel split-leg reusable canvas aprons in a variety of colors and styles so you can protect your clothes time and again while tattooing.

Tattoo Anesthetic Creams, Sprays & GelsPhoto of spray bottle of Vasocaine anesthetic solution

No matter what your personal opinions are on the use of tattoo anesthetic products, it’s a good idea to keep some numbing cream, gel or spray on hand for those clients with low pain thresholds. It will make the tattooing experience more pleasant for everyone, your clients will appreciate the tailored service, and you’ll be more likely to see referral business from those happy customers.

Some tattoo anesthetics work well on their own, while others can be enhanced for added pain relief by applying a complementary numbing spray or lotion. The key is to encourage clients to apply a layer of topical anesthetic right before coming in to get tattooed so that it has time to fully penetrate and numb the surface of their skin. When you apply a numbing cream, spray or gel in your shop, make sure to wait the amount of time specified in the instructions before you begin tattooing. For maximum absorption, wrap the area with plastic cling wrap after applying a topical anesthetic. If a client asks you to apply more numbing gel, spray or lotion after you start tattooing, add a layer of a booster product like Recovery Numb Tattoo Numbing Cream, Tattoo Soothe Gel, or System Ink-EEZE Numbing Spray.

Visit our Tattoo Anesthetic Options section to view our full selection of tattoo numbing sprays, creams, gels and anesthetic soaps by brands like Recovery, Tattoo Soothe, Derma Numb, Hush, H2Ocean, and Feel Better Now. (Learn more about tattoo anesthetics and how they work.)


Antiseptics, Skin Cleansers & Other Skin Prep Products Green Soap Skin Prep Wipes | Tattoo Antiseptics and Skin Cleansers

Before tattooing a client and after applying any topical anesthetic requested, you have to perform surgical skin prep. This process requires washing the skin with an appropriate skin cleanser, and then applying a CDC-approved antiseptic. Make sure your client isn’t allergic to any of the skin prep products you’re planning to use. Some people have iodine allergies while others have sensitivities to fragranced soaps, so it’s important to talk to your clients about the tattooing process and products you use before you begin. (Learn more about body modification skin prep.)

We offer a wide variety of skin cleansers and other skin prep products by top brands like Intenze, Green Soap, Tattoo One, Tattoo Goo, and H2Ocean, as well as surgical-grade antiseptics like alcohol pads and providone iodine swabs. Choose from concentrated skin cleansers that you can dilute and apply with our Precision washer bottles, convenient skin wipes, antiseptic swabs and pads, disposable razors, and more.

Tatu-Derm Tattoo Bandages | Clear, Breathable, Waterproof Tattoo Bandages Tattoo Bandage Supplies

It’s a good idea to bandage new tattoos to catch any excess blood and soothe and protect clients’ skin. You have several options when it comes to the types of tattoo bandages you use:

Photo of a box of medical tapeGauze & Medical Tape – Place a clean piece of gauze over a new tattoo so that the edges of the gauze overlap the borders of the tattoo. Tape down the sides of the gauze pad using Precision or 3M medical tape. The gauze will allow the skin beneath the tattoo bandage to breathe, and it will contain bleeding after the tattooing process. (Learn about tattoo tape options.)

 Tatu-Derm – Tatu-Derm puts a clear, breathable bacterial barrier over new tattoos. It comes in individual sheets and cut-to-size rolls. Select the right size, and then adhere a sheet of Tatu-Derm to the skin over top of a new tattoo. Your client will then be able to swim or shower with no problem, since Tatu-Derm is waterproof. It will protect their clothes and bed sheets from stains, it’s easy to use, and it provides tattoo artist with a low-cost tattoo bandage solution. Dri-Loc Pads – Dri-Loc Pads are 4″ x 7″ non-adherent perforated plastic pads with absorbent centers. Place one over a freshly-inked tattoo, and tape down the sides with Precision or 3M medical tape. The pad will allow the new tattoo to breathe, but not dry out. It will also contain excess blood.

Shopping for Tattoo Medical Supplies Photo of box of A&D ointment

We have a Retail Store and a Wholesale Store. Most of the links in this article point to our Wholesale Store, where you can take advantage of discounted prices for industry professionals when you place orders of $100-$499.99. Those tattoo artists and shop owners planning to spend $500 or more should shop in our Distributor Store to enjoy the lowest prices we offer. For orders under $100, please shop in our Retail Store.

Note that you can enjoy additional savings by purchasing certain s in bulk. Look for case packs of products you use frequently, and pay attention to the tiered price breaks listed in the “Add to Cart” area of many of our product detail pages. To save even more, sign up for our weekly newsletters by going to your preferred store (Retail | Wholesale), scrolling to the bottom-right corner of any page, and entering your email address in the newsletter sign-up box. We’ll then deliver weekly coupons and other savings offers right to your inbox.

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