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Skin piercing registration

Information on cleaning, disinfecting and sterilisation

Whoever is in charge of a premises must be over 18 years of age and on site when public have access to the premises.

Sinks and cleaning

A wash hand basin must be installed in the treatment room and it must have hot and cold water, along with liquid hand soap and disposable paper towels. A portable wash hand basin would be fine to use, but it must be sturdy, easy to use and easy to clean/disinfect.

You will also need another sink for cleaning equipment. For example, it can be used when cleaning tattoo equipment such as grips or piercing utensils before sterilising. You may also need to look at providing another sink for washing up crockery or cups from staff.

Disinfectants in the workplace

It is really important that you use the right disinfectant that is intended for use in a skin piercing premises and to reduce levels of bacteria on surfaces. Disinfectants needs to meet BSEN 1276 or 13697. This means that the disinfectant has been properly tested and will, if used according to the manufacturers instructions, reduce any bacteria present to a safe level. You can purchase these at well-known retailers, as well as reputable tattoo and medical suppliers. Be aware that each brand will have a different contact time ranging from 60 seconds to 10 minutes.

Green Soap - Best practice

  • always make up green soap with distilled water – tap water is not suitable
  • clean and disinfect green soap bottles daily
  • leave bottles to air dry (water droplets in the bottle will contain bacteria)
  • bottles that can be put through autoclaves are now available and are best practice to use
  • change and replace the bottles used for green soap on each tattoo station regularly
  • do not store undiluted green soap for long periods of time; buy the smallest bottle as possible so that it is used quickly

Sterilisation and autoclaves

If you plan on sterilising your equipment or jewellery then you must use an ultrasonic bath and an autoclave, which must be compliant to PSS regulations and supported with the following:

  • performance test certificate
  • sterilisation procedures
  • records of cycles
  • maintenance records
  • procedure for failed cycles
  • identification of a successful cycle, e.g. sterilisation indicators on pouches

If you are using a steriliser/autoclave, then you must keep servicing records, records of cycles, if successful/failed and what you would do if a cycle fails. All sterilised items must be date stamped and traceable.

See section XX of cieh guidance for more detailed information and instructions on autoclaves.


  • always buy ink from a reputable supplier, cheapest isn’t always best
  • keep records of all your suppliers
  • there have been known problems with inks purchased cheaply over the internet or from other countries
  • store according to manufacturer’s instructions, for example 12 months or ‘best before’ date

Sharing treatment rooms

It is possible for treatment rooms to be used by different therapists/businesses on different days. You just need to ensure that you are correctly storing your belongings, cleaning down before and after use as well as storing any equipment securely so that it cannot be tampered with.


Apprentices must be assisted as necessary by a suitable person to ensure adequate supervision.

All skin piercers/tattooists must be adequately trained and able to demonstrate their competence.

Training should cover:

  • hygiene procedures
  • cleaning routines
  • provision of aftercare to clients
  • reporting procedures for accidents
  • procedures for failed piercings
  • basic first aid
  • infection control training
  • appropriate use of gloves