You might have seen this wording on our business cards or website: “100% single use, sterile, & disposable.” Come in and ask us, and we’ll be glad to chat about all of the benefits of running a disposable body art studio. But if you’re looking around at tattoo shops online, you might be curious about what exactly this means. In short, a disposable studio is a studio that does not reprocess and reuse any equipment, instead opting for presterilized single-use implements that can be used on a single client and then thrown away afterward.
The alternative to this, which works well for many shops, is reprocessing their tools for use on future clients, over and over. This is a multistep process: immediately after use, the tools should be placed in a tray containing a chemical cleaning solution. When the artist (or apprentice) is ready to process tools, the tools are run through an ultrasonic cleaning machine, hand scrubbed, rinsed, dried, and packaged for sterilization in the shop’s autoclave.
But which is better?
It depends on who you ask, honestly. When done correctly, using reprocessed tools is just as safe as using single-use, disposable equipment. However, there are a few key reasons why we decided to go 100% disposable:
- Client safety. Let’s face it, tattoo artists aren’t robots. With how many steps are involved in reprocessing tools safely, there is a small chance for human error. By avoiding reprocessing altogether, you eliminate the risk of someone making a dangerous mistake.
- Personal safety. There is always a certain amount of risk involved when dealing with biohazardous materials and harsh chemicals. Personal protective equipment (gloves, sleeve protectors, aprons, and face masks) can minimize this risk, but if you can avoid it entirely by using disposable tools, why not?
- Environmental concerns. This one might seem counterintuitive. However, consider the amount of waste created when reprocessing a single tool: chemicals for cleaning, water for rinsing and filling the ultrasonic/autoclave, electricity for running these machines, a full suit of plastic personal protective equipment, several pairs of gloves, and plastic packaging for the tool. Compare this to simply throwing away a single-use tattoo tube, and there’s a clear winner.
Going disposable was the best choice for us, for both our clients’ and artists’ safety.
If you have any other questions about our tattooing process, we’d love to talk! Contact us via phone, e-mail, Facebook, or just stop by the shop. :)