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Cleaning non-sterilized objects which have been exposed to blood (and especially sharply pointed objects) is hazardous.

Safety would dictate a process that renders used instruments and  especially needles sterile before cleaning or disposal.


The Unimax System:
urged for more than 10 years.

Glutaraldehydes should
never be used.

Disinfectants (meaning hard surface disinfectants) within the tattoo and piercing environment are most appropriately used on potentially contaminated objects which do not require sterilization, such as certain tools, counters, lights, chairs, etc..  Disinfection by physical means, such as in an autoclave, is also effective when used at less than sterilizing requirements. In the US, disinfectants designed for use on the skin are usually called antiseptics to distinguish them as a separate group with different specifications.  

Sterile area contact requires sterilization.
Forceps and tools
that touch normally sterile areas of the body, mucous membranes, blood and body fluids, or become contaminated, are described as needing cleaning and sterilization, not simply disinfected before re-use.

STERILIZATION means rendering an object free of all living microorganisms including bacterial spores, one of the hardest to inactivate. 

Though this is phrased as an absolute it is actually only a probability on a curve and an item is generally considered sterile if only one microbe may survive on a million sterilized products.
Sterilization is most frequently done by raising the temperature of an object to a level sufficiently high to kill all microorganisms. Since the entire object is raised, the problem of microorganisms being shielded by a layer of material is reduced but increases the challenge of the process to overcome the actual microbial load or burden.   Autoclave sterilization by heat, steam, pressure and time is nearly universally accepted.  Application of alcohol or bleach or boiling is disinfection not sterilization though under certain circumstances they too can sterilize.

Sterilizing solutions require the object be effectively precleaned. The microbial load must be reduced by cleaning so that the process will be able to statistically achieve that one in a million probability. 

Liquid sterilizing solutions (Glutaraldehydes), such as Metricide, Cidex, etc. have no place in tattoo or piercing as a substitute for heat sterilization and should not be used.

Needle bars (if approved by local Health Regulations) and tubes may be re-used, but they may not be used on more than one client without cleaning and sterilization between uses. Most health departments require single-use needles which must be discarded after each use.

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