When Should I Wash My New Tattoo?

When Should I Wash My New Tattoo
The first wash – After usually no less than 5 hours, it is safe to remove the bandage and wash the tattoo. After thorough hand-washing, a person can gently wash the tattoo with hypoallergenic soap and warm water using their fingers. The moisturizer on the skin will come off, and the tattoo may appear as if it is oozing ink or a thick, sticky substance.

This reaction is not usually a cause for concern, as it is just the excess fluid and ink from the tattoo process. After washing, a person should pat the skin with a clean paper towel and allow it to air-dry for up to an hour.

When the area is completely dry, they can apply a thin layer of moisturizer to the tattoo, but leave it uncovered to allow the skin to breathe.

How often should you wash your new tattoo?

Download Article Download Article Cleaning your tattoo is an essential, but simple, task. Most people aren’t properly told how to clean their tattoo and prevent infection because only seven states have policies that regulate how instructions are given. However, since a sharp implement is piercing your skin and drawing blood, you need to carefully clean the area and take steps to avoid infection. [2]

  1. 1 Wash your hands. Place your hands under clean, running water to get them wet. Squeeze soap into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together until a lather forms. Scrub your palms, the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds. [3]
    • Use the paper towel to turn the faucet off as well.
  2. 2 Take off your bandage after 24 hours. Wait one day before removing the bandage. Slowly remove the bandage in case it has stuck to the wound. It shouldn’t if the tattoo artist properly applied Vaseline to the tattoo. [4] Advertisement
  3. 3 Turn the faucet on. Use a paper towel to do this so you can avoid contaminating your hands. Let the faucet run until the water is lukewarm (about 87 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 to 32 degrees Celsius). [5]
    • Make sure the water is not hot. Hot water can be painful. It can also cause your pores to open up, which can cause the ink to drain from your tattoo.
  4. 4 Use your hands to cup the water. Pour the water over your tattoo. Using a circular motion, gently rub your finger over your tattoo to wet the entire area. [6]
    • Do not place your tattoo directly under the running water.
    • Since too much water can cause the ink to drain from your tattoo, only pour water over it once.
  5. 5 Apply a gentle soap. [7] Make sure to use an alcohol and fragrance-free soap. Using your finger, gently rub the soap onto your tattoo in a circular motion. Lightly massage the soap into your tattoo until the majority of blood, ointment and plasma are removed. [8]
    • Do not force off pieces of blood and ink, as well as scabs that cannot be removed with gentle rubbing.
    • Do not use a towel or washcloth to rub the soap into your tattoo. These are too abrasive and may contain bacteria that can infect it.
  6. 6 Rinse with water. Do this once your tattoo looks and feels clean. Use your hands to cup the water again. Pour the water over your tattoo. Make sure to rinse the area thoroughly until all soap and residue are removed. [9]
  7. 7 Dry your tattoo. Gently blot your tattoo with a clean paper towel. If the paper towel sticks to your tattoo, wet the area to remove it. Do not use a cloth or bath towel to do this. These may contain bacteria that can infect your tattoo. [10]
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  1. 1 Use an antibacterial ointment for up to two days. [11] When your tattoo is first healing, an antibiotic can help prevent infection and speed up the healing process. However, don’t use it for more than one or two days because the cream can prevent oxygen from circulating around your healing skin, which is needed for the ink to seal. [12]
    • Apply the cream twice a day for up to two days.
  2. 2 Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizer. Do this when your tattoo is thoroughly dry. Using a small amount of cream, gently rub it over your tattoo with your fingers in a circular motion. Only apply a thin layer of cream so that your tattoo shines. Try to avoid applying cream over any scabs. [13]
    • If you applied too much cream, use a clean paper towel to blot and remove the excess cream.
    • Plain, unscented creams are generally used to treat tattoos.
  3. 3 Leave your tattoo unbandaged. After you remove the bandage, do not apply another one. Your skin needs oxygen circulating around it to heal.
  4. 4 Clean twice daily for two weeks. [14] Your tattoo will take two weeks to fully heal. Use the same procedure to wash and moisturize the tattoo. Each time you clean it, check to make sure that it is healing. [15]
    • Don’t pick any scabs that form.
  5. 5 Contact a doctor if you suspect you have an infection. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a steroid or an antibiotic to treat the infection. Signs of an infection are: [16]
    • A very painful or hot to the touch tattoo after seven to ten days.
    • A pimply or bumpy rash surrounding your tattoo.
    • An extremely red, itchy and/or swollen tattoo after seven to ten days.
    • Blistering or unusual scabbing.
    • Pimples or boils that exude pus.
    • Continued bleeding after three nights, or red streaking.
    • A fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
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  1. 1 Protect against sun exposure. During the two weeks that your tattoo is healing, stay out of the sun. UV rays can fade the inks in your tattoo, and they are damaging to your skin. If you must go outside, apply a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or more at least 15 minutes before you go outside.
    • You should also stay away from tanning beds. [17]
  2. 2 Avoid swimming. Don’t submerge yourself in any kind of water because it can infect your tattoo. The water is teeming with germs and bacteria. Stay away from swimming pools, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, hot tubs, and the ocean. [18]
    • You will need to avoid swimming until your tattoo is fully healed.
  3. 3 Avoid picking or scratching the tattoo. Don’t pick scabs or scratch itchy parts. Not only will it harm the healing process, but you could infect the tattoo with germs under your nails.
    • You should also avoid wearing clothing that could irritate or stick to the tattoo. If you can, leave the tattoo uncovered. [19]
  4. 4 Allow two weeks for your tattoo to heal. Be careful with your tattoo for the full two weeks after you get it, even if you think it looks healed. Infections are serious, so don’t risk getting one by stopping your care early or engaging in risky activities, such as swimming. [20]
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Add New Question

  • Question Is it okay to wash a new tattoo? Grant Lubbock Tattoo Artist & Co-Owner, Red Baron Ink Grant Lubbock is a Tattoo Artist and Co-Owner of Red Baron Ink, a tattoo salon based in New York City. Grant has over 10 years of tattooing experience and he specializes in neo-traditional, black/grey, and color tattoos. Red Baron Ink’s main goal is for each tattoo coming out of their studio to be one of a kind custom pieces that will look good throughout a lifetime. Tattoo Artist & Co-Owner, Red Baron Ink Expert Answer Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer. You should wash your new tattoo twice a day, morning and night. It’s important to use antibacterial soap when washing. You can also lightly hydrate your tattoo with ointment, such as Redemption or Aquaphor. You can do this two or three times a day. When caring for your new tattoo, always consult with your tattoo artist and follow their instructions.
  • Question How can I keep my tattoo from fading? Grant Lubbock Tattoo Artist & Co-Owner, Red Baron Ink Grant Lubbock is a Tattoo Artist and Co-Owner of Red Baron Ink, a tattoo salon based in New York City. Grant has over 10 years of tattooing experience and he specializes in neo-traditional, black/grey, and color tattoos. Red Baron Ink’s main goal is for each tattoo coming out of their studio to be one of a kind custom pieces that will look good throughout a lifetime. Tattoo Artist & Co-Owner, Red Baron Ink Expert Answer Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer. After your new tattoo is fully healed, which generally takes about three weeks to a month, you should start to apply sunscreen anytime your tattoo is going to be exposed to the sun. Try to avoid long exposures to the sun as much as possible. You can also hydrate the tattoo daily with light lotion to help avoid fading and aging.

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  • It is normal for ink to come off throughout the cleaning process.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing so your tattoo can breathe and heal.


  • Do not pick at or scratch off scabs.
  • Stop using creams or soaps that cause irritation, a rash, or excessive heat or discomfort.


How to take care of your tattoo after it has been tattooed?

How often should you wash a new tattoo? – When Should I Wash My New Tattoo The moment you remove your bandage you must follow this schedule: Wash your new tattoo every couple of hours for 3 days. That means: Wash, dry and apply ointment. Remember to use hot water (the hotter the better), and yes, I know that can be rather uncomfortable. Glide over your flesh wound with your (squeaky clean) finger tips and soapy water. Personally, I like soaps like Dial and Hibiclens , but other brands will work just fine as long as their fragrance free.

  • The key is to loosen up any dried lymph and coagulated blood;
  • Remember, you’re not scrubbing like a mad man here; any type of towel, washcloth or sponge are to be absolutely avoided;
  • When you finish washing, pat your skin dry with a new paper towel or clean, fresh out of the laundry, soft wash cloth;

Remember, your old bathroom towels are teeming with bacteria! To complete the process, apply ointment like Tattoo Goo , which is petroleum free and uses natural healing herbs to soothe your skin. After the first 3 days, switch to washing two to three times per day.

  1. Stop using ointment and switch to lotion/moisturizer;
  2. See the Top 9 Best Lotion For Tattoos here;
  3. Go with a fragrance-free option like Lubriderm Daily Moisture Fragrance Free;
  4. Apply it in tiny dabs as needed, but avoid overdoing it;

Continue using lotion/moisturizer for approx. 25 days. During that timeframe your skin will start peeling. Relax, this is normal, and that includes colorful bits of skin flaking off too. Toward the end of the process you’ll notice your new tattoo has taken on a waxy, shiny tone.

How long should I Leave my Tattoo bandage on before washing?

About This Article – Article Summary X Cleaning your tattoo is an important step in the healing process and will help prevent infection. Just make sure to leave the bandage on for 24 hours before cleaning it so it has time to heal. Before you wash your tattoo, wash your hands so you don’t spread germs to your skin.

Once your hands are clean, cup a handful of lukewarm water onto the tattoo then apply a gentle, fragrance free-soap. Gently rub the soap onto your tattoo until the majority of blood, ointment, and plasma are removed.

If anything isn’t removed easily, leave it, since forcing it could damage your skin and the tattoo. Once it’s clean, use your hand to cup water onto the tattoo to rinse off the soap. Gently blot it with a clean paper towel and apply a thin layer of unscented lotion to keep it moisturized.

How soon can you shower after getting a tattoo?

Exactly when to wash your new tattoo – She adds that, when you do go to clean your new tattoo, do so with a fragrance-free, antibacterial soap (like one of these choice recommendations ) and warm water. Be sure to dry it completely, either using a blowdryer on a cool setting or gently dabbing the area with a paper towel, then apply a moisturizing ointment like Aquaphor (after the first few days, Richmond says you can switch from an ointment to a lotion).

  1. So, you can (and should ) clean your new tattoo pretty soon after getting it;
  2. But, as far as showering goes, Richmond says to wait 24 hours — and, even then, don’t let the water’s stream hit your tattoo directly;

Keep up that initial cleaning routine a few times a day for two to four weeks while your skin heals. You might start to notice scabbing or crusting around your tattoo, but this is totally normal. A tattoo is like any other wound — it has to scab in order to heal (so resist the urge to pick at it).

With that in mind, it’s still very important to keep your tattoo out of direct contact with water during this period. Richmond explains that your skin barrier isn’t fully intact until the tattoo is done healing, so any possible contaminants in a swimming pool or bath tub could very easily find their way into your skin and cause an infection.

In other words, wait until your skin looks healed and free of scabs (depending on the size and location of your tattoo, this might take longer than four weeks) before you think about taking a dip. Bottom line: Try your best to stay aware of your new tattoo and be cautious of water, sun and cleanliness for the first few weeks.