What Do Tattoo Artists Use To Wipe Ink Off? Quick Guide

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During a tattoo session, you will see your tattoo artist using fluid to clean off the ink splatter. You may be asking yourself what do tattoo artists use to wipe ink off? This quick guide will explain everything you need to know.

Firstly, tattoo artists don’t all use the same cleanser or techniques to clean ink off tattoos. Some artists use only hot water, while others use just soap or a special mixture.

All these cleansers, however, should have one thing in common: they don’t contain any harsh chemicals or solvents.

What is Tattoo Cleanser?

When ink is added to your skin, there is some ink that will flow out of the tattoo machine which may obscure the lines of the design the tattoo artist needs to follow. To prevent this from happening and to get your tattoo looking perfect, they use a solution to remove excess tattoo ink.

It is also important to keep the area clean during the process (and before and after, of course) to prevent infection. To do this, a cleanser is used to get rid of any unwanted markings, tattoo ink, and prevent cross-contamination. 

The cleanser is meant to remove any blood, oils, and other debris that may cling to the skin during the tattoo process. Your tattoo artists may also use the same liquid to clean the tattoo when they’re done before applying tattoo aftercare and wrapping it up.

Green Soap

what do tattoo artists use to wipe ink off

If you walk into a tattoo studio, there is a big chance that you’ll see some green soap standing around. This is a medical-grade soap that doesn’t contain any fragrance or harsh chemicals; it’s also environmentally friendly.

It is a vegetable oil-based, water-soluble soap that has antibacterial properties. It also contains ethyl alcohol or lavender oil. No wonder it is the go-to solution tattoo artists use to wipe the ink off a tattoo. The oils moisturize your skin, which will make your tattoo take better and look great afterward. 

Green soap is diluted before use and added to a spray bottle. Why use a spray bottle and not apply it directly to the skin, you may ask?

Well, it’s all about preventing unnecessary contact with the tattooed area for hygienic purposes, as well as preventing any excess friction. Your tattoo artist will already be rubbing the ink and blood off with a cloth, which is enough friction—you’ll start to dread the constant wiping when you’ve been sitting for an hour. 

If you happen to be allergic to some of the ingredients in the soap, there are alternatives your tattoo artists can use to wipe ink off tattoos.

These substitutes work just as well to clean your skin before, during, and after.

  • Hydrogen peroxide will disinfect the skin and remove excess ink during the tattoo session. Your tattoo artist just needs to be careful to use the right strength or they may burn the skin, which will not only hurt but also dull your tattoo.
  • Sterilized water is a great option if you have very sensitive skin. It may take a little more effort (and rubbing) to remove the ink residue but it’s better than having an allergic reaction to one or other ingredient. Using tap or bottled water is a no-no as it can lead to serious bacterial infections. 
  • Alcohol mixed with a carrier oil is a great option to clean the skin. You just have to be mindful that alcohol does dry the skin, which isn’t good for the end result of your tattoo. If your tattoo artist does use alcohol, they must be careful and use only small amounts. Luckily, alcohol does a good job wiping ink off tattoos so they will only need a little bit.


Your tattoo artist can’t just use whatever they feel like to wipe ink off tattoos. They have to keep your skin in mind, as well as how it will affect the ink and impact the final tattoo. 

Remember, you are already ‘injecting’ a foreign substance into your skin and causing little abrasions; the last thing you want is to apply something on top that will further aggravate your skin or worse yet, get absorbed and end up causing damage to your skin or tattoo. 

If you see your tattoo artist use green soap, you can rest assured that it’s a product that won’t harm your skin or tattoo—unless you happen to be allergic to any of the ingredients, of course. If you do experience an adverse effect to green soap, your tattoo artist can choose either hydrogen peroxide, sterilized water, or a mix of alcohol and carrier oil. 

The last thing you want is for them to use a solution that will cause extra inflammation. Tattoos are painful enough, and you don’t want to do anything that will turn up the discomfort. So, have a discussion with your tattoo artists about the liquid they plan on using to wipe ink off tattoos during and after the process. That is the only way you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Tattoo artists don’t bite, we promise, and they will be more than happy to share any information with you to keep you safe and that will allow their tattoos to come out the best they can. 

Lastly, tattoo aftercare is just as important as what is used during the process. If you want your tattoo to heal correctly and look great for years to come, how you take care of it after getting it will make all the difference.

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