Sterilization procedure for Tattoos
All tattooing equipment used by most of Expressions’ artists is purchased pre-sterilized, disposable and one-time use only in order to reduce the risk of infection and cross-contamination. The tube portions of the machines are individually sealed in sterile blister packs, as are the pre-sterilized needles.
For artists who use stainless steel tubes, the same sterilization process as mentioned in the piercing section is utilized with one slight difference; after Step 3 (Ultrasonic Cleansing), the tubes are left to dry for 24 hours. Once they are dry, Steps 4 and 5 are proceeded with.
List of chemicals & materials used for sterilization and surface disinfection
- Prepzyme Multi-Tiered Ezymatic foam spray
- Strate-Line™ Sterilization Indicator Strips
- Fail/Pass intergrator strips
- Crosstex Efferzyme
- CaviCide (for all surface disinfection in high risk areas, i.e. countertops and sink in sterilization and piercing rooms)
- BioTex Disinfectant (surface disinfectant used in lower risk areas of the shop, mainly for common surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, telephones, etc.)
- Sani-Cloth Plus Germicidal Disposable Clothes (used only to disinfect surfaces in the washroom like the doorknob, sink and faucets)
Sterilization Procedures for Piercings (Tools and Jewelry)
- Step 1: Manual Scrubbing
Tools are placed in a surgical steel bin that rests inside a sink. The dirty tools are sprayed with Prepzyme Multi-Tiered Enzymatic foaming spray, which prevents bio-burden from adhering to the surface prior to decontamination. The spray covers the instruments and begins breaking down blood, fat, protein and carbohydrates. After allowing the tools to soak in Prepzyme foam for approximately one minute, each instrument is manually scrubbed thoroughly to remove any visible contaminates, then rinsed under warm water. After rinsing, the tools are placed on sterilized paper towels or dental bibs and dried until there is no visible moisture.
- Step 2: Soaking
Once dried, tools are completely submerged in a bath of Crosstex Efferzyme. This biodegradable, non-chlorine formula contains fast-acting protease enzymes, which enhance the removal of blood and other soils that may be resistant to chemical detergents. After soaking for a period of 30 minutes, the tools are removed and rinsed off thoroughly using warm water, then placed on new sheets of sterilized paper towels or dental bibs and dried until there is no visible moisture.
- Step 3: Ultrasonic cleansing
Once they are dry, tools are immediately placed into an ultrasonic cleanser for one full cycle (between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the manufacturer’s instructions for load sizes). The ultrasonic cleansers are filled with MetriCide, a high-level disinfectant that provides a broad spectrum of kill, including Tuberculosis, Hepatitis A (AER), Hepatitis B, HIV-1 and Polio Virus Type 1.
Once the tools have passed through one cycle of ultrasonic cleansing they are rinsed off thoroughly, this time using distilled water. Then, they are once again placed on new sheets of sterilized paper towels or dental bibs and dried completely.
- Step 4: Packaging
Once the tools have completely dried, each instrument is placed into a self-sealing sterilization pouch, along with a piece of Strate-Line™ Sterilization Indicator paper. Along the length of these indicator strips, a line of reactive ink becomes uniformly black once sterilization is complete. For recording purposes, the back of the strip is stamped with the date and time and initialed by the person who sterilized and packed the tool. The pack is then sealed and again stamped with the date and time and initialed.
- Step 5: Autoclave
Once all the tools have been packaged, they are placed into the autoclave for one full cycle along with a pass/fail steam sterilization integrator that is pre-packaged in a self-sealing autoclave pouch. These integrator pouches are also stamped with the date and time and initialed.
Every load placed into the autoclave is recorded in a logbook prior to sealing the machine and starting the cycle. The date, time, name of the person operating the autoclave and the contents of the load (i.e. tools, cycle duration time and autoclave pressure) are also filled out. The cycle time and the pressure at which the autoclave is set remain constant and are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines. Once the cycle is complete, the load’s contents are removed and visually inspected to ensure that all packs are dry and that there is no visible moisture. The outcome of the integrator strip is then recorded in the logbook.
If the strip indicates a pass, the tools are restocked and ready to use.
If however, the result is a fail, the autoclave settings are verified to ensure no error occurred during load set up, all tool packs are opened and the sterilization process is restarted from Step 1.
Sterilization Procedure for Piercing Needles
Given that needles are shipped directly from the manufacturer and arrive brand new, the sterilization procedure is the same as the one used for tools, only starting at Step 2 since no manual scrubbing is required.