Tattoo aftercare: How should you wash a new tattoo?

Tattoo nazorg: Hoe moet je een nieuwe tattoo wassen?

You've had the design in your head for your new tattoo for a while. Finally it's set and you're still walking with foil over the spot where your new work of art can be seen. But besides being your personal work of art, it is also just a wound. A wound (and therefore your artwork) that you can influence how it heals. In fact, your tattoo can be well ruined if you don't take good care of it. It is important to protect your tattoo as much as possible from bacteria and external influences. But how? Of course we are going to tell you.

How do you wash your new tattoo?

With washing your tattoo, besides getting rid of all the bacteria, you will also get rid of ink, wound fluid and blood. If you don't do this you will get thick crusts on your tattoo. Logical, of course, because your wound fluid and blood will dry up. When you wash your tattoo in the right way, you will avoid these thick crusts.

It is an art to wash your tattoo the right way, especially when you have had a tattoo for the first time. Therefore, always follow the following steps.

Step 1: Follow the advice of your tattoo artist.

Your tattoo artist is the expert. Unless you get your tattoo done somewhere at night in a basement on the streets of Bangkok while you've already had a few drinks. But let's not assume that for the moment.

Your tattoo artist will always give you a paper outlining the steps for aftercare. When this is not done, you should ask for it. Your tattoo artist will take into account the location and size of your tattoo and knows your specific tattoo best. Your tattoo artist will also indicate when your foil can be removed. Therefore, always ask for advice regarding aftercare and which tattoo aftercare products you need.

Step 2: Wash your hands

Okay, this is the first step if you are going to wash your tattoo yourself. Always wash your tattoo with your hands! So get rid of the sponge.

This step is definitely not one to skip, because you will be surprised how many bacteria are floating around on your hands. So to make sure you don't transfer them into your wound, it is very important to wash them off your hands with a good soap.

Step 3: Wet your tattoo with lukewarm water

Check. The. Temperature. Of. The. Water. In fact, this is hugely important. If you use too hot water, you will start to suffer from pain. And that's not the only thing. Your pores are open and if your water is too hot, you run the risk that your just-set tattoo ink will leak. The result? Your tattoo will fade in some places and the lines will immediately become less tight. Not recommended.

While showering, be careful not to put the jet directly on your tattoo. Showering can be tricky anyway, we will go into that in a little more detail later on.

Step 4: Wash your tattoo with a special soap

When you clean your new tattoo, you shouldn't just wash it with lukewarm water. No, you need to wash your tattoo thoroughly with a mild alcohol-free hand soap. Preferably one made specifically for tattoo care, such as Mr. Bear Family Tattoo Wash.

When you use a soap specifically for washing tattoos, you will also promote recovery. This is because these special soaps for tattoos contain ingredients that are extra conducive to recovery. And you soothe your tattoo as well! Nothing but benefits.

Step 5: The washing itself

Now the washing itself. You don't have to apply a lot of pressure, scrubbing or scrubbing. You need to gently whip up soap in your own hands until you have a good amount. Then wash your tattoo (with the soap in your hands) in circular motions. Don't put too much pressure but make sure you gently massage the soap in. Through the circular motions, you will calmly and gently remove the wound fluid, excess ink and blood from your tattoo. So this is the best way to prevent thick scabs.

Step 6: Rinse well!

About this one we can be very simple: rinse your tattoo until all soap residue is gone and the water is clear. Then you can be sure that your tattoo is clean and that no soap residue has stuck to it.

Step 7: Dry your tattoo

Also for this step you have to learn a certain technique. This is because you don't dry your tattoo like you will with the rest of your body. Your tattoo is still an open wound and must be treated as such.

Dry your tattoo with a dry, clean cloth. So not a towel you just dried your body with. Also make sure this towel is not fluffy! Fluff will stick to your tattoo, and you don't want that. Drying is done in a patting manner, so you should definitely not wipe.

Do you find it too exciting to dry your new tattoo? Of course, letting it air dry is always an option.

Step 8: Lubricate your tattoo

Always care for your tattoo after washing it with a thin layer of tattoo cream. Always use a cream made specifically for taking care of new tattoos and don't mess around with petroleum jelly. Your tattoo artist will no doubt share advice or their preferences with you!

How often do you wash your tattoo?

This depends entirely on where you just got your new tattoo. For example, if you have a tattoo on your hands, it is recommended that you wash them a little more often. In general, you should wash your tattoo about 2 times a day and reduce this over the days. Be sure to ask your tattoo artist about this.

Until when should you wash your tattoo?

This is where people often go wrong. Unfortunately, we didn't always get this step right either. But, what you have learned you can pass on again! In fact, when your tattoo no longer feels like a wound, you tend to stop washing it. Trust us - just keep going for a while longer.

As long as you are applying your ointment or cream every day, it is important to keep washing properly. Sometimes ointment does not fully soak in anymore, so it will stay on it, so to speak. Then bumps and pimples can appear because the skin can no longer breathe. This of course also affects the final look of your tattoo (and it will not get any better).

When to shower after a tattoo?

Here we can be very brief, this is when the foil can be removed from your tattoo! Here we have to say (again): listen to your tattoo artist. They may advise you to wait about 4 hours after getting your tattoo. Sometimes special tattoo film is used. It comes off after 3 to 5 days and you can shower with it anyway.

And an extra tip from us: pay attention to the jet of your shower. The jet can be too hard and this can cause quite a blow to your tattoo. Also the heat matters, always choose lukewarm water. In addition, always wash your hands first, even when showering.

Do's and don'ts


  • Washing your hands before you wash your tattoo
  • Lather special soap in your hands and wash your tattoo with it.
  • Always use lukewarm water
  • Use circular movements to remove dirt from your tattoo
  • Always listen to your tattoo artists and their advice
  • Pat your tattoo dry or let it air dry


  • Don't use a drying cloth that is fluffy
  • Do not use a dirty cloth
  • Do not use hot water
  • Don't put the jet of the shower directly on your tattoo
  • Do not wash your hands properly beforehand
  • Let too much cream build up on your skin

Take good care of your artwork, then it will stay nice to you longer. No one pays money to then walk around with a black stain. "Is that a tattoo of your dog? No, this is a tattoo of my grandmother." Don't feel like it. So was a long way off!

Life's too short to let your tattoo go to shit,

Your friends, The Alpha Men.