Stick and Poke Tattoo Safety

Getting a hand poke tattoo comes with health risks, just like any procedure that breaks the skin, therefore is certainly something to take very seriously

Whenever you’re thinking of stick n’ poke tattoos, use this as your go-to-guide, specially when you are tattooing someone else instead of yourself:

Hand poked hand, by Prisoner Poke. source


  • The place where you tattoo must look clean and in good repair. Ideally, the place should include smooth, washable non-porous surfaces, such as stainless steel.
  • The tattooing area should be totally separate from all other areas of the home, includes all dining, washroom, kitchen, sitting, and sleeping areas.
  • You should make sure you don’t smoke, drink, eat, or have pets in the tattooing area.
  • Wear clean clothes.
  • Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before starting your tattoo.
  • Wear disposable nitrile gloves, the ones most resistant to puncture.
  • Use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands and change your gloves before continuing work on your tattoo if you have stopped to do something else. Hand washing may be done before using hand sanitizer.
  • Use wooden sticks to take gel or cream from containers, don’t use your gloved fingers.
  • Use tattoo ink only, and make sure it’s a professional tattoo ink, labelled for tattooing.
  • You must use sterile, single-use, and disposable tattooing needles. The tattoo needles must be sealed in unopened sterile packages and must be always opened in front of you.
  • Use disposable ink-caps. Never put needles into ink bottles. Pour each tattoo ink color into its own cap. And always use new ink caps.
  • Throw away all plastic and/or cloth barriers after every tattoo.
  • Use puncture-resistant containers to dispose of the dirty tattoo needles. The best option here is to use a biohazard container, the ones that look like the red or yellow ones you see in a doctor’s office.
  • Be sure to follow post-care instructions for healing your tattoo.
Stick and poke tattoo storm by Megurum. source


  • Never reuse needles. Needles must be sterile, used once and thrown out.
  • Never reuse any tattoo equipment, unless it has been properly cleaned or sterilized​
  • Never allow staff to put tattoo needles directly into ink bottles. New disposable ink caps should be used for each client.
  • Don’t proceed with a stick and poke tattoo if you have concerns or questions about a tattoo operation.
Hand poked dinosaur tattoo by Lilian. source