Dump the Green Soap


I’m feeling that Green Soap is a thing of the past. Something that tattoo artists hold onto but should have stopped using years ago. Companies still sell it and make money from tattoo artists using it. It won’t go away if someone is making a buck from it.

Times are changing and we now have more information. The more information artists get the better decisions they make.

Now when I look at Green Soap I wonder why is it still being used. It actually causes problems for the tattoo artist. I appreciate that Green Soap is earth friendly and biodegradable. I love the lavender smell of green soap and it does have anti-bacterial properties. I read that it works against MRSA. For these reasons I would use green soap, but not during a tattoo.

If you don’t have any allergic reactions to the lavender then you could use it to clean your tattoos. It has benefits, but let me explain the problems.

Green Soap contains 30% Alcohol. You want to use alcohol when preparing the area for a tattoo. It kills things and works great as a degreaser. People have been using green soap to clean and sanitize the skin area before tattooing. You think that would be fine, but here is the problem.

Green Soap contains only 30% alcohol.

I’ve been reading that anything less then 60% alcohol isn’t effective against killing bacteria.

Here is what the CDC says about alcohol content:

Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers without 60-95% alcohol:
1) may not work equally well for many types of germs.

2) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.
Source: cdc.gov.

On top of this, Green Soap is usually diluted by the tattoo artist. This knocks the alcohol percentage down even further. So pretty much all you have done is clean the area with soap.

That is a good thing but you should follow that up with an application of 70% alcohol or hand sanitizer containing alcohol.

Alcohol also removes your stencil while you’re tattooing. If you’re having a hard time keeping your stencil on, this is the reason.

The stencil is ink and alcohol removes ink. Just for fun google how to remove ink from your clothes. The answer will be alcohol. After you prepare the area for the tattoo you should not use any more alcohol on the tattoo. It will dry out and irritate your clients skin.

Ask yourself this question.

Do you ever see a doctor stop during a surgery and spray down an area with alcohol?

The answer is NO.

The area is prepared before the doctor starts the surgery. Tattoo artists spray down the area they are tattooing with Green Soap several times during the tattoo. Why would you do this? It is causing unnecessary irritation to the skin. If you need to remove excess ink and lubricate the clients skin try using a soap and distilled water mixture without alcohol. Or lubricate the skin by applying some body butter. Alcohol dries the skin out, but a ointment will keep things moist.

Tattoo shops everywhere smelled like green soap. It was part of the tattoo experience. We are always talking about not using ointments with fragrance.

Why would you use lavender on a tattoo if it has such a strong smell?

“I like using it because the smell has a calming effect.”
“I want to make Green Soap smelling candles and put them everywhere.”

There is a chance that someone could have an allergic reaction to lavender.

Practice what you preach. Don’t tell someone not to use stuff with fragrance and then turn around and use it on them while you are tattooing.

The best things to use on a tattoo are items that don’t have a lot of things that cause allergic reactions. If in doubt you can always use distilled water to clean the area while tattooing.

Green Soap was used to clean equipment. This is not the case any more. We now have some nasty germs that can survive bleach. If something can survive bleach it can live in a bath of mild, diluted, earth friendly soap. Use a Germicidal solution instead of green soap. Also use disposable equipment. This way you don’t have to mess with washing tubes and tips.

So what do you use to clean a tattoo instead of Green Soap?

You can clean a tattoo with distilled water. If you are having a hard time removing excess ink, try using a little ointment. Prevent excess ink on the skin by dabbing off the excess ink from the needle tip before touching the skin. This way you won’t have as much to get off the skin. You can use a soap and water mix.

Try to find a liquid soap that doesn’t have fragrance. Mix enough soap in the water to give the water a slick feel when you spray it on the towel. Too much soap will be really slippery. I prefer to use less than more.