Importance of Sterilization of Piercing Tools

Sterilization is all-important in ear piercings- the piercing area must be sterile, the piercer’s hands must be sterile, the tools used must be sterile, and the piercing needle must be sterile.

The human body reacts to inclusion of any foreign object and may initially try to repel it. This manifests itself in the form of allergies and infections, which are the two of the biggest concerns faced by us during piercings.  Allergies are caused by sensitivity to certain metals like nickel and are easily avoidable. Use of jewellery and piercing instruments which are made of hypoallergenic metals prevents any allergic reactions. Infections on the other hand are a little trickier and proper care is required before, during and after the piercing to successfully avoid it.


As we have discussed in our earlier post choosing a safe and trusted studio which is hygienic is the first step towards an infection free piercing experience.  Your chosen studio must not only be hygienic but it is also necessary that they must sterilize all the equipment they use or reuse during piercing. Check out their sterilization procedure and notice if they strictly adhere to it. All good piercing studios must have an autoclave where they sterilize all their reusable piercing equipment between each piercing.

It is essential to clean all tools before sterilization as unclean tools cannot be sterilized effectively. The person performing the procedure must wear clean disposable gloves the entire time. Instruments must be placed in water, disinfectant or detergent immediately after every use, to prevent drying of client material and to make cleaning more easy and effective. This cleaning can be done either through scrubbing with soap or preferably with a mechanical device like a covered ultrasonic cleaner. There are many methods used for sterilization but not all of them are as effective. The autoclave which sterilizes through heat and pressure is considered the most ideal method of sterilization when it comes to piercing equipment.  Any instrument that can withstand heat must be sterilized through autoclaving. There are many other methods too like flaming, boiling, bleaching, rubbing alcohol but they are not sufficient or effective enough especially when it comes to piercing equipment.

These sterilized instruments must not be touched until your piercing begins, and then only by your piercer when he has safely cleaned and gloved his hands, just as a surgeon would. The piercer should wash his hands and wrists with an antibacterial liquid soap and dry them before donning disposable gloves.


If you are not sure if the studio is following the proper sterilization techniques or if they are practicing it regularly, then avoid using non disposable guns as they cannot be sterilized. The safest bet in such situation is to use disposable piercing guns such as single use pre-sterilized cartridges by Studex.

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