When Can I Stop Washing My Tattoo With Antibacterial Soap?

By Marsha Harrison

Fact-checked by Kia Lowe

when can i stop washing my tattoo with antibacterial soap

Once your tattoo artist has completed their job, it’s time for you to take care of your newly inked skin. I know many first-timers are asking, “When can I stop washing my tattoo with antibacterial soap?”

Your tattoo artist will likely provide you with detailed aftercare instructions. If you somehow could not find the piece of paper handed to you, keep calm and read this article!

When to Stop Washing Tattoos With Antibacterial Soap?


Generally, you will have to use warm water and fragrance-free antibacterial soap during the first stage of healing, which typically takes place in the first six days.

There is no one fixed timeline to follow. Other factors like the tattoo’s size, location, and immune system can affect the healing process.

Even if you diligently follow the aftercare routine every day, for instance, tattoos on the hands or feet take longer to heal as these body parts are always moving.

In other words, your tattoo artist may instruct you to clean your new tattoo with antibacterial soap longer if it is slow to heal.

Frequently Asked Questions (Optional)


1. When can I use regular soap on my tattoo?

Again, the location and the size of your tattoo will determine how long you need to wash a new tattoo with antibacterial soap. This can take anywhere between two to six weeks.

Some tattoo artists may tell you to switch to regular soap after five days but others will ask you to use antibacterial soap longer.

In any case, you will not put your health at risk if you choose to wash with antibacterial soap longer than necessary.

  • Tip: If you are unsure, you can consult your tattoo artist so he or she can advise you on when to stop washing your tattoo instead of asking random users on Reddit.

Alternatively, consult a doctor. Your tattoo may look like a piece of art but it is technically a wound. Hence, it must be treated as such!

2. How long should I wash my tattoo with antibacterial soap?

Some tattoo artists may instruct you to wash your inked skin at least twice a day daily until the surface is healed.

That said, the length of time you need to rub the area with soap varies depending on the brand of soap you use.

For instance, Sorry Mom, a foaming soap for tattoos, recommends that you keep rubbing in a circular motion until the soap no longer feels slippery. Naturally, if you have a bigger tattoo, you will spend more time washing it.

If you are using Dove or Dial soap, make sure that you rub the lather gently until you cover the area then rinse it with water as demonstrated by JustINKD on Youtube.

As you wash, remember that you must avoid soaking or submerging your tattoo in water for too long.


Tattoo newbies wonder, “When can I stop washing my tattoo with antibacterial soap?”

Even though there is an estimated timeline to follow, you may end up having to use antibacterial soap longer if your tattoo is taking more time to heal.

Since your skin is wounded, you will have to keep track of the healing process and follow the aftercare routine accordingly. Otherwise, your tattoo may get infected.

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