Welcome to our PMU Sterilization & Safety Series where we bring you the knowledge, critical thinking and technical skills to help you keep you and your clients healthy and SAFE.

This is Part 2 of a Multi-part series on Safety for PMU Artists and the clients we serve.

Today we are walking through an optimal and thorough approach of TIDY TEAR DOWN. In our last article (Part 1) we separated procedural items and  into three categories of criticality: critical, semi-critical, and non-critical. In this installment, we will be identifying the three levels of disinfectants and when to use them.

Example: Pre-Empt CS20, Metricide Plus 30.
Used for CRITICAL or SEMI-Critical reusable implements that can be submerged , ex.) tweezers, reusable microblade tool handles.

Example:  Cavicide, PREempt, OPTIM, Lysol, Isopropyl Alcohol (70%-90%) *greater than 10 minutes contact time*
Used for SEMI-CRITCAL implements and surfaces that cannot be submerged, but can be sprayed/wiped. i.e.) treatment tray, PMU machine/device.

Example: QUAT, Isopropyl Alcohol (70%-90%) less than 1 minute contact time
Used for NON-CRITICAL implements that can be reused i.e) mapping tools, massage table, floors.

Fun fact, did you know that isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%-90%) can be classified as a low level or an intermediate level disinfectant depending on CONTACT TIME. In order to be effective, all surfaces must remain WET for the full contact time. This is why submersion is the preferred method when using disinfectants wherever possible.

TIDY TEAR DOWN - Order of Operations Checklist

  • Tray

  • Table

  • Surfaces

  • Sink

  • Floor

Think of the way you clean your bathroom. You clean the mirror first, then the sink, then the shower, and what do you save for last? The toilet! You save your most soiled items for LAST. Begin with the least contaminated and move toward the most contaminated. Be MINDFUL to touch all items on the uncontaminated area wherever possible, meaning the areas you touch when you clean are the areas you DO NOT touch during treatment. This method serves a dual purpose of preventing cross contamination and sparing you from unnecessary glove changes. Unnecessarily changing your gloves is costly! Not because of the cost of the gloves, but because of the cost of your TIME! This school of thought only applies to UNNECESSARY glove changes, necessary glove changes are an investment in the safety and health of you, your client and your business.

Start With Your Tray

Use this methodology of moving from "least contaminated -> most contaminated" as you tidy your tray. After your treatment there will be NO NON-CRITICAL items on your tray. Everything on your tray after your PMU treatment is classified as either SEMI-CRITICAL, or CRITICAL. Anything that is not hard-surface, non-porous cannot be disinfected goes in the BIN 🗑️.

Pinch and peel to remove barrier film from all touch surfaces such as ring lights, tray handles, and stool handles taking care to avoid touching the contaminated surface.


HOLD all of the items at the base, flip to dump the cups onto your tray, and place in the sink to be disinfected.


Remove barrier film and set aside. I like to place my undressed machine on my massage table on top of the table covering for the interim (before I re-glove).

 Remove needle from machine and/or microblade and place in sharps container. For devices/machines remove the sensi-wrap and clip cord sleeve. Aim to touch the machine only by the GRIP CASING when removing the cord sleeve and be careful NOT to touch any wires/cords. 


With your unsoiled gloves, remove the barrier bag from your medical water bottle by tearing the TOP of the bag (untouched during treatment) and pull the bottle from the barrier bag, then wipe down the bottle with intermediate disinfectant (ex. Cavicide, Pre-empt, OPTIM).

Bin the Single Use Disposables

Now all that remains on your treatment tray are single use disposables such as pigment rings/cups, q-tips, cotton rounds, mascara wands, etc (NO SHARPS). With my soiled gloves, I pinch the **2 layer barrier** by the plastic and fold the contaminated surface in on itself and bin it before I remove my gloves, sanitize my hands, and re-glove. **see our last blog for more information on the 2 layer barrier**

CONGRATULATIONS! Once you’ve tidied your tray (mainstay of bloodborne pathogens) you have eliminated the largest threat to your safe workspace. 

Remove your gloves by pinching the wrist or palm of one glove to pull your hand free and turn inside out. Ball the inside out glove in your gloved hand. Use your pinky or index finger to hook the wristband of the gloved hand and roll the glove off and inside out. Glove to glove, skin to skin.

Re-Glove & Complete Tear Down

NOW THAT YOU HAVE RE-GLOVED, you can proceed to disinfect your reusable tools, equipment and machines according to manufacturer's directions.

Ex. Spray tray with intermediate-disinfectant, wipe down and wrap your machine/power supply with intermediate disinfectant wipe and place on tray for duration of contact time.

-scrub items in your sink with sudsy detergent, rinse, dry completely, spray with disinfectant and ensure surface area stays wet for the entire contact time (eg. 1-3 minutes), rinse, dry, and safely store.

Move on to tidy anything you have touched while cleaning your tray work surfaces, countertops, ring lights, stool handles, as well as the sink basin and handles. After I have completed my tray tear down, I fold my massage table covering in on itself and dispose of it.

To extend the life of my table, I use a gentle low-level disinfectant. (NOTE: intermediate level disinfectants such as Cavicide, PREempt and OPTIM can eat through and break down fabric and textile surfaces). Check with your treatment table’s manufacturer for table specific approved cleaning solutions.

Once I’ve cleaned my table, I spray all countertops with low-intermediate disinfectant (ex. Lysol), and I spray the sink basin and hardware with intermediate disinfectant and wait the appropriate contact time before wiping with a paper towel.

Lastly, I will mop the floor with a single use swiffer wet mop after each treatment.


In this article we have touched on a handful of insights and practices that will hopefully help you in your workstation teardown and workspace sanitation and sterilization. If you've read this far there is a good change you have found a few hidden gems within this blogpost. If that is the case, please SHARE this blog post with a friend who might benefit from reading this post as well.

We are so very proud of you for taking this time to invest in your professional development and continuing education. YOU are why we do what we do. Is there a topic you'd like for us to cover? Please let us know by messaging us at hello@hyvebeauty.com and include the TOPIC and the trouble or challenge you could use support with!

In our next installment, we will be discussing Personal Protective Equipment: The PPE Acronym You Need to Know.