Green Soap For Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 10, 2020
    Last Updated: February 6, 2021

When going for a new tattoo, no matter where it is, there are a few things that will always be consistent. Green soap is one of them. 

Green soap is a vegetarian, environmentally-friendly, and oil-based soap. It’s primarily used in tattoo studios, doctor’s offices, and hospitals as a disinfecting topical solution. 

This specific type of soap is one of the best agents for removing bacteria and germs from the skin without drying it out. Your tattoo artist will want your skin to remain as clean and soft as possible to make the tattooing process easier for them. 

Green soap is a staple for tattoo shops everywhere, even if the brand names may vary from place to place.

Green Soap Ingredients

Tattoo artists will always use green soap or a comparable agent to cleanse the skin before beginning a tattoo. Having clean, disinfected skin is a necessary part of the preparation process for every professional tattoo artist. 

Green soap ingredients vary from brand to brand, but will almost always contain vegetable oil and glycerin. Glycerin is a solution made from heating vegetable fats, like soy, palm, and coconut oils, together under high pressure. 

Glycerin works as a natural moisturizer on the skin, while other ingredients of the soap work to disinfect the surface it comes in contact with. 

Benefits of glycerin in green soap include: 

  • Skin is less prone to itching and irritation
  • Skin is more deeply moisturized to prevent extra dryness or pain
  • Skin is softer to the touch, which makes it a more comfortable surface for the tattoo artist to work with

Green soap consists of ingredients beyond just glycerin, though. Varying brands will often include ethyl alcohol as a disinfecting agent. The alcohol is just one of the many ingredients included to ensure the alcohol does not overly dry out the skin. 

Lavender oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil are also common ingredients in green soap. The lavender and coconut oil are intensely hydrating agents that can help the tattoo artist make the skin as smooth as possible for an easy tattoo application. 

Though you would think green soap is green in color, that’s not always true. The soap’s color usually varies from a light yellow to a dark green color because of the vegetable oil and glycerin included in the formula. Even if a “green soap” is not noticeably green in color, it will still work to disinfect and moisturize the skin when applied. 

Green Soap Uses For Tattoos

Before a tattoo artist even thinks about picking up the needles to begin the tattoo, they will ensure the skin has been appropriately disinfected with green soap. 

Green soap is commonly applied to the skin by artists through a spray bottle. The artist will spray the skin to disinfect it, then cleanse the area with a wet cloth. This process will happen both before and after your skin has been shaved. 

The reapplication of this high-intensity disinfecting soap guarantees that there are no stray hairs, dirt, or other bacteria lying around on the surface of the skin. 

As the artist is working on the tattoo, they will commonly wipe away any excess ink that is spilling over. Usually, green soap is used during this step, too, to ensure the skin remains clean and bacteria-free throughout the entire time it takes to get the tattoo. 

Once the tattoo is complete, the tattoo artist will use green soap for a final time to clean off any dried blood or ink that may have escaped during the application process. Usually, artists will wrap the part of the body where the tattoo has been applied with a disinfected and breathable bandage. 

The bandage helps to protect the tattoo from outside elements until it can be washed at home. You do not need to purchase green soap to use at home as the tattoo heals — there are plenty of over-the-counter disinfecting soaps that could be used instead. 

Green Soap Side Effects

Even though green soap is a completely natural topical solution, some people have skin that will not react well to the combination. 

You can tell if green soap is not right for a certain skin type if you notice excessive redness, irritation or swelling at the sight of application. You should always test a small amount of green soap on a small part of the body before agreeing to use it on a large scale for a tattoo. 

If you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in green soap, you should not notice any excessive reactions to the soap. The nozzle used in the spray bottle for the soap should never touch your skin to protect against the risk of cross-contamination. 

Alternatives For Green Soap 

Green soap is one of the many solutions a tattoo artist is bound to have on them. Most people do not express having an allergy to the solution, but if there is a negative reaction to the solution, there are plenty of alternatives to try. 

Some of the best alternatives for green soap include:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water mixed with a sterilizing agent
  • Alcohol mixed with a carrier oil

Green soap alternatives should only be used if the skin has shown a negative reaction to green soap or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients commonly found in green soap. 

Allergic reactions to green soap will often include redness, itching, swelling, pain and irritation at the sight of the application. You should carefully wash off the area where green soap has been applied if you experience any of these reactions. 

Green Soap Takeaways

Green soap is also commonly found in doctor’s offices and hospitals for it’s guaranteed disinfecting properties.

Green soap, or something similar, is one of the staples at any and every professional tattoo studio. This naturally moisturizing and disinfecting soap is crucial for every tattoo artist to ensure that the tattoos they are applying look and feel as good as imagined. 

This disinfecting product plays a huge role in the healing process of a tattoo because it helps ensure the skin is soft, prepared for the ink and will remain largely unirritated throughout the entire process.