Alternatives to green soap

Written by daniel westlake
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Alternatives to green soap
Green Soap is needed to clean the skin before tattoos are applied. (man with tattoo image by jimcox40 from

Green Soap is an antiseptic soap for removing all germs from skin, for tattooing or even types of surgery. When this soap is not available, other options can kill harmful bacteria that is present on the skin. It is proactive to have these alternatives on hand so infection doesn't occur.

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Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be applied to your skin in the event that no Green Soap is available to rid it of bacteria. This rubbing alcohol should be applied with cotton swabs or a sterilised rag or piece of cloth that has had nothing else on it. Rubbing alcohol dissipates into the air quickly, so it may have to be reapplied a few times before all bacteria on the surface of the skin is eradicated.


Iodine is a chemical that actively kills any lingering bacteria on the surface of the skin better than most soaps or antibacterial cleansers. The skin should first be washed, then iodine should be applied to kill the lingering bacteria. This is used often to clean the skin when undergoing minor surgery. However, iodine is not necessarily the most effective substance to use to cleanse the skin of bacteria when applying a tattoo, as the iodine is a reddish-brown colour and can confuse the tattoo artist and get into the dye of the tattoo itself.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a bubbling liquid that kills bacteria living on the skin or in cuts on the skin. The skin should be thoroughly washed with soap and water, then the hydrogen peroxide should be poured over the area, allowed to dry and reapplied. Like using alcohol to sterilise an area of the skin, hydrogen peroxide will dissipate quickly and bacteria will begin to accumulate again in a short amount of time. Fresh hydrogen peroxide is more potent and will be more effective. This solution will lose its potency due to exposure to light over a period of time.

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