There are several tests you can perform to make sure that a tattoo parlor is clean and safe. The best advice is to always get a recommendation from a friend. But if you don't have any friends, then apply these criteria. If any of these tests are failed, immediately leave and do not get a tattoo there.

1. Most importantly, a brand new sterile needle must be used every time.

2. Ask the artist to explain the entire procedure to you, including all of the tools he/she will use and what he/she will put on you. If the artist sounds annoyed or unconfident during this explanation, go someplace else.

3. All other tools that are involved in the tattooing process must be either sterilized or disposable (and, of course, they must be either sterilized or disposed of after each customer).

4. Everything should be personally laid-out for your tattoo. You don't want to share in a big communal bottle of ink with your fellow tattoo-lovers; you want little individual disposable containers of ink just for you.

5. Make sure the artist always uses latex gloves. Vaseline should be put on you with disposable instruments - not by hand.

6. Non-disposable equipment should be sterilized with an autoclave (an apparatus which uses superheated steam under high pressure to sterilize instruments), not an ultra-sonic cleaner or a dunk in a tub of rubbing alcohol. And remember to ask the tattoo artist if his/her autoclave is FDA-regulated.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW get a tattoo?