Every Tattooist wants to be able to prove their worth, and legitimacy – whether that be through excellent ratings online, or positive word of mouth advertisement. When potential customers are seeking out a place to get their next ink, it isn’t just quality of artist that comes into play, since sterilisation and hygiene is paramount in the tattoo process. Admittedly, quality of the artist plays a huge part in (most) people’s search for a tattoo studio, but hygiene and cleanliness also ranks very highly on list of prerequisites.

In the same way you would avoid a 1 hygiene rated restaurant, the same applies to a tattoo parlour, which is where the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme comes into play.


What is the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme?

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme, or THRS for short, is a voluntary scheme run by local authorities around the UK with the aim of improving and visibly ranking the standards of tattooists with regards to their hygiene and cleanliness

See also: 13 Essential Waste Management Tips for your Tattoo Parlour

According to research by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers, as many as 93% of people claim they would be influenced by the rating scheme before having a tattoo – that’s a lot of potential custom to win, or lose out on, depending on your rating!

Whilst the aim of the scheme is primarily to rank the standards of tattooists hygiene, it also serves to inform the public about hygiene standards, as well as drive up the overall standards in the tattoo industry, by creating more competition to be the most hygienic.


As a Tattooist, what do you need to know?



Applying for the scheme

At the moment, sadly, the scheme is entirely voluntary. You can opt in to the scheme by filling out an application form, which can be acquired from your local authority.

Finding an application form: Because the scheme, and therefore the applications, are specific to each local council, there isn’t an easy one-stop location for application forms, however a quick google search will easily send you on the right path:



The rating

Once you’ve submitted an application, you will be subjected to a programmed inspection shortly after. The result of this will be in the form of a rating, as well as a certificate and window sticker detailing your rating.

This rating is only applicable to tattooing procedures in your studio – this means if you offer piercing or other cosmetic procedures, the THRS rating is not valid or representative of these services although a good rating for your tattooing procedure reflects well on your other services, and your parlour.

Here is an example from Gloucester Council of the rules of the scheme, which may vary by local authority: [Online PDF Link]

Your studio will fall into one of the following four categories:



  • Needs improvement
  • Satisfactory
  • Good
  • Very Good


It isn’t enough to pass the inspection just once – your studio will be re-rated on a set basis, which may vary by council.




The cost

As with the running of the scheme itself, the costs for applying for the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme varies per local authority. It is important to check with your individual local authority regarding the running of the scheme and the cost in your area.