New tattoo enthusiasts often pose the crucial question: how long after a tattoo can you have a bath? Understanding the appropriate waiting time is an integral part of tattoo aftercare, making a significant difference in ensuring your fresh ink heals perfectly. In this article, we’ll delve into this topic in detail.

Why Wait Before Taking a Bath

Before we address the main query of how long after a tattoo you can have a bath, it’s vital to understand why a waiting period is recommended in the first place.

Fresh tattoos are essentially open wounds. Submerging them in water, especially in the confines of a bathtub, can expose them to harmful bacteria, potentially leading to infections. Moreover, soaking can cause the fresh ink to fade or blur, disrupting the overall aesthetics of your tattoo.

The Recommended Waiting Period

So, exactly how long after a tattoo can you have a bath? Drawing from the extensive knowledge of TattooedNow, the general recommendation is to wait at least 2-3 weeks before fully submerging your new tattoo in water. This period ensures that the surface layers of your skin heal adequately, minimising the risk of infection and preserving the design’s integrity. 

It’s essential to recognise that healing times can differ based on various factors, such as skin type, the size and complexity of the tattoo, and overall health.

Shower vs. Bath: What’s the Difference

Some might wonder if the caution around how long after a tattoo you can have a bath applies to showers, too. Here’s the distinction:


A quick shower is typically safe, even a day or two after getting your tattoo. Ensure the water pressure isn’t too strong, and avoid directly hitting the tattooed area. Use mild, fragrance-free soap to avoid irritating the fresh ink.


Full immersion in a bathtub can be problematic for fresh tattoos. Besides the risk of infection, prolonged exposure to water can lead to the scabbing phase of the tattoo, making it susceptible to peeling off prematurely.

Tips for Safe Bathing Post-Tattoo

If you’re keen on understanding how long after a tattoo you can have a bath without jeopardising your new art, consider the following tips:

  • Listen to Your Artist

Your tattoo artist likely has experience with aftercare. Always heed their advice on when and how to bathe post-tattoo.

  • Avoid Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools 

Chlorinated water can be harsh on fresh tattoos. It’s best to stay clear of pools and hot tubs for at least a month.

  • Pat Dry, Don’t Rub 

After getting wet, pat your tattoo dry with a clean towel. Rubbing can irritate the area and potentially harm the healing process.

Key Takeaways

By adhering to the recommended waiting period and following the above tips, you can ensure your tattoo remains vibrant and infection-free. Remember, the initial days of aftercare play a pivotal role in how your tattoo will look in the years to come. So, make sure you prioritise your ink’s well-being.