Biological Testing

Biological Testing also known as “Spore Testing”, is a test performed on an autoclave (sterilization machine) to ensure the machine is in proper working order. Active spores are placed and run through a regular cycle of the machine. The test is then sent out to an independent laboratory. The test is then incubated at an ideal environment for 48 hours to see if all spores were effectively terminated. In Ontario studios are required to perform a spore test at least twice a month. Please see the Q&A section of this website for more information regarding our sterilization procedure.

No matter where you choose to go to receive your new tattoo or piercing, always ask to see the studios spore testing results. If they refuse to show you their results then walk out!!! Though looking at a spore test result doesn’t make sense if you don’t understand what you’re looking at, so here we will go through how to understand a spore test result. There are a number of different companies that perform spore tests for studios. We have used most, if not all of them, before settling on our current provider.

You might see a “certificate” of sorts like the one below. These will have places for stickers to be put that generally say “PASS”. Although this can be assuring, it’s best to actually check the spore test result sheet, as these stickers can easily be made up. As well as these “certificates” only give enough space for one sticker, so this doesn’t show that they tested at least twice per month.


Here we have a spore test result for one of the more popular companies. You’ll notice in the report there are test date, sterilizer and pass/fail sections. Ask to see the auto clave and cross reference the model and serial number of the sterilizer to the one that is noted on the report. If the model and serial number do not match up then obviously this is not the report for the auto clave currently in use. So you have no way of knowing if this machine is working properly. Check the pass/fail section to see if the auto clave passed the test.


The following report will show three strip results. You can see we have Test Strip 1, Test Strip 2 and Control Strip. When you come across a report like this you have to remember that negative is actually a good thing to see after both test strip entries. It means that there was a negative result in culturing bacteria from the strip. So therefore the autoclave is doing it’s job at killing spores. You should always see positive following the Control Strip. A control strip is a spore that hasn’t been ran through the auto clave. This allows the lab to compare the tested strips to the untested strip so they can observe the variation of bacterial growth after incubation.


Below is a sample of our spore testing results for the company we currently use. If you would like to see the most recent results of our studio (or any studio you’re thinking of having work done at) please don’t hesitate to ask! If a studio does not provide you with their biological testing results, leave!

Spore Test