Using ear and nose piercing guns

Ear piercing guns

The piercing gun (stud gun) is a specialised tool designed specifically for use on ear lobes, or the nose, or the navel. A stud gun must only be used for the body part for which it is designed. For example, an ear piercing gun should not be used to pierce any other part of the body. This includes the upper cartilaginous parts of the ear.

There are a number of types of piercing guns, but in most cases, the front of the gun holds a stud earring and the back holds the clasp, usually a butterfly clip. The piercer places your earlobe into a slot between the two areas and pulls the trigger, pushing the shaft of the earring through your ear and into its clasp.

Nose piercing guns

A nose piercing gun is designed specifically to pierce the nose only. It operates in a similar way to an ear piercing gun.

A nose piercing gun should not be used to pierce any other part of the body.

Operating piercing guns

Only operators with adequate knowledge and training on how to operate a piercing gun can use them on a client.

Operators must also have knowledge of infection control techniques and a minimum level of hygiene standards.

Important information for operators

  • Single use disposable gloves must be used at all times when performing a piercing procedure. Operators must not touch the ear or nose, or the pre-sterilised studs while performing the piercing.
  • The area to be pierced must be disinfected with an approved skin preparation disinfectant outlined in Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures (PDF 324KB).
  • Ear piercing studs and clasps must not be used anywhere else on the body other than the outer perimeter and lobe of the ear.
  • Only sterile capsules containing the stud and butterfly clip are to be inserted into the gun.
  • Only single-use disposable cartridges are to be used on the piercing gun.  This will ensure there is no contact between the gun and the client’s skin. The cartridge must then be disposed of after use.

Cleaning and disinfecting piercing guns

Before a piercing gun can be used on a client it must be disinfected in accordance with the Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures (PDF 324KB).

After performing the piercing procedure the piercing gun should be thoroughly washed in warm water and detergent, and then disinfected before use on another client.


Ear piercing guns must be stored in a clean, dry and hygienic container. The container should be cleaned on a regular basis. The piercing gun must not be stored carelessly in a drawer where it could be exposed to contaminants.

Further advice

Contact the relevant local government Environmental Health Services (external site) for further advice about starting a business, making a complaint about a business operating in a local district or for general advice.

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Public Health