For a traditional bandage, leave the bandage on overnight. The tattoo will continue to bleed and if the tattoo sticks to your sheets, you will experience ink loss. By the next morning, the tattoo will have stopped bleeding. Leaving the bandage on for this time will minimize scabbing resulting in faster healing time.
For the clear "Tegaderm" bandage, leave the bandage on for 24-48 hours, or as directed by your artist. Expect your tattoo to pool with blood, plasma, and ink under the bandage, this is completely normal. You can either let it sit under the bandage or squeeze it out the seams. Throughout 5 days, the blood and ink will dry under the bandage, when you remove the bandage the blood and ink will come off with the bandage.
As soon as you remove the bandage wash your tattoo with warm water and mild non-fragrance bar soap. Wash all excess ink and blood that is on the surface of your skin. Gently use your fingertips with soap bubbles. Don't use anything abrasive when washing your tattoo like a washcloth or loofah. Pat dry with a CLEAN towel or paper towel.
Let your tattoo air dry for 15 minutes before putting any clothes over it. Wash it 1-2 times a day and make sure to wear clean clothes for the next 2-3 weeks while the tattoo is healing.
Never cover up your tattoo again after you take the bandage off, this can slow down the healing process.