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Getting fingerprinted with sweaty hands can be a problem. And no, I’m not a criminal who had to be checked into the police department. But that would be a good story, I’m sure. Bad decisions make good stories. Back when I was still in college, I had to be fingerprinted in order to do my student observation in a local high school. I was pursuing a teaching certificate at the time, and part of the requirement was a full background check including fingerprints so I could get clearance to enter the school.

One of my readers emailed me and asked if I have any tips for getting fingerprinted when your hands are really wet. I do!

Explain Yourself

Call ahead of time and speak to the people who will be collecting your fingerprints. Tell them you have hyperhidrosis and may require some additional time for the prints. Once the people know what they’re dealing with, they may have ideas already that they can begin thinking about and even implementing to help you complete the process.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Ask if you can come in early so that your body can adapt to their room’s temperature. Additionally, you can ask if a private appointment is possible. When I had mine done, all of the other students in the teaching program were there at the same time. You know what that means – LINES. I hate standing in lines. They make me sweat. Your best bet is to have both – a private appointment so you’re by yourself where you can arrive early and just hang out for a bit to get used to the room temperature. Whenever I arrive somewhere, it takes about 10-15 minutes for my body to adapt.

Bring Some Sweaty Supplies

You may not need all of these items, but bring whatever works best for you to help you get dry enough to get good prints.

  • A fan for air flow
  • A towel to wipe your hands
    – Wash the towel and test it for fuzz factor, as you don’t want fuzz on your fingertips right before you get them inked.
  • Rubbing alcohol
    – Alcohol will help to dry your skin and evaporates quickly.
  • A bowl of ice
    – If you’re really having a hard time controlling your sweat, immersing your hands in ice may help to cool them down. If you can get your wrists in there, too, that will help cool your overall body temperature through the pulse points on your wrists.
  • Really thin plastic wrap
    – I’ve not tried this personally, but you might be able to stretch it over your fingertips and still get a fingerprint to come through.
  • Baby powder
    – I’m not sure how this will affect the fingerprint transfer, so ask the professionals first. But, it might be absorbed fast enough in your sweaty hands to give you a brief window of time to place a drier finger on the paper or scanning machine.
  • Wear jeans
    – An old job of mine required me to clock in using my fingertip on a glass plate that scanned my fingerprint. Sometimes rubbing my finger up and down on my jeans helped me get a better scan.
  • Paper towels to wipe off the ink afterward
  • Ask to go outside to be fingerprinted
    – Depending on the climate, I tend to feel more comfortable and more dry out in the open air.

Create an Environment to Thrive

Based on all of these tips, the biggest one for me is to be able to adapt to the environment. So make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time in the space wherever you’ll be fingerprinted. I do much better when I don’t have to walk into a room and go straight to the action. Slow down, try not to over-think it, and then when you feel comfortable approach the person who will be helping you. Bring a magazine or something to distract yourself with for a few minutes. You don’t want to get caught in the vicious inner monologue many of us experience when we are in a situation that we know has high potential for sweat factor. Good luck!

Have you been fingerprinted with sweaty hands? What was your experience like? Leave me a comment below!


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