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CA Notary Tip: Taking Thumbprints During COVID-19 Crisis


California Notaries are required to take signers’ thumbprints in their journal entries for many notarizations. And thumbprint pads are commonly used for this purpose. But how do you do that safely in the current COVID-19 crisis when multiple users might be required to use the thumbprint pad?

There are a couple of options:

  • Using alcohol-based wet wipes with your thumbprint pad
  • Using disposable, single-use ink strips

If you wish to continue to use your thumbprint pad, follow these steps:

  • Clean the outside of the thumbprint pad before each signer uses it
  • Place the pad on the open journal page
  • Give each signer an alcohol-based or antiseptic wipe to clean their thumb and both hands before they touch the inkpad and handle the journal
  • Give them another towelette after they leave their thumbprint

The other option is using disposable, single-use ink strips. There are numerous vendors who sell packs of ink strips in quantities ranging from 100 to 2,400 strips. If you choose this option, you also should follow some simple precautionary steps:

  • Clean the outside of a strip the place it on the journal
  • Have each signer clean their hands with a towelette before using the ink strip and handling the journal
  • Give them another towelette to clean the ink off their thumb (Remember, the ink strips use actual ink, so the signer may need to use soap and water to clean off the ink.)

As is the new normal during the COVID-19 crisis, follow all other appropriate social distancing practices.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

View All: COVID-19


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Michelle M. Regello

14 Apr 2020

why do I need to fill this out? I'm just trying to read the article.

National Notary Association

15 Apr 2020

Hello. There is no requirement to fill out anything to read Bulletin articles. If you are having difficulty viewing an article, please contact us at to request assistance.

Albert Alfano

22 May 2020

Thank You for that information concerning using of the thumb print.

Leonard Wooten

23 Dec 2020

Does NNA have any tips or examples to fill out new Uniform Residential Form??

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