“Salon and Spa Equipment | Sanitize, Disinfect, and Sterilize” are three important forms of cleaning that are extremely important in the salon and spa industry.
As a matter of fact, this industry stands to suffer if they’re not compliant with these three elements of cleanliness. Some salons and spas do not follow proper protocol in this regard.
And although they seem to be flourishing, clients are prone to get infections. As such, there will definitely be a decline. Most of these salons and spas are known for their quick service.
As a result, clients who are in a hurry prefer to crowd these establishments. And despite their waiting in line or in the chair for an available technician, they are out the door in a short space of time.
However, time will tell as some of these clients develop fungi and other infections. Subsequently, they give up on visiting these salons for continued services.
It’s unfair to salons and spas that sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize in accordance to stringent guidelines. Subsequently, they too suffer as a result of the bad reputation from others.
Salon and Spa Equipment | Threats Facing Clients
There has been several outbreaks of infections, especially in nail salons. One example was an outbreak of mycobacteria in whirlpool footbaths in California in 2000. This changed the future of how salons operate.
As a result, the regulatory authorities had to put stringent measures in place. They demanded operators to take the health of their clients seriously.
Each state has its own regulations. However, there are certain guidelines that they have to incorporate. Salon and spa owners face fines and the possibility of losing their licenses. Hence, they have to comply to stay in business.
These are serious consequences and send a strong message to everyone in the industry.
In addition, surprise inspection visits are likely to catch non-compliant operators off guard. So, they are more careful not to cut corners.
Let’s look at definitions and steps to sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize.
Clean and Sanitize | Definition and Steps
There’s one step, however, that comes before sanitizing and it’s cleaning. Cleaning requires surfaces to be free from all visible signs of debris. For example, washing with soap and water.
This allows chemicals used to sanitize to work more effectively. Otherwise, the process could be compromised. Sometimes cleaning and sanitizing are used interchangeably.
A brief definition of sanitizing means a method used to reduce the number of microorganisms to a safe level. This is done by using heat or chemicals. And this process comes before disinfecting.
For example, a nail specialist completes services on a client’s feet. She uses a whirlpool spa to do a pedicure. Additionally, she has to consider the tools or implements she uses.
Here’s a list and first steps required between clients:
- Toe nail clipper: Clean this and all non-porous tool with soap and water to remove debris.
- Emery board: These are porous for single use only. Therefore, discard them after each client. Wash or wipe the handle of those that use a replaceable board before replacing the board.
- Buffer: These are also single-use items.
- Nail file: Clean electronic files without immersing them in water. However, discard the tips. Also, wash metal manual files with soap and water before disinfecting.
- Foot file: Apply the same rules for porous or non-porous tools.
- Nipper: This is a non-porous item.
- Cuticle stick: Some cuticle sticks are made from wood. On the other hand, some are plastic, while others are metal. Wood sticks are single use. But, wash plastic and metal ones before disinfecting
- Whirlpool Spa or other Foot Bath: There are different types of foot spas. And they require careful attention. The whirlpool types have a set of instructions to follow. However, the first step is cleaning with soap and water.
Salon and Spa | Disinfect Definition and Next Steps
Everything that isn’t porous and single-use items require the next step or two. For example, some can only withstand the disinfection process. On the other hand, others will need both steps.
This stage usually requires a chemical for disinfection. The focus is to destroy all potential pathogens.
Types of Disinfections
- Wet disinfection container: It’s important to fully immerse tools in a disinfection container large enough to hold them. The container must have a lid to prevent contamination.
- Hospital level disinfectants:
- Bacterial: This type of disinfectant destroys bacteria.
- Virucidal: These are effect against viruses.
- Fungucidal: Fungi have a slim chance of surviving in this type of disinfectant.
- Pseudomonacidal: Finally, this kills pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.
- Environment Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectants: The EPA must approve these disinfectants.
- Quats: Quaternary ammonium compounds are antibacterials that are certified by the EPA. They are used to sanitize of disinfect non-porous surfaces to kill microorganisms or render viruses inactive. Clean surfaces first.
Disinfectants are effective again most types of microorganisms. On the contrary, they are ineffective against spores. But, sterilization will destroy them.
Be sure to sanitize and disinfect chairs, countertops, and other surfaces in between clients. This is also mandatory at the end of service every day.
Salon and Spa | Sterilize Definition and Final Steps
To sterilize means to eradicate or eliminate all microbial life. This is done by using heat or pressure or both in some cases. Salon and spas do not require the same level of sterilization as hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
However, it’s important to sterilize tools and implements that penetrate the skin or become contaminated with blood.
For example, an electrologist uses probes that penetrate below the surface of the skin. Therefore, she’s required to sterilize all multi-use implements that have the potential to be in contact with blood.
These items are usually hard non-porous materials. However, some other materials such as fabric may also be sterilized.
Not all materials that are sterilized can stand up to the process over long periods of time. They will begin to show signs of deterioration at some point.
Of course, they must be able to withstand the sterilization process. And, this is one way to prevent the transmission of microorganisms.
Steam sterilization is very common, inexpensive, and preferred to other types of sterilization in many cases. An autoclave is a good example. There are four elements involved in the process. These are steam, pressure, temperature, and time.
They must be regulated according to the correct proportions in order to be effective. Furthermore, this method is effective against all types of microorganisms including spores.
Protect Your Clients | Operate in Integrity
Clients want to know they can feel safe in the salon and spa. And, they rely on owners and technicians to operate in integrity. Trust is very important in any kind of relationship.
They expect to have a clean and relaxing environment without the fear of contracting diseases. As such, it’s in everyone’s best interest to pay attention to specific guidelines.
Licensing organizations enforce these guidelines. And, they conduct inspections to ensure compliance. Moreover, owners will face fines when they’re in violation. Furthermore, they run the risk of losing their licenses to operate.
Likewise, workers aren’t exempt from these penalties. And, they must ensure their licenses are up to date. Most importantly, they should be careful to follow all protocols for the safety of the people they serve.
What experiences have you had in this area? Are you an owner, specialist, or client? We would like to here from you as your voice can make a difference.
I hope you find value in “Salon and Spa Equipment | Sanitize, Disinfection, and Sterilize.” Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below. I will be happy to address them.