The Most Important infection control, you will do for your clients and your own health and peace of mind
Proper Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools In Salons Is Vital
Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools In Salons. Who reading this does not clean their nail tools, cuticle pushers (etc) or drill bits after each use? maybe you feel a quick rinse with boiling water or a spritz of hand sanitizer is perfectly ok? The bad news is that it is not ….. not even nearly! Human skin I regret to inform you is full of microbes, bacteria and more. Why do we put antibacterial on a cut? Well that is because it is well known that these microbes on our skin can easily cause infections of a wound or cut.
Cleanliness and safe sterilization though should be nothing new to the salon and beauty industry. However whilst the advent of Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of this, it is unfortunate that most salons still do not correctly sanitize or have proper protocols for this in place.
Lack of Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools In Salons causes disease
Many patients see doctors and foot care experts every day suffering from bacterial and fungal infection of the feet, hands and nails after visiting their nail salon. Thousands of clients every year pick up these microorganisms due to the equipment that is utilized while getting their routine manicure or pedicure.
Therefore one needs understand that bacteria and fungi thrive all around us everyday. Usually they are not a problem. However, when you dig into the crevices of the nails and cuticles or after trimming down rough and calloused skin, tiny tears in the skin will happen. As a result any microorganism around can easily get into our bodies and start multiplying causing an infection.
Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting What’s the Difference?
There is much confusion amongst salon owners and technicians regarding the terms cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization. It is very important for salon and spa owners and workers to understand the differences regarding Sanitization In Salons.
What follows is a brief description of each.
Cleaning when discussing specifically salon hygiene protocol, is generally achieved by using soap, water and detergents. This is an essential element to any effective infection control procedure. It should always be carried out prior to sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing as it boosts the effectiveness of each process. Not cleaning your implements first, may deactivate disinfectants that are used later.
Sanitization In Salons is the “part 2” of cleaning. This refers to the mechanical removal of visible dirt, grime, dead skin and dust. Scrubbing by hand or more sophisticated cleaning machines, such as an ultrasonic cleaner, reduces the amount of bacteria but does not kill or destroy all bacteria or viruses from surfaces. Rather, it brings the amount of bacteria on a surface to a more acceptable level.
Disinfection is the destruction of viruses, bacteria, and fungi on surfaces that have previously been in contact with a client’s skin. Proper disinfection leaves a surface far less likely to transmit infection or cause disease. Disinfection is only for non-living surfaces as proper disinfectants are damaging to living skin and may lead to irritation or allergic reactions.
When one thinks about it, “sterilization” and “disinfection” have very similar definitions. However in medical terminology, they express different levels of protection against infection.
Sterilization is the complete destruction of all microscopic life on a surface. Hospitals will sterilize surgical tools. Sterilizing fully removes any pathogens (including bacteria) from solid materials.
How to Correctly Carry Out Each Step for Great Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools
It is always vital and of prime importance to safeguard the health of your employees and customers. Knowing the key differences between the above processes and the best methods to achieve them is a must for your operation. Let’s take a deeper look at carrying out each step.
Cleaning demands liquid soap or detergent, water and elbow grease. Wash by hand.
No matter how well cleaning is carried out it is not enough to make sure that you won’t have any unwanted sneaky micro-organisms on your tools. All professional spa and salon operators engaged in manicure, pedicure and hair styling need to fully understand that cleaning is just the first step in their infection control process.
Sanitizing requires a clean and disinfected scrubbing brush to correctly remove all debris not removed by washing with soap and water. All tools must be scrubbed with a clean and disinfected scrub brush under running water. Different tools are cleaned in different ways. It is always best to check with the supplier what special cleaning requirements may be needed. Once washed and sanitized well the tools need thorough rinsing.
After proper cleaning and sanitizing all reusable implements and tools, the next step in your procedure is to fully submerse your tools in a tool cleaning solution, such as Steri-Tech Ultrasonic/manual tool cleaning solution>>. With or without a Ultrasonic machine, the choice is yours.
The item must be completely immersed so that all surfaces, including handles, are soaked for the time required on the disinfectant manufacturer’s label. Usually, disinfectants require 5-10 minute immersion. Remove items after the required time, using clean and disinfected tongs or gloves, to avoid skin contact with the disinfectant solution. If required by the instruction label, rinse thoroughly with running water.
A quick word on disinfection using alcohol.
There is no problem soaking your implements in alcohol. Pure alcohol will not damage most tools. However have you ever wondered why 70% alcohol is regularly suggested for hand sanitizing? Simply 100% pure alcohol is not as effective as 70% for killing of germs and microbes.
Seems strange but it’s a fact. Pure alcohol coagulates protein on contact. What does this mean? The pure alcohol only penetrates the outer layer of the organism before forming a protective barrier. This barrier then prevents the alcohol penetrating further. On the other hand 70% alcohol, whilst also coagulating the protein, does so at a far slower rate It thus it penetrates all the way through the cell before coagulation can block it, and kills the organism. If you would like to read more on this subject, please see here>>
In order to truly be a gold standard protocol the next step must be sterilization. The very best method of doing this is utilising heat. An autoclave is absolutely ideal for this and is the preferred method used in hospitals. The autoclave applies very high pressure and heat to destroy all microorganisms on an object. This method is fantastic but costly. Another disadvantage is that steam may damage your sensitive nail tools.
In any event in some cases steam cannot penetrate an instrument or can even destroy it In this situation your next logical option is dry heat. Dry heat is a strong technique requiring high temperatures and time. A high heat sterilization box such a the one here>> has enough heating power to kill all pathogens. Dry heat sterilization uses air of around 171 degrees C to kill microbial life. These heat machines are affordable and effective for your Sanitization In Salons.
Many hospitals, particularly in third world countries have no autoclave or heat facilities. In this case chemical sterilization such as this one here>>, is used. The item must be completely immersed so that all surfaces, including handles, are soaked for the time required on the sterilizer manufacturer’s label. Usually, these liquid sterilizers require 20 minute immersion. Remove items after the required time, using clean and disinfected tongs or gloves to avoid skin contact with the disinfectant solution. If required by the instruction label, rinse thoroughly with running water.
We like to be absolutely certain so suggest both of the above. That is first soak in chemical steriliser and after use high heat. Overkill? Maybe but in this way your are guaranteed of perfectly clean and sterile equipment.
Finally dry the tools with a clean towel or roller tissue, or allow them to air dry by placing them on a clean towel and covering them with another clean towel.
Add a Real Impressive Touch to Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools
To store your implements such as nippers and drill/efile bits, place in a self sealing sterile pouch such as this one. Remove only when required and in front of your clients. The effect on your clients will be well worth it.
What About Nail Files and Buffers with regard to Cleaning and Disinfection of Tools
Obviously the first choice is using brand new files for each client. Files have many places within the grit for micro-organisms to hide and multiply. The reusable peel and stick type is something worth looking into. Very sterile and reasonably priced. If one chooses to reuse files then they need to pay special attention to these implements.
The cleansing and sterilization process is not dissimilar to other implements save that not all files can withstand proper sterilizer liquids. If that is the case you really must decide weather you want to use new files each time or good quality files that can be properly cleaned. There is no point using cheap ones and trying to reuse them over and over again. it simply is not possible. The procedure is reiterated below;
- Place some antibacterial liquid soap or sanitizer on your clean and disinfected brush.
- Gently scrub all surfaces to remove all visible debris and residue all the while thoroughly rinsing.
- After cleaning and sanitizing, sterilize by immersing in sterilizer liquid or a high heat sterilizer (or better yet both!)
- Remove items, rinse thoroughly in running water.
Allow items to air dry completely (usually 24 hrs), by placing them between two clean towels and press out the moisture. This ensures that they are completely dry.
Sterilized Cleaning and Disinfection Means Healthy and Clean for Your Salon
Disinfecting your salon tools and equipment alone may be enough for the law, but you also need to make sure your customers are happy and healthy. By doing the above, you keep infection and disease out of your salon, which will make customers want to keep coming back.