What disinfectant should I use in my salon or spa?
Disinfectants used in the salon/nail/spa/barber trades should be EPA-registered, and at the minimum, hospital-grade products. All tools/equipment and surfaces must be pre-cleaned prior to disinfection. All items that come in contact with the customer must be cleaned and disinfected.
An item that cannot be cleaned and disinfected is considered a single use item and must be disposed of in a closed container following use (i.e., cotton balls, paper towels, sponges, nail files, etc.).
What you should know about disinfecting for the salon and spa industry.
Let’s define some common Infection Control terminology used by beauticians and salon businesses:
Cleaning: Removal of visible debris from an implement or surface. This is most often accomplished by using soap and water and is an essential step prior to disinfecting or sterilizing.
Sanitization: Lowering the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfection: Chemical processes that eliminate most microorganisms on non-living surfaces and implements. Disinfectants are chemical products that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses (but not bacterial spores). To disinfect an implement or surface, you must first pre-clean with soap and water. For disinfection to be compliant, you must use, at minimum, an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that is mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions. Your implements must soak for a minimum of 10 minutes, or surfaces must stay wet for 10 minutes, or according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Sterilization: A process that completely destroys all microbial life, including bacterial spores. Sterilization is accomplished by using an FDA-cleared device that employs heat or chemical action to destroy all potentially dangerous organisms. It is important that maintenance and testing be performed on sterilizers per manufacturer’s recommendations.
All implements, once disinfected and/or sterilized, must be stored in a clean, dry, covered container prior to use.
Agencies that regulate Infection Control Products and Procedures for Spas and Salons
EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency) regulates disinfectants and sterilants used on environmental surfaces. In the United States, chemical germicides formulated as sanitizers, disinfectants, or sterilants are regulated in interstate commerce by the Antimicrobials Division, Office of Pesticides Program, EPA, under the authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1947. Under FIFRA, any substance or mixture of substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest (including microorganisms but excluding those in or on living humans or animals) must be registered before sale or distribution.
FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) the government agency that regulates germicides that are used in healthcare settings for instruments that penetrate human tissue (critical instruments) or touch mucous membranes (semi-critical instruments).
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guides the public on how to prevent and respond to infectious diseases in both health care settings and at home. With respect to disinfectants and sterilants, part of CDC’s role is to inform the public of current scientific evidence pertaining to these products, to comment about their safety and efficacy, and to recommend which chemicals might be most appropriate or effective for specific microorganisms and settings.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) an agency of the US Department of Labor tasked with protecting the welfare of the American worker. Its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by issuing and enforcing standards for workplace safety and health.
State Guidelines – each state has an agency that creates regulations for various trades. The salon, spa, nail, and barber trades are regulated by state boards. We have provided contact information for those groups at this site.