Infection Control—An Increasingly Hot Topic, Part 1
Infection control in salons, barbershops, and nail salons is becoming an increasingly hot topic. In part, this is because of the government healthcare requirements that have been transferred to the salon industry by state regulatory boards. Salons surely don’t like the idea of having to “slow down” to clean up before they see their next client, however the sheer number of clients that come and go during the typical day can pose a risk to both clients and staff when it comes to transmission of disease and infection.
In the past, simple cleansers such as alcohol and basic sanitizing products were more than enough. Today there are new requirements to combat more virulent organisms that have mutated into more dangerous forms. Disinfectants that must now be used for infection control in salons, barbershops, and spas need to be registered by the EPA to hospital level requirements.
Sophisticated research & development has led the way to new disinfectants, cleaning systems and products. Every implement, sink, surface, or edifice must be thoroughly processed with one of four levels of cleansing procedures and products depending on their designated use.
Infection Control Definitions
- Cleaning – Removal of visible debris from an implement or surface. This is most often accomplished using soap and water and is an essential step prior to disinfecting or sterilizing.
- Sanitation – Lowering the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards. This process works by chemically cleaning surfaces or implements to lower the risk of spreading infection.
- Disinfection – Chemical process that eliminates most microorganisms on non-living surfaces and implements. Disinfectants are chemical products that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses (but not bacterial spores).
- Sterilization – A process that completely destroys all microbial life, including bacterial spores. Sterilization is accomplished by using an FDA-cleared device or chemical that destroys all potentially dangerous organisms.
Infection control in salons requires implements to be fully disinfected with a hospital grade disinfectant. Brushes, combs, shears, and nippers need to be fully covered by a disinfectant and the cover must be closed at all times, and must soak for at least 10 minutes between each client. Surfaces such as sinks need to stay wet for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Every item that is used for a client has to be cleaned and disinfected. A single use item must be thrown away and kept in a tightly closed container. Implements a client brings from home to use at the salon must also be cleaned and disinfected before use.
There are a number of governing agencies that provide direction in what is used and how it is used, which products are allowed/required, and instruments that should be sterilized.
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) works to protect our environment from the possible toxic substances that are used to prevent life threatening diseases. The EPA also makes sure that label claims for killing specific organisms are accurate.
- The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) inspects the food we eat and the medications we take to make sure they are not harmful. They also have control over devices that sterilize.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is the governmental agency that helps us learn how to prevent the spreading of diseases. They also show us what to do if particular bacteria have already been spread
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) works to insure your employees are protected. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard is the cornerstone of OSHA’s infection Control Standard and compliance is a federal law.
ULTRONICS is the disinfectant solution provider for the health, beauty and salon industry. Our hospital-grade cleaning/disinfecting systems and infection control products are designed to meet the ever-changing demands of salons, spas and barber shops. Our passion for quality and excellence continues to drive new product development.