Hygiene & Safety
The Importance of Sterilization
Sanitation is one of the most important aspects of the nail salon industry.
When talking about maintaining hygiene in the salon and elsewhere, you may come across different words and definitions of what is deemed satisfactory and necessary for a clean environment / tools. The four important terms in this case are ‘clean’, ‘sanitise’, ‘disinfect’ and ‘sterilise’.
Clean and Sanitise – Removing visible dirt, scrubbing with soap and hot water with the option of also using a domestic grade sanitation solution (lower concentration than hospital grade) then rinsing. All debris needs to be removed before a sanitation solution is used and proper pre cleaning needs tooccur before disinfection. Sanitising will destroy some micro-organisms but not all of them.2
Disinfect – Kills most pathogens but does not eliminate spores.In salons, hospital grade disinfectants are usually recommended with an immersion of approx 10 minutes or manufacturer’s recommended time for tool disinfection. Disinfectant can be used for other areas of the salon such as surfaces, floors and foot spas. Most standards / regulatory bodies in the nail / salon industry recommend disinfection. You will need to check with your authority for guidelines.
Sterilise – Sterilisation kills all micro-organisms including spores. Using an autoclave that produces / releases pressurised steam into a chamber will achieve sterilisation and is the method most used by salons that require sterilisation.The pressure and extreme heat ensures that any items within the chamber will be fully sterile. Sterilisation will only be effective if the instruments have been cleaned first. 3
Some countries / localities will require sterilisation as standard whereas others will deem disinfectant to be sufficient.