There is no doubt that proper hygiene in a hair and beauty salon is a crucial matter. When using salon services, clients should be confident that the treatments they undergo will not have a negative impact on their health.
A professional approach to maintaining hygiene in the salon is a fundamental factor in preventing the spread of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms. The staff’s responsibility is to ensure clients not only receive quality services but, above all, in a fully safe environment.
Hair and Beauty Salon Location
Hair and beauty salons should be treated as typical treatment facilities where procedures involving tissue disruption are regularly performed, and every client can potentially be infectious. Equally important to regular washing, disinfection, and sterilization procedures using dedicated cleansing products are guidelines regarding the location and the actual space designated for such activities.
In a dedicated space for hair and beauty services, it is essential to allocate:
- an area for service provision,
- a waiting room and changing room for clients,
- hygienic-sanitary facilities for salon staff and clients,
- a separate space for storing equipment used for maintaining cleanliness,
- separate storage for lingerie (clean and dirty) and cosmetic products,
- a place for waste containers or bins.
The salon’s area should allow comfortable and convenient placement of necessary equipment for service provision.
Proper Hand Hygiene
In both beauty and hair salons, hands are the primary working tools. In addition to careful, regular handwashing, attention should be given to:
- keeping nails short;
- protecting potential micro-injuries such as cuts or scratches by applying a plaster or bandage before performing duties;
- the necessity of using disposable protective gloves, especially when in contact with blood or other secretions;
- removing jewelry (watches, rings, bracelets) before performing procedures.
It is also crucial to note that if a person providing beauty or hair services cannot adequately protect skin wounds on their hands (e.g., due to difficult healing), they should not have contact with the client.
To minimize potential infections, proper hand washing and disinfection of the hands should be ensured.
In case of hand contamination (including blood or other secretions), suspicion of infection, or infection occurrence, hands should be thoroughly washed with warm water and soap. The soap layer should be sufficient to cover the entire hand surface successfully. After washing, hands should be dried with a disposable paper towel.
Hand disinfection is applied before and after performing procedures. Professional preparations, often alcohol-based, are used for hand disinfection. To thoroughly disinfect the skin, the product should be rubbed into the external and internal hand surfaces, wrists, fingers, spaces between fingers, thumbs, and periungual surfaces. The product should be rubbed until the skin surface is completely dry.
The main purpose of using disposable gloves is to protect clients and staff from potential infection and the effects of chemical agents (cleaning, disinfecting, or hair dyeing). Sterile, disposable gloves should be used during procedures that may disrupt tissue integrity. For other treatments, non-sterile gloves can be used. It is essential to change gloves after each procedure and contact with biological material. Disposable gloves should not be reused.
It is important to remember that using gloves does not eliminate the need for proper hand hygiene. Hands should be thoroughly washed and/or disinfected before and after wearing gloves. After completing a procedure, gloves should be discarded into designated containers.
Equipment and Tool Hygiene
Besides hands, equipment is the primary carrier of pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms. All reusable tools that come into contact with mucous membranes or cause tissue disruption should be thoroughly disinfected, washed, and sterilized after each use. Other equipment and tools can be disinfected and cleaned.
In a hair salon, it is necessary to comply with all hygiene rules. This has to do with the risk of transmission of skin diseases and contact with bacteria. Reusable hairdressing equipment and accessories must be disinfected after each use. They should not be used with several clients without prior cleaning. This also applies to hairdressing towels. If you use reusable towels, use a new towel with each client, which should then be washed. Disposable cellulose towels go into waste bins after use. So they are hygienic and prevent the spread of possible bacteria. Cellulose towels are relatively inexpensive, do not need to be disinfected and washed, and are durable and highly absorbent. Pay attention to their grammage and number of layers. Multilayer cellulose towels are best, they are more resistant to tearing.
Disinfection of Tools and Equipment
Professional preparations that eliminate threats such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, or tuberculosis bacilli are used for disinfecting tools and equipment. To ensure effective disinfection:
- tools should be immersed in the disinfectant in specially prepared disinfectant containers;
- tools should be completely submerged in the disinfectant, and the container should be tightly covered;
- for tools with a complex structure, they should be disassembled before disinfection;
- after the required time, the tools should be removed, rinsed, and then dried.
It is crucial for the hair and beauty salon to have enough equipment and tools to use clean and biologically safe equipment for each client. In addition to disinfecting equipment, regular disinfection of surfaces is necessary. The disinfection process should not be performed in the presence of clients.
Surfaces contaminated with blood or other secretions should be immediately disinfected using suitable disinfectants, including virucidal action. The disinfection process should take no longer than 15 minutes. It is advisable to limit the use of products containing aldehydes during surface disinfection. Sprayer products should only be used for disinfecting hard-to-reach areas.
It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using disinfectants. Some may require rinsing after the active period.
Sterilization of Tools and Equipment
Sterilization aims to kill all microorganisms, bacteria, and their spore forms. Tools that can disrupt tissue integrity, such as those used for ear piercing, permanent makeup, eyebrow depilation, and hairdressing equipment, require sterilization. Sterilization can be performed in the salon or a designated room.
The sterilization station includes:
- a contaminated material section (counter) with at least one container for disinfection,
- a washer-disinfector or sink,
- a section (counter) for examining and packaging clean materials before sterilization,
- a section (counter) and storage space for sterile materials.
External entities with documented competence can also be entrusted with sterilization tasks.
It is crucial to remember that the sterilization process includes stages before and after the actual sterilization. Skipping or improperly executing any of them can result in using non-sterile tools, leading to potential client infection.
Autoclaving, using steam under pressure, is the most popular sterilization method. Autoclaving has undeniable advantages, including speed, reliable results, non-toxicity, and cost-effectiveness.
If equipment cannot withstand high-temperature autoclaving, sterilization should be performed using other methods according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Tools intended for sterilization should be appropriately packaged after disinfection, washing, drying, and function checking. Adequate packaging ensures optimal sterility until use.
Handling Laundry in Beauty and Hair Salons
Every day, a considerable amount of laundry, including towels, sheets, pads, and capes, is used in hair and beauty salons. It is essential to ensure an adequate amount of clean lingerie (disposable and reusable). Clean lingerie should be stored in designated and clearly labeled cabinets.
After a procedure, the workspace should be prepared for the next client by replacing pads, ensuring clean towels and sheets.
Used disposable lingerie should be treated as municipal waste, while dirty reusable lingerie should be collected in specially designated and labeled containers.
Laundry can be washed either outside the salon or within it. In the case of in-house washing, the salon should have a separate, designated room for this purpose.
Washing and disinfecting laundry should only use products with proper certifications and approvals, confirmed by the National Institute of Public Health – State Institute of Hygiene in Warsaw.
Municipal waste refers to waste that does not contain hazardous materials. Due to its nature and composition, it is almost identical to waste generated by households. Such waste should be stored in carefully marked containers equipped with plastic bags.
The salon owner should also plan a designated area outside the premises for containers intended for collecting solid waste with the possibility of segregation. The container must be closed and properly sealed. Its sanitary and orderly condition should be fully acceptable.
Hazardous waste with “infectious” properties includes substances and preparations that contain living microorganisms or their toxins, about which it is known or there are credible grounds to believe that they are a source of diseases in humans or other living organisms. Hygienic materials, recognized by the manufacturer as hazardous, which may have come into contact with contaminated blood or secretions, should be collected in carefully marked, tightly sealed containers lined with plastic bags.
It is also necessary to have a contract for the collection of municipal waste with a company possessing documented competencies and permits. Containers for both types of waste should be present in every room where services are provided. It is recommended to store hazardous waste at a temperature of up to 10°C in a specially designated refrigeration unit.
The establishment must have a signed agreement for the collection of hazardous waste with a company possessing the required permits.