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Proper Sanitation

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Proper Sanitation Practices
Sanitation is a set of plans and practices designed to protect the public health through disease and infection prevention and control.
Most states have their own set of regulations related to sanitation, but there are many things that are just standard.

Proper sanitation involves:

The use of clean tools and implements.
Keeping the work area clean.
Having good personal hygiene in order to prevent being a public health risk.
Mindfulness of communicable diseases, and preventing their transmission.
Mindfulness of allergies and other non communicable conditions and diseases, and preventing their exacerbation.
Having a good knowledge of your craft and profession so that you are not the cause of health problems, or can help others to solve theirs.
...and finally, though people don't often think of this as part of sanitation, serving and informing the community.

Though many of the methods we will deal with in this section are common knowledge in certain families and communities, we will go into them anyway. There are special concerns that have to do with the situation and technique that some state rules do not cover because they were designed for a salon situation.

The methods of sanitation for a hair care or salon situation are similar to those in a hospital situation. Most US and European state laws require the use of some toxic or environmentally unfriendly chemicals to accomplish sanitation. If you are studying for a state exam, you will need to know what these are, and go to your local department of health and safety to find out the specific "green" alternatives that are allowed.

If you wish to go completely natural, be advised that the methods may differ greatly from methods using more toxic chemicals.

To be safe, whether you use more or less natural chemicals for sanitation, whatever you use should be an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered substance that will kill any bacteria, fungi, or viruses that you or the client may be exposed to in that situation.
You must also obtain Material Safety Data Sheets on any toxic chemicals that you will be using. This will keep a handy reference available in case of an accident, so that you and the paramedics will know what to do.

Keeping a first aid kit handy is also a necessity. It is best to keep a few small but complete kits so that a new one can be used for each person without distraction. In some places this is not so crucial, but in others it is. Salons are not immune to bombings, shootings, and other tragedies that may require immediate first aid for multiple people at the same time.

It is also a good idea to keep sanitary emergency clean-up kits in clearly labeled closed or vacuum sealed containers with manufacturer prepared ready to use disinfecting solution.

On that note, ALWAYS follow the manufacturer's instructions for use of their cleaning products.

Disinfection of Tools

The basic rules for tools are:

Tools and implements must be disinfected after every use.
Disinfection is not just using a disinfectant for it. It is cleaning and then disinfecting it.
Anything made of wood or paper should be disposed of after one use.
Whatever method of disinfection is used should be effective in killing any microbes that could pose a health risk in that situation.
Anything that may retain particles from a patron's body must be flushed out.

Wash first!

Before disinfecting an item, you'll need to wash it in very warm soapy or detergent water well enough to remove any dirt, oils, or other debris that you can see or feel is there. Generally this means that you will use a half a cup of soap flakes or a quarter cup of dish washing detergent (preferably antibacterial). Wash the tools using a sanitary cloth or sponge, while submerged completely in the wash water. Then rinse them in as warm of water as you can stand, and let them dry.

Disinfecting Methods

The two main methods of disinfecting tools are wet solution, and dry heat.

Those who prefer natural sanitation methods may wish to opt for dry heat either as the primary method or backup, as natural liquid solutions such as with vinegar or baking soda tend not to do as well at killing germs.

Wet Solutions

The most effective, albeit toxic wet sanitizers are ten percent bleach solution and five percent boric acid solution. Boric acid or borax is considered less toxic and more environmentally friendly than chlorine bleach, but one should still take caution when using it.

Both are effective in killing microbes of all kinds. Both require that the tools be submerged in them in a covered container for a minimum of 10 minutes.

There are prepared solutions available in some hardware and beauty supply stores. This may help to limit your and your clients' contact with them considerably. Always follow the manufacturer's directions with these products.

Dry Heat

In order to be disinfected, a tool must be exposed to a minimum of 338 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. This is probably not the best option for plastic tools. It's great for metal tools though.


It's a good idea to keep a handy supply of new combs and brushes that are still in the package, especially if you're a somewhat infrequ…...

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