Note [4/25/2020]: The coronavirus outbreak is a global public health emergency and the situation — as well as our understanding of the virus and experts’ recommendations for safe behavior — is still developing The best way to stay safe is to stay up-to-date about and adhere to public health officials’ recommendations, regulations, and restrictions in your area. For more information about the outbreak, recommended cleaning, effective disinfection, and other coronavirus prevention tips, see the CDC and WHO’s COVID-19 outbreak information and prevention guidelines.
Hair Salon Cleaning Post-COVID-19 Presents Some Unique Challenges
After everybody stocked up on toilet paper at the start of the outbreak, the next thing to go was the hair dye and personal grooming supplies . Six to eight weeks in lockdown left the majority of folks overdue for a root touch-up (or at least a trim), so now people are raring to get back to their local beauty salons (mostly to fix their self-styled “COVID cuts”) [2, 3]!
Let’s Get One Thing Straight: Hair Salon Cleaning & Disinfecting Are Two Different Processes
These days, understanding the difference between salon cleaning products and disinfecting agents (as well as how and why to do both) is essential. That’s because just doing one or the other — or doing both, but selecting the wrong products — can allow dangerous bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mold to spread in your salon.
Generally speaking, cleaning is an important first step for maintaining high standards for cleanliness and health in your salon; it removes surface contaminants so disinfecting agents (which actually kill microorganisms a.k.a germs) can actually work .
More specifically, cleaning (even with the best salon cleaning products) is where you manually remove surface debris. It involves scrubbing, washing, and rinsing items/surfaces to remove dirt, dust, grease, hair, hair product buildup, etc. from whatever item(s) you clean. Conversely, disinfecting kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses when applied to an appropriate surface, in an appropriate concentration, and if it sits/remains visibly wet for an appropriate amount of time . Not every disinfectant kills every microorganism, so the effectiveness of your disinfecting process relies on selecting disinfectant agents guaranteed to deactivate/destroy whatever it is you’re concerned about killing. Moreover, the effectiveness of your disinfection processes also relies on choosing/using the best salon cleaning products, first.
[To find out even more information about these differences and how they relate to beauty salon health and safety guidelines, check out our Salon Cleaning & Disinfection (COVID-19 Update) article!]
…even certified EPA disinfectants — and even EPA disinfectants known to be effective against the novel coronavirus — can’t and won’t do what they’re supposed to if there is a layer of grease, dirt/dust, hair product, or hair covering the surface
How The Best Salon Cleaning Products Make EPA Disinfectants More Effective
Most hair and beauty salon health and safety guidance focuses on ensuring that selected disinfectants are effective against staphylococcus, aureus, salmonella, and pseudomonas, as well as being tuberculocidal . That’s why it’s required that you use EPA disinfectants. Today, it’s also important to make sure to use certified EPA disinfectants that are also known to be effective against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
But here’s the thing: beauty salon health and safety depends on having both high-quality cleaning and disinfecting processes. More specifically, it depends on following your high-quality cleaning protocols with using a high-quality disinfectant product. That’s because even certified EPA disinfectants — and even EPA disinfectants known to be effective against the novel coronavirus — can’t and won’t do what they’re supposed to if there is a layer of grease, dirt/dust, hair product, or hair covering the surface. EPA disinfectants literally cannot penetrate the surface debris that builds up as a result of everyday salon operations.
So salon cleaning is integral to salon health and safety because even the best EPA disinfectants won’t work without them!
Make Clients Feel Beautiful While Also Keeping Them Safe
By nature, salon service offerings require a lot of close contact and communication between staff members and clients. On top of that, they often require both parties to make multiple moves into different stations of the salon (potentially spreading contamination across the whole facility in a single appointment). So operations post-COVID-19 will need to change a little to keep everyone safe. Guidelines from states around the country now suggest:
- Implementing a touch-less temperature-check protocol to ensure neither staff nor clients entering the salon is feverish;
- Establishing a screening process to determine if staff or clients are showing other symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus recently;
- Maintaining social distancing as much as possible;
- Providing (and requiring the use of) PPE like masks and gloves;
- Requiring that everyone in the salon follows hand-washing best practices; and
- Investing in/training staff to use high-quality cleaning products (regularly, throughout the day) followed by EPA disinfectants guaranteed to target both the standard list of germs and the novel coronavirus .
So, all things considered, the best salon cleaning products are those that are easy-to-use, safe to use around clients (and in enclosed spaces), and which cause minimal damage to equipment even with regular, frequent use.
The Harsh Reality Is: Some Of The Best Salon Cleaning Products Can Cause Harm
Broadly speaking, many household and industrial cleaning products — even some of the best salon cleaning products — can give off noxious fumes, contain caustic and carcinogenic chemicals, and aren’t safe for use in close-quarters or during business hours. That’s because :
- Household cleaning products are common causes of poisoning in both adults and children.
- Contact with common cleaning chemicals — even in small amounts and through indirect exposure — can have immediate adverse effects on clients’ and staff members’ health (like causing nausea, headaches, or asthma attacks) and long-term consequences (like potentially increasing the risk of developing certain cancers).
- Mixing, handling, and using some of the best salon cleaning products in an enclosed or poorly ventilated space can increase the risk of exposure injury, like illness or injury from inhaling fumes or absorbing chemicals through the skin .
Plus, many common cleaning agents can ruin (demalinate) salon equipment even during regular use cycles (find out more about that from our online knowledge-base!) so having to clean more frequently to keep the salon safe may result in major damages and equipment loss if you choose drying, bleaching, or otherwise damaging products.
So How Can Beauty Salons Maintain Health And Safety Standards Without Harming Or Increasing Exposure Hazards For Staff & Clients?
The best way to minimize the hazards associated with using salon cleaning products is to use the least hazardous chemicals and compounds possible. These tend to be eco-friendly and bear at least one seal of approval — like an EcoLogo, Green Seal, or Design for the Environment badge — to signal that they are safer-for-use than the average product.
Then, industry experts agree — with so many people coming and going through the space — being able to appropriately and effectively use disinfectant/antimicrobial products from the list of approved EPA disinfectants is crucial to beauty salon health and safety (you can find the full list here) . What’s more, you should be sure to use EPA disinfectants only (and exactly) as directed on the label. Even the best salon cleaning products can’t help beauty salons maintain high health and safety standards if they’re applied to the wrong surfaces, in the wrong concentrations, or not allowed to “dwell” (stay wet) long enough to work!
For The Best (& Healthiest) Results, Follow The Salon Chair Guys’ Hair Salon Cleaning Checklist
- If they are dirty (needing grease, product residue, debris, dirt, or hair removed), clean commonly-touched surfaces with soap and water (or even baby wipes) during the day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, reception phones, bathroom surfaces, etc. (Even registered EPA disinfectants won’t cut through dirt to kill germs) .
- Use eco-friendly salon cleaning products to pre-treat and clean surfaces at salon stations, including hair salon/barbershop chairs and upholstered or porous surfaces. (We recommend our full line of eco-friendly salon cleaning products for this step!)
- Rinse pre-cleaned surfaces with water.
- Apply a registered EPA disinfectant product.
- Follow the instructions on the product label for determining appropriate surface-types for application.
- Follow the instructions on the level of mixing/diluting products and for allowing surfaces to remain visibly wet while chemical disinfectants get to work.