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]!
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
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!
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:
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 :
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.
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!