As of 2014, there are more than 656,000 barbers and hairstylists in the US, and more than 113,000 manicurists and pedicurists. These numbers are estimated to increase by at least 10 percent within the next next years, as the beauty industry continues to flourish. Every city and town across the States offers customers a variety of salons to choose from.
However, given the number of customers passing through the doors of salons every week, keeping them as clean and fresh as they should be might not always be easy. Not only are strands of trimmed hair, nail clippings, and more scattered across the salon, but staff come into physical contact with many different people during an average day.
Poor sanitation can cause problems. For example, a report found that 56 percent of salons in New York failed to meet the standards laid out by the state’s health and safety rules, and customers are known to have picked up staph and hepatitis infections as a result of lax hygiene.
Cleaning is obviously paramount to maintain high standards of hygiene in salons of all kinds, but following sanitary regulations to the letter is easier said than done. However, despite the effort and time required, all salons should take the necessary precautions to maintain the highest standards.
How can you know if your salon is as sanitary as it should be?
Do You Sterilize Your Instruments In An Autoclave?
Any tool that comes into contact with customers should be sterilized between every use, to avoid spreading bacteria from one person to another. This includes combs, clippers, brushes, nail files, rollers, and anything else touching multiple bodies.
Autoclaves use heat to sterilize utensils, but many states actually allow salons to disinfect instruments in cleaning chemicals for a minimum of 10 minutes between use instead. When shopping for chemicals powerful enough to protect your clients, search for solutions marked as strong enough to eliminate bacteria.
Any salon failing in this or just rinsing tools is highly likely to be in breach of minimum sanitation requirements.
Do You Wash Bowls And Baths Between Use?
Any towels used to remove excess polish or to dry feet should be washed. Treatment areas need to be cleaned too, mainly surfaces on which clients rest their hands and / or feet. Technicians must wash their hands, and clients should be encouraged to do the same. Wearing gloves when handling hands and feet is recommended.
Anyone visiting a salon in which water is reused in pedicure and manicure bowls or technicians fail to wash their hands between treatments should consider taking their business elsewhere.
Is Your Cleaning Equipment Suitable?
If you have used the same mop and cloths in your salon for years now, there is a good chance this equipment is doing little to help. However, even if you invest in certain new products you might well be short-changing yourself.
Microfiber mops and microfiber cleaning cloths are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of environments across the States. From hospitals and offices to schools, microfiber cloths and mops provide a higher-quality clean than more traditional cotton- or nylon-based products.
Microfibers are more effective due to the greater number of fibers. As these are much smaller than fibers found in other materials, particles of dirt and dust cling to them with greater strength. A microfiber cleaning cloth pulls far more from surfaces, whereas alternative materials will simply brush some particles away.
In salons, microfiber cloths can pick up more discarded hairs, nail clippings, leaving surfaces cleaner than other materials.
Mopping salons with microfiber helps to cut costs, as they require less water and no chemicals. The smaller, tighter construction means more dirt is collected from nooks, and reduced water cuts the risk of slippages.
Switching to microfiber cleaning equipment will help salons to achieve a cleaner, more comfortable environment with less expense.
Do Technicians And Stylists Follow Basic Hygiene Standards?
Disinfecting and scrubbing is useless if your staff fail in basic hygiene. Should any workers feel a need to sneeze or cough, they should cover their nose and mouth, and change their gloves afterward. Any cuts or scrapes should be covered to avoid possible contamination.
On the busiest days, salons will treat dozens of clients. Any lapse in sanitation standards could affect the health and wellbeing of every one, not to mention those they come into contact with. Don’t be afraid to suggest training in workplace hygiene if you feel your team will benefit – it is in everyone’s best interests.
Do You Keep Eating And Drinking Out Of Treatment Areas?
Your stylists and technicians must be able to eat and drink whenever needed, of course. However, this should be restricted to designated areas, such as a store room or lounge.
Consuming food or fluids of any kind in treatment zones is not only unprofessional and inappropriate, but crumbs and spillages can attract bugs and rodents. Workers should also wash their hands thoroughly after eating, and remove any food matter from their uniforms or clothing before returning to their client-facing duties.
By adhering to sanitation regulations and working hard to maintain a clean, welcoming environment, you can ensure your salon provides clients with a quality experience they will want to repeat again and again. Even the best-trained professionals will go to waste in an establishment too dirty to attract custom, so consider how sanitary your salon is. Your clients may well thank you for it.
Kyle McManus is a freelance writer based in the UK. This article was prepared on behalf of Texas Microfiber.