Infection Prevention & Control

Learning Objective: Learner will practice health and safety procedures focused on infection prevention & control 

Infection Prevention & Control

Infection control involves policies and procedures used to minimize the spread of germs/pathogens that may lead to infection or disease. Every tool that is used on a client has to be cleaned and disinfected. A single use item must be thrown away and kept in a tightly closed container. Every implement, sink, surface, or edifice must be thoroughly processed with one of four levels of cleansing procedures and products depending on their designated use.

Infection Prevention and Control Definitions

  1. Cleaning – Removal of visible debris from an implement or surface. This is most often accomplished using soap and water and is an essential step prior to disinfecting or sterilizing.
  2. Sanitation – Lowering the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards. This process works by chemically cleaning surfaces or implements to lower the risk of spreading infection.
  3. Disinfection – Chemical process that eliminates most microorganisms on non-living surfaces and implements. Disinfectants are chemical products that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses (but not bacterial spores).
  4. Sterilization – A process that completely destroys all microbial life, including bacterial spores. Sterilization is accomplished by using an FDA-cleared device or chemical that destroys all potentially dangerous organisms.

Contact Time of Solutions Is Critical

Contact Time or Wet Time - amount of time a surface or tool must remain with the product being (wet) used in order for disinfection to take place, typically anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. If the wet time or contact time is not achieved, germs will NOT be effectively killed. 

  • Insufficient contact time due to 1) when the surface is wiped dry before required wet/contact time, 2) disinfectant evaporates or dries out before required wet/contact time requiring re-application, or 3) tool is removed from disinfectant solution before required wet/contact time is reached.

Label Directions - Not all disinfectants are the same, so be sure to read the use directions on the label. Different products will indicate the different germs they can kill, different wet time requirements, and different precautions.

Maintaining Solution Integrity

In between cleaning and sanitizing, the implements must be towel dried before inserting into disinfectant solutions. This prevents solutions from becoming diluted with water and losing their effectiveness. Read the label to determine useful life of solutions. Many hospital-grade disinfectants need to be changed daily to provide effective protection.

Make sure your Disinfectant(s) have the following:   

-Regulatory Approval 

  • Disinfectants must be registered with EPA or FDA
  • Must meet standards for OSHA bloodborne pathogens
  • Should have claims against relevant bacteria, viruses and fungi typically found in salons and spas

-Review your state guidelines to ensure compliance

-Kills germs, quick to use, convenient, and safe for users 

-Environmental impact - biodegradable is ideal and will not negatively impact the planet

Germs Spread in Three Ways

  1. Surfaces: work stations, treatment chairs, and counters.
  2. Tools: nippers, clippers, tweezers, callus removers, combs, and shears.
  3. Foot baths: circulating (piped) and non-circulating bowls.

Disease-causing organisms are spread by someone or something and move from place to place or person to person. Infection control in salons/spas has become increasingly important because of the ease germs transfer from place to place on items routinely used. 

Virus strains such as the coronavirus and bacterial strains such as M.R.S.A. have a high transfer potential. They live on the skin and spread through direct skin contact. This is why hand washing is extremely important. M.R.S.A. is also spread through towels, clothing, equipment, and anything else that comes into contact with the infected person.

The transmission of germs, bacteria, fungi, biofilm, and diseases make it necessary to clean everything that is used on a regular basis to ensure proper infection control and compliance to regulations. Workstations must be cleaned and disinfected between each client using proper infection control procedures. 

Surface Disinfection After Each Client

  • Disinfect surfaces with a wipe or spray based upon product instructions
  • Change towels and/or linens (anything that comes into direct contact of client)
  • Properly wash hands
  • Change gloves

Tool and Implement Disinfection

  • Re-usable tools and implements require a higher level of disinfection. Accidental cuts and micro abrasions can lead to the spread of blood borne pathogens like HIV or Hepatitis B & C. 
  • Never use the same tools on multiple clients without first cleaning and disinfection each tool. 

Treatment Breakdown

Treatment Preparation

  • Lay out tools on clean surface
  • Consult client regarding any health concerns

During Treatment - avoid cross-contamination during handling of tools and client interaction

  • Forgot tool? Remove gloves, sanitize hands, get item re-sanitize hands and re-apply gloves
  • Discard all one time use or disposal items so the client may witness your practice

After Treatment

  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces (station, chairs, face cradles, treatment tables)
  • Place a "Station has been disinfected" tent card on area
  • Set aside tools for cleaning and disinfection
  • Discard gloves and wash hands
  • Client contact
  • Refrain from shaking hands or hugging your clients

Infection Prevention & Control Recommendations for Reopening After COVID-19 Shutdowns