Hygiene and Cleaning Guidelines

The cleanliness of your salon is important in preventing the spread of microbial infections or infestations of head lice. All hairdressing equipment, tools, instruments, etc must be thoroughly washed in hot water and detergent after use on each customer to remove hair, grease and other matter. Any common household detergent is suitable.

Washing equipment must be carried out in a sink provided especially for this purpose.

At the end of each day, or immediately after use on a person having infected skin, all equipment must be cleaned hygienically by one of the following methods:

  • Moist heat - equipment is immersed in boiling water or confined in live steam for five minutes.
  • Chemical agents - equipment is immersed in a suitable disinfecting agent for at least 15 minutes (see below).
  • Ultraviolet rays - equipment is exposed to effective ultraviolet radiation for at least 15 minutes. Only approved UV equipment may be used.

The use of chemical agents is the most common disinfection method but it is vital the appropriate chemical is used and the equipment is cleaned first as disinfectants are designed to kill micro-organisms but they do not work well on dirty equipment.

Equipment should not be stored in disinfectant. It must be soaked for the recommended time, then dried and stored in a clean, dustproof area.

Fresh disinfectants must be prepared daily and the containers cleaned before refilling. Ensure the disinfectant is diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Electric clippers and other equipment which cannot be immersed for cleaning and disinfection, must be cleaned by brushing and wiping the blades with a suitable disinfecting solution.

Chemical disinfectants

There are seven main groups of chemical disinfectants, the first four being the most suitable for disinfecting hairdressing equipment:

  • Phenolic’s such as Lysol or Sudol - these are very effective against bacteria but some are unpleasant to handle or are strong smelling.
  • Hypochlorites such as bleach - these are effective against bacteria but may be corrosive to metal.
  • Iodophors which contain iodine - these are effective against bacteria and some even contain detergents.
  • Alcohol such as methylated spirits - these are effective against bacteria and are generally fast acting.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds such as Savlon - these are generally less effective disinfectants but better as detergents.
  • Diguanides such as Dettol - these have a limited anti-microbial activity and are not suitable to disinfect equipment.
  • Pine fluids such as Pine ‘o’ Clean - these have very little disinfectant activity.


  • Soiled towels, protective coverings and other linen must be placed into covered containers immediately after use - the container must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.
  • Where practical, these items should be soaked in bleach prior to being washed.
  • Laundering of such materials must not be carried out in the service area.

Hand washing

The aim of hand washing is to prevent the spread of bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms from one person to another. It is also necessary to protect hairdressers from contracting infections from customers and from substances which may cause allergies or other skin conditions.

  • All hand-wash basins must be supplied with hot and cold running water, soap, a nail brush and single service towels or other hand drying devices.
  • Frequent and thorough use of ordinary hand soaps with warm water is sufficient.
  • Hands must be dried using a clean, single-use towel or other suitable hand drying device. Note: Cloth towels are not recommended for drying because of the risk of cross contamination, i.e. bacteria from a soiled towel could re-contaminate cleaned hands.

Serving refreshments

Serving refreshments is permitted provided it does not take place in the service area where hair is being cut.

Tips for serving refreshments:

  • Every utensil (including cups, mugs, spoons, etc) used in the service of refreshments must be cleaned and rendered hygienic, unless single-service utensils are used.
  • Ideally, utensils should be washed in a dishwasher. If this is not possible, dishes must be washed in hot, soapy water, then rinsed and soaked for 30 seconds in boiling water to ensure they are thoroughly sterilised.
  • Keep food products such as tea, sugar, etc., in containers with secure fitting lids to protect them from accidental contamination.
  • Milk should be refrigerated at 7°C or below.
  • The use of single-service disposable utensils is highly recommended.

Refuse and vermin control

  • Every shop must be provided with an adequate number of vermin-proof refuse containers.
  • Refuse should be placed in easily cleaned containers with secure fitting lids to seal in odours and keep out vermin.
  • All refuse must be discarded appropriately - at least daily - and the containers cleaned.


Only guide dogs are permitted in hairdressing salons.