How Diseases Spread in Salons and How to Prevent Them

How Diseases Spread in Salons and How to Prevent Them

Did you know that a significant percentage of salons fail to meet basic hygiene standards, putting both clients and workers at risk?

How Diseases Spread in Salons and How to Prevent Them

Understanding and Preventing Disease Spread in Salons

Salons, while offering services that enhance beauty and well-being, can also be hotspots for the spread of infectious diseases.

Health concerns in these environments arise from the frequent use of shared tools and close physical contact between clients and workers.

Proper hygiene practices are crucial to prevent the transmission of harmful pathogens.

This underscores the urgent need for stringent cleanliness and safety measures in the salon industry.


Top 3 Ways Disease Might Spread in a Salon

Contaminated Tools and Equipment

Tools such as combs, brushes, and scissors, which are frequently used in salons, can easily harbor pathogens if not properly sterilized.

These tools come into direct contact with hair, skin, and sometimes blood, creating a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive.

Common Pathogens Found in Salons:
  • Staphylococcus aureus: Causes skin infections, abscesses, and boils.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Can lead to infections in the skin and nails.
  • Trichophyton: Responsible for ringworm and athlete's foot.
  • Microsporum: Causes various fungal infections.
Risks Associated with Contaminated Tools:
  • Bacterial Infections: Using non-sterilized scissors and razors can lead to severe skin infections.
  • Fungal Infections: Brushes and combs that are not disinfected can transmit fungi, leading to conditions like ringworm.
Actionable Steps to Prevent Contamination:

Daily Cleaning Routine:

  • Clean Tools After Each Use: Use soap and water to remove hair and debris.
  • Disinfect with Alcohol: Wipe down tools with a 70% alcohol solution to kill most bacteria and fungi.

Weekly Deep Cleaning:

  • Sterilize Metal Tools: Use an autoclave or UV sterilizer to ensure all pathogens are eliminated.
  • Disinfect Brushes and Combs: Soak in a disinfectant solution for the recommended time.

Proper Storage:

  • Store Tools in a Clean, Dry Place: Ensure tools are stored in a way that prevents contamination.
  • Use Sterile Containers: Keep sterilized tools in airtight containers until use.

By implementing these sterilization and cleaning practices, salons can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission through contaminated tools and equipment.


Poor Hygiene Practices

Proper hygiene practices in salons are essential to prevent the spread of infections. However, several common lapses can compromise client and worker safety.

Common Hygiene Lapses:
  • Insufficient Hand Washing: Salon workers often neglect proper hand washing between clients, leading to the spread of pathogens.
  • Reuse of Disposables: Items meant for single use, such as nail files, buffers, and towels, are sometimes reused, increasing the risk of contamination.
  • Inadequate Cleaning of Work Surfaces: Workstations, chairs, and other surfaces may not be properly disinfected between clients.
Compliance with Hygiene Standards:
  • According to a survey conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), only 60% of salon workers consistently follow hand-washing protocols.
  • Another study revealed that about 40% of salons reuse single-use items despite guidelines advising against it.
Actionable Steps to Improve Hygiene:

Hand Hygiene:

  • Wash Hands Regularly: Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds between each client.
  • Use Hand Sanitizer: Apply a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not available.

Disposable Items:

  • Single Use Only: Ensure items like nail files and towels are used only once per client.
  • Proper Disposal: Dispose of single-use items in a sanitary manner immediately after use.

Surface Cleaning:

  • Disinfect Workstations: Clean and disinfect all surfaces with an EPA-approved disinfectant after each client.
  • Frequent Cleaning: Ensure high-touch areas are cleaned multiple times a day.

By addressing these common hygiene lapses and adopting stringent hygiene practices, salons can significantly reduce the risk of spreading diseases and ensure a safer environment for both clients and workers.


Skin Contact and Minor Injuries

Minor cuts and abrasions are common during salon services such as haircuts, shaves, manicures, and pedicures. These small injuries can serve as entry points for pathogens, leading to infections.

Infection Risks from Minor Injuries:
  • Direct Contact: When tools come into contact with blood or open skin, they can transmit infectious agents.
  • Cross-Contamination: Using the same tools on multiple clients without proper sterilization can spread infections.
Diseases Transmitted Through Minor Injuries:
  • Hepatitis B and C: These viruses can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, leading to severe liver disease.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus can cause skin infections, abscesses, and boils.
  • Fungal Infections: Fungi like Trichophyton can lead to athlete's foot and other dermatophyte infections.
Preventative Measures:

Sterilization Methods:

  • Autoclaves: Use autoclaves to sterilize metal tools. Autoclaves use high-pressure steam to kill all microorganisms.
  • UV Sterilizers: Utilize UV sterilizers for tools that cannot be autoclaved. UV light effectively destroys bacteria and viruses.


  • Chemical Disinfectants: Use EPA-approved disinfectants to clean tools and surfaces. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for contact time to ensure effectiveness.
  • Alcohol Solutions: A 70% alcohol solution can be used for quick disinfection of tools between clients.

Protective Measures:

  • Protective Gloves: Salon workers should wear disposable gloves when there is a risk of coming into contact with blood or bodily fluids.
  • Immediate Care for Cuts: Any minor cuts or abrasions should be immediately cleaned and covered with a sterile bandage to prevent infection.
Actionable Steps for Salons:

Implement Sterilization Protocols:

  • Daily Use of Autoclaves: Ensure all metal tools are autoclaved daily or after each use.
  • Regular UV Sterilization: Incorporate UV sterilizers for non-metal tools and equipment.

Routine Disinfection:

  • Disinfect Between Clients: Use chemical disinfectants on tools and surfaces after each client.
  • Maintain Clean Work Areas: Regularly disinfect workstations, chairs, and high-touch surfaces.

Promote Protective Practices:

  • Glove Use: Require staff to wear gloves when handling tools or clients' skin.
  • First Aid for Injuries: Train staff to properly clean and dress minor injuries immediately.

By following these sterilization methods and protective measures, salons can minimize the risk of infections from minor cuts and abrasions, ensuring a safer environment for both clients and workers.


Industry Best Practices and Standards

Maintaining high standards of hygiene in salons is crucial for preventing the spread of infections.

Implementing recommended hygiene practices and adhering to industry standards can significantly enhance the safety and cleanliness of salon environments.

Recommended Hygiene Practices:

  • Regular Sterilization: Use autoclaves or UV sterilizers to clean tools after each use.
  • Proper Disinfection: Apply EPA-approved disinfectants on all work surfaces, tools, and equipment.
  • Hand Hygiene: Salon workers should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water between clients and use hand sanitizer when necessary.
  • Single-Use Items: Ensure that disposable items such as nail files, buffers, and towels are used only once per client and then properly disposed of.
  • Clean Environment: Maintain a clean and organized salon environment, regularly cleaning floors, chairs, and workstations.

Examples of Successful Implementation:

  • Salon A: This salon has implemented a rigorous sterilization protocol using autoclaves for all metal tools and UV sterilizers for other equipment. They also conduct regular hygiene training sessions for their staff.
  • Salon B: Known for its impeccable cleanliness, this salon uses disposable items for each client and ensures all surfaces are disinfected between appointments. They have received high ratings from clients for their hygienic practices.

Role of Training and Certification:

  • Ongoing Education: Continuous training programs are essential to keep salon workers updated on the latest hygiene practices and standards. These programs should cover proper sterilization techniques, hand hygiene, and the correct use of disinfectants.
  • Certification Programs: Many professional organizations offer certification programs for salon workers, which can help ensure that they meet industry standards. These certifications often require passing an exam and demonstrating practical skills in hygiene and safety.
  • In-House Training: Salons can also develop their own training programs tailored to their specific needs. This could include hands-on workshops, online courses, and regular assessments to ensure compliance with hygiene standards.

Actionable Steps for Salons:

Adopt Best Practices:

  • Daily Sterilization: Incorporate autoclaves and UV sterilizers into daily routines.
  • Disinfect Regularly: Use EPA-approved disinfectants on tools and surfaces after each client.

Invest in Training:

  • Regular Training Sessions: Conduct regular training sessions on hygiene and safety practices.
  • Certify Staff: Encourage staff to obtain certifications from recognized professional organizations.

Monitor and Evaluate:

  • Conduct Inspections: Regularly inspect the salon to ensure compliance with hygiene practices.
  • Client Feedback: Use client feedback to identify areas for improvement and maintain high standards.

By adhering to these industry best practices and standards, salons can create a safe and hygienic environment, earning the trust and satisfaction of their clients.



  1. Alharbi, N. M., & Alhashim, H. M. (2021). Beauty Salons are Key Potential Sources of Disease Spread. Infection and Drug Resistance, Volume 14, 1247–1253.
  2. ‌Yang, J., Hall, K., Nuriddin, A., & Woolard, D. (2014). Risk for Hepatitis B and C Virus Transmission in Nail Salons and Barbershops and State Regulatory Requirements to Prevent Such Transmission in the United States. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 20(6), E20–E30.
  3. ‌Coulibaly, O., Thera, M. A., Piarroux, R., Doumbo, O. K., & Ranque, S. (2014). High dermatophyte contamination levels in hairdressing salons of a West African suburban community. Mycoses, 58(2), 65–68.



Maintaining high standards of hygiene in salons is essential for preventing the spread of infections and ensuring the safety of both clients and workers.

By implementing rigorous sterilization protocols, practicing proper hand hygiene, using single-use items, and keeping the salon environment clean, salons can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Investing in regular training and certification for salon workers further enhances these efforts, ensuring that everyone is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain a safe and healthy salon.

By adopting these best practices and standards, salons can not only protect their clients and staff but also build a reputation for excellence in hygiene and safety.

If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley