How To Properly Sanitize And Disinfect Barber Tools & Equipment
Keeping your barber tools clean and disinfected isn’t just good practice, it’s the law. So before servicing any customer, you’ll always need to wash your hands with soap and warm water or use a hand sanitizer and make sure you have disinfected your barber tools.
In this article, you’ll learn how to sanitize and disinfect barber tools properly, without damaging them.
What’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting barber tools?
There is a huge difference between clean tools, sanitized tools, or disinfected tools.
Cleaning involves water, a cleaning product, and scrubbing. Cleaning does not kill bacteria, viruses, or fungi, which are generally referred to as “germs.” Sanitizing and disinfecting products are chemicals that work by killing germs. Disinfectants kill more germs than sanitizers.
Disinfectants are frequently used in hospitals, dental surgeries, salons, and barbershops to kill infectious organisms. Sanitizers are mild in comparison to disinfectants.
Before you start the process of disinfecting your barber tools, it’s always a good idea to wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself as these are strong, caustic chemicals.
How often should a barber disinfect his tools?
Being a clean barber is one of the best ways to promote your barbershop. Clients notice when you care about their wellbeing and health, and they feel more comfortable returning for a second appointment and recommending you to their friends and family.
A barber has to sanitize and disinfect his haircut tools every time, in between every customer. You want everything you use on your client to be clean, with no exceptions. It’s also the law!
The best ways to disinfect barber tools are spraying, dipping, and immersing them for 10 minutes in the disinfectant solution. While immersion is the most effective way to sanitize and disinfect barber tools, but not all tools can be immersed. The best rule to keep in mind is: “If you can, immerse it. If you can’t, spray it.”
The best barber disinfectant & sanitizer
Babircide is the best and probably the most popular barbershop disinfectant. Barbicide is an EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant that kills germs, viruses, and fungi.
How is Barbicide different from alcohol and shampoo when it comes to cleaning hair tools?
“Alcohol does not sterilize; it just kills certain things. But Barbicide is a higher grade and it also kills viruses. Alcohol will not kill a virus; it will just kill certain germs.” – naturallycurly.com
How to mix Barbicide correctly
Barbicide comes as a concentrate and it has to be mixed with water. It’s very important to get the correct dilution in order to disinfect effectively. The usual recommended mixing ratio is 1:16, meaning 2 oz. of Barbicide to 32 oz. of water or 60 ml. of Barbicide to 1 liter of water.
When using Barbicide, always make sure you are using the EPA labeled bottle and maintain the 10 minutes contact time.
You’ll also need a container or jar for your diluted Barbicide solution. It should be big enough so that your combs and shears will entirely fit inside. There is an actual Barbicide Jar you can buy that is going to help you remove your disinfected barber tools easily from the solution. If you’re on a budget, you can use a simple, big, mason jar.
Barbicide is not the only great barber disinfectant out there though. Because different problems require different solutions, in some of the disinfecting methods presented below, I’ll also talk about other products that you can use, such as Andis clipper sprays and dipping solutions.
Best methods of disinfecting barber tools
1. Immersing your barber tools in Barbicide
The most effective disinfection for barber tools is to immerse them completely in Barbicide for 10 minutes. The tools should be fully immersed in the solution for 10 minutes. This includes the handles of all combs and brushes.
Before placing your barber tools in the Barbicide solution, you should scrub them using a brush with soap and water. This will remove all the debris, leftover hair, and product from your tools. Rinse them with water and they are ready to go in the Barbicide solution.
If you have tools that are already clean, remove them from the Barbicide before placing in other ones. If you place dirty tools in the Barbicide jar, you will contaminate the rest of the tools and liquid.
The tools must remain immersed in the Barbicide solution for 10 minutes in order for it to be effective. No less and no longer than 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the tools from the solution and rinse them with water.
Remember to change your gloves before removing the tools from the solution. Do not handle the disinfected tools with the same gloves you handled them before disinfection. It will contaminate them. Dry the items with a clean towel and store them in a clean container with a lid. Never store clean and dirty items together.
Barbicide solution is also great for disinfecting all the non-porous surfaces in the barbershop. Do not try to disinfect single-use items such as neck strips.
You’ll need to change the Barbicide solution in the jar at least 24 hours later.
2. Spraying your barber tools and equipment
Some tools can’t be immersed in liquid, so this is where a barber disinfectant spray comes handy. Spraying Barbicide or any other approved barber disinfectant is a great way to sterilize and disinfect barber tools. Spray your items and leave it on for 10 minutes before wiping it off.
For a fast clipper blades disinfection, in between customers, your best option is a disinfectant spray such as Andis Cool Care Plus, Clippercide, or Oster clipper spray.
You’ll still have to deep clean your clipper blades at the end of each day, by either dipping the clipper in Andis Blade Care or by taking them apart and immersing them in Barbicide.
While some barbers spray right before they use an item, the disinfectant is effective only if it’s sprayed on and left on for 10 minutes. Give your disinfectant time to do its job.
Check out the video below to see how barbers use Andis Cool Care clipper spray.
3. Dipping your clippers in Andis Blade Care
Dipping your blades in Andis Blade Care solution while they are still running is a great way of deep cleaning and disinfecting your clipper tools without taking them apart.
The Andis Blade Care Plus is similar to Andis Cool Care Spray, but it’s an oil-based dipping solution. The Blade Care has an added decontaminant and vitamin E. that helps keep blades sharper for a longer time and maximizes clipper performance.
It comes in a jar where you could dip your clipper blades, but I highly recommend not doing that. Instead, pour some of the Blade Care in a cup to avoid contaminating the whole jar with leftover hair and debris. Be careful not to submerge any electrical components of your clippers!
4. Using wipes to disinfect tools and surfaces in your barbershop
Barbicide Wipes are perfect for sanitizing and disinfecting your barber shop surfaces, such as your chair and furniture, but they are also safe for metals and plastics such as combs, shears, and clippers.
The great thing about them is that the contact time is reduced to 2 minutes instead of 10!
When using Barbicide wipes, it’s important to understand how the disinfection process works. The first wipe acts as a barber sanitizer, and the second wipe acts as a barber disinfectant.
Don’t forget that each country or state has specific regulations for barbers and barbershops. As an example, you can see here the California Code of Regulations for barbering. Check out yours and learn it by heart.
Now that you know everything about how to disinfect your barber tools, don’t forget that there are other items essential to good barbershop sanitation, such as neck strips and one-time-use razor blades. I’ve put together a whole list of essential barber tools, so check it out to make sure you’re not missing out on any essential items in your barbershop.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to keeping your barbershop disinfected. Keep yourself, your clients, and your reputation safe by following strict disinfection procedures in your barbershop.