Methods of Sanitation in Cosmetology


Cosmetologists provide hair care services such as haircuts, shampoos, color, permanents and other hair treatments. They may also perform other services such as manicures and pedicures, facial treatments and waxing. The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that all states require cosmetologists to be licensed. Preparatory education for licensing of cosmetologists includes extensive training in sanitation methods.

Chlorine Bleach

  • Cosmetologists use chlorine bleach to disinfect surfaces and implements. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), chlorine bleach solutions fall into one of three classifications: low-level disinfection, high-level disinfection and blood and bodily fluid cleanup and disinfection. Cosmetologists must mix solutions fresh daily and discard them at the end of the day. Cosmetologists must wash towels in hot water and chlorine bleach.


  • According to TDLR, cosmetologists may use isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing. Isopropyl alcohol must be at 70 percent concentration and ethyl alcohol at 90 percent concentration. Both are considered low-level disinfectants, so cosmetologists cannot use them for cleaning blood or bodily fluids. Alcohol is primarily for disinfecting implements, such as scissors, clippers and nail-related tools and equipment.


  • Cosmetologists must sterilize metal nail implements before using them. Such implements include tweezers, nippers, pushers and electric drill bits. Cosmetologists sterilize Implements using a steam autoclave. TDLR indicates that cosmetologists may use an ultraviolet light sterilizer, provided the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves it. The state of Delaware allows cosmetologists to use a dry heat sterilizer.

EPA Disinfecting Standards

  • Cosmetologists may use disinfection solutions that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency to sanitize nonporous instruments and equipment. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (MDLLR) notes that such solutions, which are bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal, are effective in destroying HIV and hepatitis viruses. TDLR considers these to be low-level disinfectants. MDLLR permits the use of hospital-grade tuberculocidal disinfectant as well.

State Regulated

  • Each state has its own specific regulations regarding sanitation training for licensing and renewal. For example, TDLR stipulates that for license renewals, a minimum of two of the required continuing education hours must be in the area of sanitation.

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