If you own your own nail salon, you already know how important a clean business is for attracting customers. However, unless you’re a professional cleaner, you may not actually know the different ways to clean items. If you want to do your best to keep customers happy and healthy, check out the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and sterilizing.


Cleaning is the first step in caring for your nail salon tools and equipment. The process gets rid of the bigger debris that you can actually see. This will also do the most to make your salon look clean and well-maintained, so customers are more inclined to book appointments and become repeat customers.

The downside is that cleaning alone isn’t enough to really keep your customers safe because it won’t remove bacteria, viruses and other potentially harmful pathogens.


Sanitizing is the step above cleaning, and it is used to get rid of the rest of the dirt and grime left behind after cleaning. This may involve scrubbing the bottom of your footbaths or the floor to remove stubborn grime. Like cleaning, sanitizing alone will not kill dangerous pathogens, but it will help to reduce the number of pathogens that build up on surfaces.

For example, if you have a footbath with lots of dirt and grime stuck to the bottom, not only does it look less appealing for customers, but it also becomes the perfect home for pathogens, which can grab onto the dirt, leading to the spread of infections. Common infections from dirty nail salons include Hepatitis B and MRSA.


Finally, disinfecting is where you start to actually kill dangerous pathogens, except bacterial spoors. This is also the minimum requirement in most states for nail salons. There are many products, including liquids, cloths, etc., that can disinfect, but the most important part is to take your time.

Wiping down everything may seem like a good idea to get it done fast, but going too fast doesn’t give the disinfectant time to kill the pathogens.

In fact, you should leave surfaces wet with disinfectant cleaner for about four minutes before you allow it to dry. This gives the solution plenty of time to kill the pathogens. Some nail salons use a liquid disinfectant in a jar. However, for this to work, the items need to be left in the solution for at least 20 minutes. As long as you take your time, disinfecting should keep your nail salon healthy.


If you want to take it to the next step, consider sterilization. Sterilizing fully removes any pathogens (including bacteria) from solid materials and liquids. Many tools can actually be sterilized by boiling them. Nail clippers, for example, are made from metal, so boiling water easily kills all pathogens without damaging the clippers.

Of course, this process doesn’t work on everything, and it may not be a feasible option for your salon. Instead, an autoclave can be used to provide hot steam that kills pathogens. You simply stick the items inside and the autoclave does all the work to heat and then cool the tools, so they can be used again and again without any risk of spreading infections.

Disinfecting your salon tools and equipment may be enough for the law, but you also need to make sure your customers are happy and healthy. By using an autoclave, you keep infection and disease out of your salon, which will make customers want to keep coming back. If you would like to know more about autoclaves, or if you need a quote on one, contact us at Revolutionary Science today.