Implement handling is an area that often has the most violations according to the state board inspector who comes in to visit us. In Washington we are required to use mostly single use items. There are a couple of files that have been approved for sanitization/disinfection, but the majority of files that the manufacturers say can be sanitized and or disinfected are not approved.
When I first started to work in this state we were allowed to put the clients’ files in ziplock bags and keep them for their appointments. Then that changed to having to have a desiccant pouch in them and they could not be completely closed to help absorb/evaporate any moisture they might have in them. I don’t recall if it was approved to send them home in Washington with the client to bring back at that time. When I worked in Oregon we could store them at first, then it changed to sending them home. Now I believe neither state approves of the use of the bags at all.
We had changed that practice at our salon after the first year. We realized that storage was an issue and that it was more of a hindrance than a help to have to dig through them to find the right client. So we switched to single-use items, though I have a few sanitizable files. We do cut some of the single-use items up to help save on costs, specifically the buffers. We cut them in half or thirds.
Washington State requires that implements be kept in a closed, clearly marked, clean container. I have several for my clean tools and implements and I have one (that is clearly marked dirty to prevent cross-contamination) that the dirty implements go into and then I sanitize and disinfect the tools at the end of the appointment. We also run our containers through the dishwasher to sanitize them regularly.
I hope to have an autoclave by the end of the year. It is not required in this state — it would just be a step up from what we are required to do. I feel that though the chemical disinfectant is a great cost-effective way to go to keep our implements clean and disinfected, autoclave sterilization would really raise the bar on our cleanliness. We have in our area — as I’m sure many of you do — a lot of less-than-clean salons that really hurt the impression of our industry to the average person. We would like to be able to show that extra level of commitment to our guests’ safety. One more way we want to stand out from the rest and become the best!