Sponsored by Rejuvenate Salon and Spa Disinfectants.

Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing infections in massage practices. While COVID-19 has gotten all the attention lately, it’s far from the only pathogen that can cause disease: an invisible army of viruses, bacteria, and fungi may be waiting for the opportunity to attack. Disinfecting surfaces throughout your practice is your first line of defense against these pathogens, but a handful of common mistakes can prevent you from killing them properly. By arming yourself with a bit of knowledge, you can ensure that your disinfection protocols provide you and your clients with the protection you both deserve.

Mistake #1 – Confusing the Terms “Cleaning”, “Sanitizing” and “Disinfecting”

We have all heard terms like “cleaning”, “sanitizing” and “disinfecting”, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while they are often used interchangeably, they all mean something entirely different:

  • Cleaning is the process of removing dirt and debris from a surface. While this might remove pathogens by lifting them off the surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are being killed.
  • Sanitizing reduces the amount of bacteria on a surface to a safe level but doesn’t necessarily kill other pathogens like viruses or fungi.
  • Disinfecting kills harmful viruses, bacteria, and fungi on a surface – routinely disinfecting critical surfaces is required in professional massage practices to prevent the spread of infection.

For a deeper dive into infection prevention for massage practices, get certified through our three-part Rejuvenate™ sanitation program!

Mistake #2 – Failing to Read Disinfectant Labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people were cleaning and disinfecting than ever before. But, unfortunately, we also saw a 20% increase in calls to poison control centers about exposure to products used for cleaning and disinfection. So, while your disinfectant should be tough on pathogens, this should never come at the expense of safety to you or your clients.

Disinfecting your surfaces shouldn’t be dangerous, but a few basic precautions often get overlooked. In particular, it can be easy to underestimate the value of carefully reading disinfectant labels and SDS to ensure that you’re selecting the safest product possible and using it properly.

Tips for Safe Disinfection:

  • Look at your disinfectant label as well as Section 2 of the product’s SDS. Are there any hazard pictograms or hazard statements listed? Ideally, select a product that is not classified for any hazards when used as directed.
  • Is there any personal protective equipment (PPE) required when handling the product (e.g., gloves or goggles)? Always review the product label and SDS and always ensure that the required PPE is worn. Whenever possible, choose products that do not require any PPE at the in-use concentration.
  • Never mix your disinfectant with other chemicals – at best, this can lead to an ineffective solution and, at worst, potentially dangerous reactions.

Mistake #3 – Spraying a Surface and Immediately Wiping it Dry

Even the fastest disinfectants don’t work instantly – all disinfectants need to stay wet on the surface for a certain length of time to be fully effective, known as the product’s contact time. By spraying a surface and wiping it dry right away, you’re not allowing the proper contact time to be achieved. As a result, the surface will not be properly disinfected, running the risk that dangerous pathogens will be left behind. Instead, try applying your disinfectant by wiping the surface with a premoistened disinfectant wipe or a pre-saturated cloth and leaving the surface wet for the contact time specified on the label. Alternatively, spray the surface to cover it evenly and allow it to sit for the duration of the contact time.

While this may seem straightforward, many commonly-used disinfectants in massage practices have unrealistically long contact times, in many cases requiring 10 minutes to kill viruses and bacteria. Not only does this take valuable time out of your day, but it also can cost money if the product needs to be applied multiple times to keep the surface wet. On the other hand, choosing a product with a rapid contact time can help make disinfecting quick and convenient, saving time for what matters the most.

Mistake #4 – Underestimating the Power of Protocols

Choosing the right disinfectant is only half the battle in the war against pathogens. It’s just as essential to pair your disinfectant with the suitable protocols to stop the spread of infection in your facility. Infection prevention is everyone’s job, and building a solid disinfection protocol plays a critical role in keeping your clients and team safe.

Getting Started with your Disinfection Protocol:

  • Assign roles and responsibilities for disinfecting – who will be responsible for which areas throughout the practice? Is there a designated “point person” to oversee that the protocol is followed?
  • Develop a list of surfaces and tools throughout your practice that needs to be disinfected and how frequently this will occur. For example, some surfaces may need to be disinfected between each client appointment, while others may only require daily or even weekly disinfection.
  • Make disinfection materials easily accessible to your and your team, including application equipment and SDSs. Provide product-specific training to your whole team, ensuring that everyone is comfortable preparing, applying, and storing the product effectively.

Click here to build your own free customizable disinfection protocol!

Safe and effective disinfection doesn’t need to be complicated. By understanding how to avoid critical disinfection mistakes, you can feel confident that everyone who comes for a massage treatment is protected against the threat of infection.