How to Properly Sanitize your Cosmetology Tools in 12 Steps

makeup artist during appointment

Sanitizing beauty salon tools is the most important step for any esthetician. If you want to make sure that your customers are receiving the best services possible and their health is safe, then it’s important that you take the time to properly sanitize all your cosmetic equipment. 

In this blog post, I’m going to describe the 12 steps you need to follow to clean, disinfect and sterilize your cosmetology tools. 

Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing

First of all, let’s talk about the differences between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

Cleaning involves removing dirt, debris, and other substances from your tools. You should clean all of the surfaces with a sponge, detergents, and warm water before you disinfect or sanitize them.

Disinfecting is the process of killing most types of bacteria and other microbes from your esthetician tools. You should disinfect all surfaces with a chemical solution before sanitizing them.

Sanitizing means eliminating 99% or more of germs, viruses, and bacteria from your products to prevent cross-contamination between clients.

There is a variety of sanitizers to choose from, depending on the type of surface you want to disinfect and what is safe for your equipment maintenance needs. You can go for alcohols (isopropyl), hydrogen peroxide, ozone gas treatments, steam treatment with UV light exposure, or a high-temperature sterilizer. 

When you’re starting the process of disinfecting and sterilizing your cosmetic tools, it’s a good idea to wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself from caustic substances. 

How often should you sanitize your cosmetic tools?

Having a clean salon and working with sterilized cosmetic tools is one of the best ways to market your beauty salon. People will always feel safe and appreciated when you use sterilized and packaged tools on them and will be most likely to recommend you to others.

Generally, it is recommended to clean your tools every time you use them, in between every customer. Luckily, for cosmetologists, it can be even easier than for other beauty professionals. 

For example, you can stock more tweezers, scissors, or henna spatulas, so you will be able to sterilize them more seldom. 

A regular esthetician should sterilize her cosmetic tools every 7-10 days, in order to protect the client’s skin. If you don’t have enough equipment in your salon, you can do it more often, or you can immerse them for 10 minutes in Barbicide after every use.

What to use to disinfect and sanitize your cosmetic tools


Barbicide jars

Barbicide, an EPA registered product, is the most commonly used beauty salon disinfectant that kills germs and fungi. While regular alcohol can only kill certain germs, Barbicide is a higher grade disinfectant and kills viruses too. 

Barbicide comes as a concentrate solution that has to be mixed with water. Be careful and follow the instructions before using it, as you risk damaging your tools if you put too much Barbicide, or not disinfecting them if you don’t use enough solution.

Specialists usually recommend mixing 60 ml. of Barbicide with 1 liter of water. To disinfect your cosmetic tools with Barbicide, besides the solution, you will also need a special Barbicide jar that will help you easily remove your tools from the solution after 10 minutes. 

Soluble chemical powder


As an alternative to Barbicide, you can use disinfectant powders like Peroxill. This kind of disinfectant is commonly used for medical devices, but it works perfectly for disinfecting your cosmetic tools too. 

Peracetic acid, the active agent of Peroxill powder, acts on the membranes, DNA, and other human components. The product is specifically created for the quick decontamination and disinfection of all the tools used in the public field, such as hospitals, salons, etc.

To prepare the chemical powder,  pour 35 ° C tap water into a tray (add 10 or 20 g of powder per liter of water using the measuring cup), mix the liquid regularly until a clear solution is obtained, and you can immerse your cosmetic tools in the disinfecting solution for 10 minutes. 

Steps to sanitize your cosmetology tools

1. Wash your cosmetic tools


When you start to sanitize your cosmetology tools, the first step is to clean them. Soak a sponge in soap and wash your cosmetic tools, one by one, with warm tap water. 

2. Prepare the disinfecting solution


As I already mentioned above, the next step is to disinfect your tools with a disinfectant, be it Barbicide or a soluble chemical powder. Dilute the solution as mentioned on the product’s label. 

3. Put all your cosmetic tools in the disinfecting container


After the disinfecting solution is ready, put your tweezers and scissors in the disinfectant. If they don’t fit all at once, put them one by one. 

4. Immerse your cosmetic tools in disinfectant for 15 minutes


Now, your cosmetic tools can stay in the disinfectant between 10-15 minutes, depending on the solution you’re using, but not more than that! Either way, you risk damaging them at all. The best solution to make sure that you respect the timing is to set an alarm when you immerse them. 

5. Wash with clean water all your cosmetic tools


Your tools are now disinfected, so it’s time to rinse them with tap water to remove the disinfecting solution from them. 

6. Dry your tools on a paper towel


After your tools are rinsed, put them on a paper towel and let them dry completely. Before sterilizing your cosmetic tools, they have to be 100% dry, that’s why some cosmetologists recommend letting your tools dry for a few hours, or even overnight.

7. Write the sterilization date on each sterile bag


To get to the last step, you need some sterile bags for your tools. Generally, they are paper bags with adhesive tape or zip that allow you to completely seal them. Write the date and time of the sterilization process and the object that’s inside the bag.

In order to keep track of your sterilization process, you can write it down in your esthetician scheduling app every time you sterilize your cosmetic tools. How to do it?

For example, in Goldie, you can create a personal event, name it “sanitizing cosmetic tools”, and make it a recurring event. You can set it to repeat every day at the same time, every week, month, or year. This way, you will never forget when you sanitized them the last time or when you have to do it again.


If you haven’t tried the app yet, you can download it for free from the App Store or Google Play and use it to set personal events, schedule appointments in your salon, and even generate your personal online booking link where clients can book themselves. 

8. Pack your tools in sterile bags individually


Take your tools one by one and pack them in sterile bags.

9. Seal the sterile bags


Seal each sterile bag, and your esthetician tools are now ready for the sterilization process.

10. Put your cosmetic tools in the high-temperature sanitizer


The sterile bags that we used in this process have a grey spot that turns brown when the sterilization process is completed. Place your cosmetic tools in a high-temperature sanitizer. Find out here how much your tools should stay in the sterilizer, depending on the temperature you set.

11. Remove your tools from the high-temperature sanitizer


Now that your cosmetic tools are clean, disinfected, and sanitized, you can finally remove them from the sanitizer.

12. Your cosmetic tools are ready to use


There you are, with your tools just ready to use on your stunning clients once again safely. Keep in mind to store your sterile cosmetic tools in a drawer away from light, humidity, or other substances that may affect your tool’s hygiene.

Open the sterile bags just after your client has arrived at the salon so that he/she can be sure that the products and the tools you’re using are safe and clean. They will appreciate you even more and they will see you like a real professional. 

Don’t forget about general salon hygiene


Besides the importance of having perfectly sanitized cosmetic tools, you should also consider your general salon hygiene. Keeping your whole salon permanently clean will not only make your clients feel better, but you will also work in a better environment and you will find easier the tools and products you need. If you want to reorganize your salon, here are 10 salon organization and storage ideas that might help you. 

Now, I’m going to list a few products that you need in your salon in order to maintain a clean and welcoming space:

  • disinfecting wipes for surfaces;
  • large couch rolls for your cosmetic bed;
  • anti-bacterial hand gel;
  • disposable gloves;
  • disinfectants;
  • multi-surface cleaning sprays;
  • one-time-use cosmetic tools (eyebrow brush, wooden waxing spatulas, etc.).

Here’s a short video with all the steps you need to follow to disinfect and sterilize your cosmetic tools:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments