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Cleaning Vocabulary

During this pandemic it's nice to know how we are trained to clean, what we use to clean and how often we're cleaning.



Day 1 both of Massage School and Esthetician School we talk about cleaning and disinfecting. It’s a theme that is talked about throughout EVERY school program. We are trained to treat everyone as if they have an infection that we don’t want to catch and don’t want to spread. There is also a large emphasis on making sure you as a practitioner are healthy enough to work. When I was a teacher I had many conversations with students about whether they should call out or not. The number one thing I would ask them “Would you want a service from you today?” If I’m already asking that question 99% of the time the answer is no. I’ve noticed a lot of terms being used interchangeably over the last few weeks. There are a few terms out there that can be but not all of them. I would like to clear some of that up and go over the 3 most popular disinfectants.

Let’s clean up some terminology. Pun intended! The #1 thing I would like you to take away from this is please read the back of your cleaning supplies for directions! Many of you are using products wrong and not letting them stay on a surface for long enough!⁣

From the CDC:⁣

Cleaning: removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. ⁣

Disinfecting: kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. ⁣

Sanitizing: lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.⁣

Sterilization: is the killing of all microbial life and requires an autoclave and is mainly used in healthcare.⁣

Barbicide is a disinfectant and probably the most popular product used in studios (quoting my own research here). This kills germs on the surface of objects. This should be used AFTER you clean the item with soap and water. If you are submerging the object in a barbicide solution it needs to stay in for 10 minutes. If you are using barbicide wipes there needs to be 2-3 minutes of MOIST contact for the surface to properly disinfected.

Citrus II® Hospital Germicidal Deodorizing Cleaner- this is another popular product I know many studios use. This product is popular because it does not eat away at the vinyl that covers massage tables! This strong disinfectant will kill HIV, tuberculosis and more. For this to work at maximum efficacy you need to spray it on a surface and leave it for 10 minutes.

70 Proof Alcohol is a popular disinfectant in most medical professions. If you want the science why 70 proof works better than 90 or 100 proof I will gladly geek out with you someday about that. 70 proof is recommended but you also need above 50 proof for it to work as a disinfectant. 70 proof alcohol can kill bacteria in about 10 seconds but it will take up to 5 minutes to kill viruses. Again you need to clean with soap and water first then you can spray, pore or wipe something down with this! This will chew away at plastic and vinyl. 

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