Sanitise, Disinfect & Sterilize

Sanitise, Disinfect and Sterilize 

These are the key terms of proper infection control. It is important to understand these terms and the difference between them.

This is the first step in infection control. It is essentially cleaning and is a necessity. We sanitise in order to make a surface clean and safe for use. It is the removal of visible or surface debris from an object or surface. Pathogens (germs) are not destroyed, instead they are removed.

An example of sanitising would be washing your tools in soapy water.


To disinfect something is to render it free from pathogenic organisms or to kill the germs and bacteria making them harmless. To keep you and your client safe, any item that touches a customer MUST be disinfected before it can be used on any other customer. Disinfection is for non-porous items only, porous or single use items must be discarded after use.


To disinfect, the item or surface MUST be cleaned first, you then need to use products such as barbicide, saloncide or navy hygiene disinfection wipes. To properly disinfect you need to follow manufacturers instructions, mix the solutions with the right concentration correctly, make sure the disinfectant has had enough contact time on the tool or surface. If using a product like barbicide, you need to be changing the solution as per instructions.


Sterilization is rarely required in the beauty industry. This method is the complete destruction of all microbial life and is most frequently done with an autoclave that uses heat and pressure to destroy microbes. 

This process is normally used in the medical and dental field. You should always sterilize areas that come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.