This is the complete destruction or removal of living organisms on an object.  Micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) may be destroyed by heat, chemical disinfectants, and ultraviolet radiation. All tools must, however, be cleaned to remove grease before disinfection is to take place.


This is similar to a pressure cooker, with the water contained inside it is reaching sterilisation of tools within the salon. Not all objects can safely be placed in an autoclave; check your tools can withstand the heating process.  To avoid damage to the autoclave, distilled water must be used.  Metal tools placed in the autoclave must be of a good quality to avoid rusting.  Take care when removing tools from the autoclave –as they will be extremely hot.

Glass bead steriliser: 

Small glass beads are retained in a beaker and heated to a temperature of 190C.  Tools are placed in these beads for 10 minutes.  A disadvantage of glass bead sterilizer is that it cannot hold large items.

UV Steriliser:

UV light will only be effective on surfaces that are exposed to the UV light.  Tools will therefore need turning during the process to ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly sterilised.  UV sterilisation is not suitable for brushes.


This is the destruction of micro-organisms, but not usually bacterial spores, reducing the number of microorganisms to a level, which will not be harmful to health. (Inhibits the growth of micro-organisms)

In most salons, ‘Barbicide’ is a recognised name as a germicide and disinfectant liquid in which tools can be stored.

Surgical spirit can also be used.


Is a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria but not kill the bacteria.

Bacteria: A single cell organism without a nucleus, which produces a compound called a toxin.


This is a low form of vegetable life, which includes mushrooms and moulds.  Some varieties cause disease, such as ringworm.  A fungi stat will inhibit growth of any fungus while a fungicide will kill fungus outright.


A small part of a group of infectious agents.  They have the ability to copy themselves outside of a living host cell.  Viruses can be classed as pathogenic – causing disease as opposed to non-pathogenic (not causing disease)

Infestations: this is the presence of animal parasites, e.g. Mites, ticks or worms, either in the body, clothing or house.