S&S Class



Disinfectants are chemical agents that destroy all bacteria, fungi, and viruses, but not spores, on surfaces.  They are not for use on human

 hair, skin, or nails.  Types of disinfectants include quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) , phenolics, alcohol, and bleach.  Disinfectants must have efficacy claims on the label. This is a list of the specific germs the product is proven to kill when used according to label instructions.


Quaternary ammonium compounds or "quats"  are very safe and useful disinfectants. Quat solutions disinfect implements usually in 10 minutes. The items being disinfected must be completely immersed. This means there must be enough liquid to cover the surfaces of the item being disinfected. Quat solutions contain anti-rust ingredients, but leaving them in the solution too long can cause damage. 


Phenolics are powerful tuberculocidal disinfectants. They have a very high pH and can cause damage to the skin and eyes.  Phenolics have been used reliably over the years to disinfect salons tools.  The possible drawbacks are that they may damage plastic or rubber and they can cause certain metals to rust. Phenolics should never be used to disinfect pedicure equipment. 


Two types of alcohol are used as disinfectants in the salon.  They are ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.  To be effective, the concentration of ethyl and isopropyl alcohol must be 70 percent or higher.  Alcohol can be used to disinfect some items used in the salon, especially porous and absorbent items. Since alcohol was used as disinfectant long before there was an EPA, it does not need an EPA registration number. 


Sodium hypochlorite (household bleach), is an effective disinfectant for all uses in the salon.  Using too much bleach can cause damage to some metals and plastics.  It can also cause skin irritation.  Bleach can be corrosive to metals and plastics. Bleach should always be stored away from heat and light.  Bleach has been used as a disinfectant long before the EPA existed.  An EPA registration number is not required.