Whether you’ve already reopened your doors, or you’re still working your way through our Salon, Spa, or Wellness Business Reboot Kit, you’ve probably thought a lot about hygiene and cleaning for your business post COVID-19 and into the new normal. It’s important for your spa, salon, or wellness business to welcome clients into a clean, safe space.
Now’s the time to strategize how to keep your clients feeling safe, comfortable, and informed about what you’re doing to increase sanitization and hygiene efforts. Lucky for us, there are several organizations that can help. Here are some steps to take and resources to use for creating a sanitization and cleaning plan for your salon, spa, or wellness business.
1. Do your research
While navigating procedures during COVID-19, it’s best to look to the experts. The CDC’s Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting provides guidance for cleaning and disinfecting businesses. Plus, the CDC offers an easy-to-follow Cleaning & Disinfecting Decision Tool to help you understand which areas and surfaces need to be cleaned before you open your doors with confidence.
Your first step is to research and understand the government jurisdiction guidelines and resources available for facilities like yours. For example, the Georgia State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers released safety guidelines with specific cleaning requirements for businesses reopening after stay-at-home orders. Oklahoma offered these guidelines for personal care businesses like hair and nail salons and barbershops, and Texas offered this checklist to get cosmetology salon, employees, and contractors ready to open.
Be sure that you (and your team) have a good understanding of which disinfectant products meet the EPA criteria and can be used against COVID-19, and learn about the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing:
- Cleaning (with soap and water) can remove impurities, germs and dirt. The CDC recommends cleaning surfaces before disinfecting.
- Sanitization (with appropriate products) reduces bacteria that is specifically identified on product packaging.
- Disinfecting (with appropriate products) is the process of destroying pathogenic microorganisms and removes most organisms present on a surface.
- Sterilization is the process that eliminates all forms of life (such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi).
Also, research and consider how to clean the various surfaces within your business. For hard and non-porous materials like glass, metal, or plastic, you can clean the surfaces prior to disinfecting. Any materials that are soft or porous that cannot be disinfected must only be used once and subsequently discarded (for example, cardboard files, buffers, etc.). Also consider soft/porous materials in your business such as carpeting, rugs, upholstered chairs, etc. You may want to consider removing them entirely from your business.
Government agencies may also prohibit certain types of activities or offerings–do your research to determine if this impacts any areas of your facility or services. For example, you may choose, or may be required to close reception areas, dining/food areas, saunas, etc. Specific services, such as blow drying or services that require high touch/close contact may be prohibited as well).
When conducting research, also consider your ventilation systems. This document from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers provides more technical information for your heating and cooling systems.
The International SPA Association has created several great resources to help during this time—including a Spa Sanitization & Hygiene Standards guide, a Spa Sanitization & Hygiene Commitment to display at your business, and downloadable, customizable templates to use as signage to reassure clients that the areas are regularly disinfected.
There are also certification courses offered:
- BARBICIDE® is offering a free COVID-19 certification to train you on the proper measures for sanitization and disinfection according to the highest current industry standards. They also offer the Back to Work Plan with helpful information about disinfectants, pre-open cleaning, and ongoing safety when it comes to sanitization.
- Milady Training is also offering a free two-hour infection control course and certification for salon, spa, and barbershop professionals until June 30.
2. Create your cleaning plan
Cleaning and disinfecting has always been important for your business, but it will be an even important part of your reopening plan and your operational approach moving forward. As you create your plan, keep in mind that these will likely be your new cleaning protocols going forward into our “new normal,” not just a short-term solution for reopening.
Some elements of your plan may include:
- Itemize all areas, surfaces, and equipment that you need to clean in your facility. Note what’s frequently touched so you can determine how often you will need to clean them. Don’t forget about office areas, shared workstations/computers, etc.
- Include all items at your stations and/or treatment rooms:
- Styling/treatment tools
- Storage areas
- Prioritize disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathroom facilities, etc.).
- If you use equipment, you will need to clean and or sterilize all equipment after each use, so your plan must include time to clean the equipment and the supplies necessary to accomplish those cleanings after each service.
- Create a cleaning schedule for your business, and make sure your employees follow the cleaning schedule. Then, document cleanings on that schedule.
- When possible, consider removing items or changing processes that are unnecessary (for example, remove rugs, eliminate waiting rooms, eliminate physical front desk check-in, etc.).
Part of your plan may also be to ask your staff and clients to formally agree to follow your cleaning/disinfecting protocols (e.g., you may want them to sign a form agreeing to washing hands before any services, etc.).
3. Stock up on the supplies you need to keep your business clean
Make sure you have an adequate supply of cleaning products on hand before you open. The EPA has a list of EPA approved disinfectants against COVID-19.
Knowing that it may be difficult to find cleaning products, you can also use alternative disinfectants such as (1/3 cup bleach added to 1 gallon water) until you can get an adequate supply. Salon 124 Group has been doing this.
You will also want to consider the supplies your clients may need. For example, if you require clients to wash their hands before each service begins, make sure you have adequate hand soap in your bathrooms, and hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) throughout your business, in addition to sanitizing wipes if clients choose to use them.
Stock up on gloves for you and your staff to use while cleaning and disinfecting as well as personal protective equipment for cleaning.
You may also want to invest in non-touch garbage cans, etc.
4. Train your staff
You, your staff, and/or your custodial staff will need to be trained on your new cleaning protocols. It is extremely important that your staff realize the importance of following these procedures, and what the consequences will be if they do not follow the cleaning protocols. (it is a good idea to update your employee handbook with this information as well).
Before opening, walk your staff through all the cleaning protocols, and make sure you are also considering their safety as well (e.g., by providing adequate personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, etc.).
Do a dry run for your cleaning procedures to determine the time you will need for cleaning between services, so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.
5. Communicate procedures to your clients
Before opening, make sure you communicate your new cleaning protocols with your clients. Some will be understandably nervous about returning to even their favorite businesses. You should outline the steps you are taking to clean and disinfect your facility. Consider:
- Video chats prior to opening
- Signage in your facility
- Social media
In the new normal, we’ll see spas, salons, and wellness businesses market their cleaning efforts to consumers. Make sure your business is a standout, welcoming clients—new and old—into a sparkling space that keeps them as safe as possible. It might not be good, clean fun—but it will be worth it.
- Professional Beauty Association (PBA), COVID-19 Information and Resources and Estheticians Guide-COVID-19
- Salon Today, Tips for Strengthening Your Sanitation Practices During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- DaySpa Magazine, Coronavirus Safety Tips for Salons and Spas
- Modern Salon, 28 Safety Guidelines for Reopening Salons and Barbershops
- CDC, General information and best practices about ongoing sanitization in your day-to-day life