Dry heat sterilizers and autoclaves
Per the BPHC Nail Salon Regulation, nail salons in Boston must use either an autoclave or a dry heat sterilizer to sterilize multi-use tools before they can use them again on another client. Salons may not use or possess UV light boxes, also called UV sterilizers.
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Single-use vs. Multi-use tools
The purpose of a dry heat sterilizer is to sterilize multi-use tools.
Single-use tools can only be used on a single customer before being thrown away. These are tools like buffers, toe separators, and nail files.
Multi-use tools can be used on multiple customers but must be sterilized between uses in a dry heat sterilizer or autoclave. They include tools such as cuticle pushers and nail clippers.
Autoclaves and Dry Heat Sterilizers
Autoclaves use high heat and pressure to kill all microbial life including bacteria, viruses, and spores. These typically run for 30 minutes at 270 degrees fahrenheit.
Dry Heat Sterilizers use high heat to kill all microbial life including bacteria, viruses, and spores. These run for one hour at 340 degrees fahrenheit. The increased time and temperature make this unsuitable for use with tools that have plastic parts.
Salons are required to document that they are using their dry heat sterilizer or autoclave, and that it is working properly. This information must be available in the salon, as inspectors will look for these documents.
- A log book that documents when dry heat sterilizer of autoclave is used
- Document if sterilization of tools is being done properly by taping indicator strips to the logs
- Dry heat indicator strips can only be used in FDA-registered dry heat sterilizers
- Autoclave tape can only be used in autoclaves
- Indicator strips change colors when exposed to certain temperatures and pressure for a specified time
- Indicator strips should be used at least once daily
- Date and time tools were sterilized with indicator tape
- Type of sterilization method
- Model and serial number of the device used
- Brand and product name for the indicator tape
- Printed name and signature of person operating the equipment
- The actual indicator strip taped to the daily log
- Salons may use their own logbook, or download a template here
- Log book documentation must be kept for a full year
Salons are required to document that they are using their dry heat sterilizer or autoclave, and that it is working properly. This information must be available in the salon, as inspectors will look for these documents.Independent lab testing
- Salons may choose to have an independent lab perform monthly spore testing on equipment
- If the equipment fails independent testing, the lab must notify BPHC immediately
To learn more about the other regulatory requirements that Boston nail salons must follow, click here or call 617-534-5965.