Hairdressers and barbers do not carry out procedures that deliberately penetrate the skin. However, some procedures can damage the skin and knowledge about infection control and minimum hygiene standards is necessary to keep both clients and hairdressers safe from infection.​

Last updated: 18 April 2013

About this fact sheet

This fact sheet has been developed by NSW Health to assist hairdressers and barbers adopt good infection control practices.

Premises - registration, construction and materials

  • The construction of the premises should meet with local council requirements.
  • The finish on all surfaces within the premises should be made of materials that are easily cleaned.
  • The floor should be non-slip.
  • Adequate lighting and good ventilation should be provided.
  • Premises should be properly equipped with:
    • a hand wash basin that has a supply of clean, warm, potable water
    • a separate sink that has a supply of clean, warm water for cleaning equipment
    • liquid soap (or an alcohol based hand cleaner)
    • single-use towels or an automatic hand dryer
    • disposable gloves, clean linen and gowns or aprons that are appropriate for the skin procedures carried out at the premises
    • a waste disposal bin.


  • Equipment that is difficult to clean should only be used once and then thrown away (single-use only).
  • Towels or other types of linen used for covering or protection during the procedure must be clean at the start of each treatment. Linen should be washed in detergent and hot water.
  • All equipment should be cleaned between use, including combs, brushes, rollers, streaking caps, clippers and scissors and be kept in a clean and dry condition.
  • Manual clippers with non-detachable blades should not be used as they cannot be easily cleaned.
  • Detachable blades on clippers must be cleaned before being re-used.
  • Equipment should not be soaked in solutions of disinfectant unless specified by the manufacturer's instructions. Cleaning the equipment in warm water and detergent and allowing it to air dry should be sufficient.
  • Disposable razors should be used for shaving. They should be used once and then thrown away into an approved sharps container.
  • Reusable articles that penetrate the skin must be sterilised in accordance with AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities - Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment.
  • Scissors that accidentally penetrate the skin must be sterilised if they are to be reused.

Hygiene procedures

  • The premises should be kept in a clean and hygienic condition at all times.
  • Treatment areas such as benches should be cleaned between each client and/or a clean covering placed over the treatment surface.
  • To prevent cross contamination, all liquids, creams should be decanted into single use containers, and a single use applicator must be used for each person undergoing the procedure (no double dipping).

Personal hygiene for hairdressers and barbers

  • Hands should be washed
    • before and after attending a client
    • before and after a procedure
    • after exposure to a body substance
    • after touching a clients surroundings and
    • after the removal of gloves
  • See Hand Hygiene Australia for additional information on how to wash your hands.
  • Cuts or wounds should be covered with a sealed waterproof bandage

Where to go for further information

Current as at: Thursday 18 April 2013
Contact page owner: Environmental Health