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What’s the Difference between Sterilization and Disinfection?

Coronavirus, a doctor


What’s the Difference between Sterilization and Disinfection? What Is Their Sequence?

The longer you are in the lash business, the better you realize how important it is to disinfect and sterilize your tools. In this article we are going to take a moment to discuss these 2 procedures.⠀

What’s the difference between these terms?

Disinfection is a process that eliminates pathogenic microorganisms on tool surfaces. It allows getting rid of 70% of all pathogenic microorganisms.

Sterilization ensures a 100% elimination of all forms of microbial life, as well as fungi and their spores. The procedure completely protects your client against microbial infections. ⠀

As you see, sterilization and disinfection are essential and complement each other. ⠀

Common mistakes and misconceptions:

  1. You don’t need sterilization.                                                                        Lots of lash artists keep saying that sanitation of tools and their disinfection will suffice. In fact things are different — disinfection doesn’t eliminate all microorganisms, and the ones which remain are very dangerous and can cause diseases. Hence, you shouldn’t neglect either sterilization or disinfection. ⠀
  2. Disinfection equals sterilization.

The procedures are not the same. They are rather the components of a single process helping lash techs keep their tools and workplaces clean. Since lash artists usually have a few clients a day, it’s extremely important to provide the hygiene and safety of your lashing services. ⠀

Tool sterilization is often done due to a misconception that it is important mainly to prevent HIV and hepatitis C contraction.

However, these diseases are transmitted through blood and mucosal contact, however, a lash artist doesn’t make any such contacts, and these pathogenic agents aren’t stable in the environment.

We must remember about lots of other fungal and bacterial diseases existing in the environment and easily penetrating the body. You cannot fight all microorganisms, including bacterial spores, resorting to simple disinfection only.

What should tool sterilization and disinfection procedures be like?

Not only high-quality glue and materials ensure the safety of an eyelash extension procedure. We also should keep our non-disposable tools, namely tweezers, sterile. ⠀

The sterilization process implies 2 stages: ⠀

  • disinfection
  • sterilization

The first thing to do is to disinfect tweezers used for an eyelash extension procedure with specifically designed concentrated disinfectant solutions. ⠀

During a disinfection procedure, you have to completely immerse your tools in the solution for the appropriate disinfection time (each solution has its own soaking period).

Manufacturers mark the proportions of water and the concentrated agent on the packaging. You always should follow these instructions.

After the disinfection procedure, wash your tools thoroughly with the running water. ⠀


Sterilization is necessary to eliminate vegetative and spore forms of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms (it’s impossible to achieve with just disinfection).

The main sterilizing agents used for this procedure are: steam under pressure, dry heat, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and liquid chemicals.

Most often, lash techs sterilize their eyelash extension tweezers by exposing them to high temperatures.

To achieve this, you can use a dry heat sanitizing box — a device that eliminates all types of pathogens, affecting them with high temperatures.

You should place the tweezers in craft sterilization bags, labeling their contents, date, sterilization time, and the expiration time of the tools sterilized.

This process can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours.

You can sterilize eyelash extension tools in a dry heat sanitizing box if they are manufactured exclusively from high-quality Japanese steel or cobalt-based alloys. Other materials rarely can withstand high heat inside the device.

Depending on the bag sealing type, you can use the sterile tools during the periods as specified below:

3 days for a bag with staples;

20 days for a regular glued bag;

30 to 50 days for a single heat-sealed bag;

60 days for a double heat-sealed bag with each bag separately sealed.

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