An Autoclave Is the Only Safe Bet for Sterilization Many salons use Barbicide, UV light “sterilizer” boxes, or other chemical solutions to disinfect their tools, which is legal and standard, but not totally effective at killing all bacteria and infection. The only solution that works completely is an autoclave, a machine used to sterilize equipment and supplies using high pressure and steam, “which kills 100 percent of all infective organisms,” says Dr. Spalding. But currently, only three states (Texas, New York and Iowa) require autoclaves in nail salons by law, which means that “less than one percent of salons” use them regularly, he warns.
How can you find out if your salon is using an autoclave so that you’re a 100 percent protected? First, ask the salon manager how they disinfect their tools and then look for the “color change pouches that the instruments are prepared in,” says the doctor. The color changes on the bag once correct sterilization conditions have been met. This color change indicates that the object inside the package has been processed. Autoclave pouches are therefore sealed and should be opened in front of you.