Does sterilising your hairbrushes and combs take too much time?

Are you looking for a remedy to sterilise hairdressing equipment between customers?

Are you looking for an eco-friendly, safe product?

Andrea is a self-employed hairdresser at a local salon.  She was looking for an eco-friendly spray that allowed her to sterilise her brushes, combs, and scissors without having to wait for long periods of time between customers.  Having a minimal impact on the environment is important to Andrea and because she rents her chair in the salon the ideal product needs to be within her budget.

When Andrea contacted us to find out more about our ESOL™ for hygiene spray, we knew that it would be the perfect fit; ESOL™ is a hugely versatile product,  it is safe, eco-friendly, fast-acting and does not cost the earth.  Not only can it be used to sterilise hairbrushes and combs it can be used to sterilise many different things including surfaces and hands.

The thing is, we are an inquisitive bunch, so we wanted to find out what other methods were used to clean and sanitise the different equipment used in a hairdressers or barbers and compare these to ESOL™.

First off, we are going to look at safe methods of cleaning such as autoclaves and home remedies.  Secondly, we will look at products on the market that are similar to ESOL™ for Hygiene spray. 

For each of these products we will show:

  • Price
  • Time involved
  • Impact on the environment


Before using any cleanser, equipment or sanitiser on a brush or comb it is important that any shed hair that is tangled in the brush is removed.  Hair can harbour bacteria, germs, and dust, so when left to accumulate on a hairbrush, it can lead to bacteria transfer, dandruff and even scalp infections.

So, before you do anything, de-fuzz your brush…

Let’s get stuck in!

Below are some effective and safe methods for sanitising your hair dressing utensils.

Moist heat sterilisation – what is a salon autoclave?

  • Price: £185 upwards
  • Time involved: 20-30 mins
  • Impact on the environment: Very low

An autoclave is essentially like a pressure cooker for your hairbrushes.  Brushes and combs are put inside the autoclave which, once switched on, creates a very high-pressure saturated steam at 121 °C (249 °F).  Brushes and combs are required to stay in the autoclave for around 15–20 minutes to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

There are lots (and lots) of different makes and models of autoclave on the market so much so, it could become a bit overwhelming to know which one would be the right fit for you.  We came across this handy article that helps you understand what equipment is available on the market, how to choose the right bit of kit and what to look out for:

Autoclave – how to choose what is right for you

What is the best home solution for cleaning hairbrushes?

  • Price: £1 – £5
  • Time involved: 30-60 mins
  • Impact on the environment: low – medium

Hairbrushes come in all shapes, sizes, and materials; the material your brush and it bristles are made of depicts what you can use from your cupboards to clean them.

Essentially, if you have these 3 ingredients in your home or salon, you can clean any brush relatively cheaply.

  • Shampoo
  • Baking soda
  • Tea tree oil

We came across this great article from one good thing by Jiillee that details 3 great solutions for cleaning all types of brushes 

3 methods to clean your hairbrush

Can you clean hairbrushes with vinegar?

  • Price: £1
  • Time involved: 10 mins
  • Impact on the environment: Very low

Vinegar is a great condiment to have in your cupboard, not only is it really tasty on chips it comes in handy for lots of household cleaning tasks, including cleaning hairbrushes.

Vinegar is antimicrobial which means that it kills bacteria and pathogens.  Used at a ratio of 1:1 (water and vinegar) it can used all around the house and office to kill bacteria.

When it comes to cleaning hairbrushes, vinegar should be added to a bowl of hot water (no less than 130°F / 60°C).  After you have ‘de-fuzzed’ your hairbrush, pop the brush or comb in the water and vinegar solution for around 10 mins, rinse with shampoo (to remove any vinegar smells) and leave to dry.

We found this handy step by step guide to cleaning your hairbrushes with vinegar

How to clean hairbrushes in vinegar

Disinfecting brushes in between clients – eco-friendly disinfectant sprays for hairdressers

The sterilising methods that we have covered so far, can take from anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour to complete.  This is ideal if you have time at the end of the day to clean all your brushes and combs but what about cleaning your utensils between clients?

The three methods we have already described for cleaning and sanitising your brushes and combs were not ‘comparable’ to ESOL™ in the sense that they were not a ‘spray and go’ solution.

We delved a little deeper into the world of hair a beauty to see if there was a safe, eco-friendly ‘spray and go’ solutions on the market.

Here is what we found:

ESOL for Hygiene – anti-microbial spray

  • Price: £12 (2 x 500ml)
  • Time involved: 10 seconds
  • Impact on the environment: Very Low

ESOL™ for Hygiene is an environmentally friendly, safe and fast acting antibacterial spray suitable for homes, businesses and the catering industry.

It replaces traditional disinfectants and eliminates any concerns you may have surrounding the health and environmental effects of chlorine based products.

This sanitiser is electrolysed water made with only salt, water and electricity so it is not harmful to you or the environment.

With the ‘killing power’ of bleach, ESOL™ is capable of eradicating bacteria and viruses in under 10 seconds after contact.

What bacteria can ESOL™ kill?

ESOL™ is capable at killing all manner of bacteria and viruses including:

  • MRSA
  • E-coli
  • Salmonella
  • Coronavirus
  • Norovirus
  • HIV
  • Legionella
  • Listeria
  • Clostridium difficil

You can download the Safety Data Sheet here

You can buy ESOL™ here

Saloncide Barber’s Anti-Microbial Disinfectant Sanitiser Spray

  • Price: £6.50 (250ml)
  • Time Involved: 2 minutes
  • Environmental impact: Low

This product state that is can eradicate up to 99.99% germ kill rate within 60 seconds on Bacteria (2 mins on viruses).  It is alcohol, solvent, bleach, paraben, and acid free. 

Soloncide can be uses on all surfaces porous and non porous, tools & equipment.  This anti-microbial spray is nontoxic, non-flammable and does not cause irritation.

The active ingredient in this product is quaternary ammonium compounds. No single active ingredient is present at a concentration in excess of 0.092%.

You can see the safety data sheet here

Saloncide anti-microbial spray is available to buy here

That is where our search ended abruptly; in all honesty, we are disappointed

With over 43,000 hair a beauty companies in the UK alone, why are there not more safe, eco-friendly products on the market?

There are several other disinfecting / sanitising sprays on the market, specifically for barbers and hair stylists however none of the products we have come across are environmentally friendly.

Some of the more popular brands we found were:

Watch out for greenwashing…

Greenwashing is a term used for when a company make environmental claims surrounding their product or services, but the claims are misleading or false.

The term greenwashing is very similar to the word ‘whitewashing’ but used in the context of the environment.

Related content: How can I tell if a product is environmentally friendly?

Why are we telling you this?

During our delving, we came across Disicide Spray.

Natural and Safe are big selling points of Disicide; it stats that it is 

environmentally friendly and not harmful to the user…”

Disicide spray – ready to use disinfectant

  • Price: £6.25 (1 litre)
  • Time involved: 15 mins
  • Impact on the environment:  Very high

Disicide Spray is a hospital grade, ready-to-use disinfectant with a trigger head that has been developed to service the needs of barbers, SPA’s and hair and beauty salons.

It is a water-based product that is effective against bacteria and virus.

It is a fast-working, with a mild odour. It evaporates without leaving traces behind on the treated surface.

With everything we look at, we always check the product Safety Data Sheet (SDS/COSHH) so we checked out the Safety Data Sheet for Disicide and it threw up quite a few red flags:

  • Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • Strong heating may produce combustible vapours which can form explosive mixture with air.
  • To be stored as flammable liquid.
  • Chronic exposure damages the brain and the central nervous system.
  • Inhalation may cause the following effects: May cause respiratory irritation.
  • Skin contact may cause the following effects: Burns with pain, redness and wounds.
  • Eye contact may cause the following effects: Splashes in the eyes may cause painful burns,
  • which may result in permanent damage to the eyes.

You can download the SDS sheet here 

If all that doesn’t put you off, you can buy Disicide here


It really did surprise us that there is not an abundance of eco-friendly, safe products on the market.

Have we missed something? 

Are there other products being used by barbers and salons that we have not come across?

Everyday barbers and hairdressers have their hand in and out of water, using chemical-based dyes and solutions.  When it comes to cleaning salons and utensils, it is easy to see why people are reaching for the strongest and deadliest cleaners on the shelves such as bleach, white spirit, and alcohol.  During this pandemic (and beyond) fear has (and will have) a massive part to play in human behaviours, people want to be sure that they are doing everything they can to keep bacteria and viruses at bay and sacrificing the environment (if not just for a short time) seems acceptable; but is it?

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