Spa Hygiene: Essential Guidance for UK Businesses

Spa Hygiene: Essential Guidance for UK Businesses

Spa Hygiene: Essential Guidance for UK Businesses

Despite their reputation as places of utmost hygiene, cleanliness, and comfort, spas are a potential breeding ground for bacteria and, if not appropriately kept clean, can present a heightened risk of infection transmission.

Activities in spas like massage, facials, and other therapies that require physical touch and close contact present a risk of passing bacteria and pathogens between people. Pools, hot tubs, and saunas all need extra attention to ensure no harmful agents can be passed in water or water droplets. 

Using the right health and beauty products, equipment, and procedures is critical to keep the spa environment safe, remaining compliant with health and safety laws, and maintaining an excellent brand reputation. Read on to learn about spa hygiene standards you must meet if you operate a spa in the UK.

Stylish Spa room interior with massage table

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Understanding Spa Hygiene Regulations in the UK

Like all businesses in the UK, spas must comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This means spa owners are legally required to protect not just spa employees but customers, contractors, and other people visiting the premises.

So what do spa owners need to do to protect their staff and clientele? It all depends on the risk assessment of the business. All businesses are different, but arguably, spas present more health hazards than other environments like offices. Here are some examples of health hazards in spas.

FacilityHazard
Steam roomFailure to properly clean the room can result in bacterial or fungal infections passed through surface contact or steam.
Swimming poolFailure to properly clean and treat pool water results in the growth of bacteria leading to infection.
TreatmentsPhysical contact and close proximity result in the transmission of infection through touch or airborne droplets.
RestaurantContamination or poor preparation of food results in injury, allergic reaction, or food poisoning.

Download a risk assessment template here to help you complete a spa risk assessment.

Essential Hygiene Practices in Spas

Follow these guides for maintaining the best hygiene practices in different spa areas.

Best practices for general hygiene

  • Staff to wash their hands before and after each treatment.
  • Staff to avoid touching their faces during a treatment and wash their hands immediately if needed.
  • Surfaces to be wiped down with a disinfectant between each treatment as well as opening and closing times.
  • Staff to wear gloves when practical to do so (e.g. during some treatments, when cleaning, etc.)
  • Staff and clients should have access to sinks with running water, soap, and paper towels, or hand sanitiser where possible.

Surfaces

  1. Clean the surface to remove visible dirt and debris.
  2. Spray the surface with disinfectant and allow the recommended dwell time (see the product packaging).
  3. Wipe the surface and rinse if necessary (again, check the product packaging).
  4. Dry with clean paper towels or allow to air dry.

Find out about using disinfectants in our disinfectant FAQ guide.

Tools and Equipment

  1. Clean the tools to remove visible dirt and debris.
  2. Rinse the tools in clean water.
  3. Disinfect the tools (see below).
  4. Store the tools to ensure sterility or high hygiene levels.

Disinfecting tools:

There are various ways to disinfect or sterilise tools and equipment. These could involve immersing them in a disinfectant solution for a prescribed time, putting them into an autoclave, or wiping them down with sanitiser. Towels and other porous items may need to be machine washed on a high-temperature setting.

Take a look at our article on decontaminating surgical tools for a closer look at disinfecting and sterilising methods.

 

Top view of manicure tools on wooden table

Footbaths

  1. Drain the footbath and remove any visible dirt or debris with a cloth.
  2. Take out all the removable parts and clean them with soap or disinfectant and water.
  3. Use a disinfectant and brush to clean the basin.
  4. Circulate the footbath on a hot setting, drain and then refill it and allow it to circulate again.
  5. Drain and allow the footbath to air dry.

Hydrothermal Facilities

Hydrothermal areas must be ventilated to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. Air in a steam room should be refreshed six times every hour. Air in a sauna should be refreshed 7-10 times every hour. Although it's essential to thoroughly clean the hydrothermal facilities, too harsh equipment and products can strip protective finishes on wood, ceramics, and grout.

  1. Clean corners and hard-to-reach areas with a soft brush with soap and water. 
  2. Use soap, water, and a cloth to clean all surfaces.
  3. Disinfect surfaces with a solution of at least 80% isopropyl alcohol for steam rooms. For saunas, use 3% undiluted hydrogen peroxide to disinfect surfaces.
Empty wooden sauna room with traditional sauna accessories

Swimming Pools

Cleaning and maintaining swimming pools every day is important to keep bacteria, fungus, yeasts, and other pathogens at safe levels to prevent infection and disease. This also keeps the pool in good working order.

See the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on controlling legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems.

Reception and Treatment Rooms

  • Ensure waste receptacles are emptied regularly.
  • Wipe down surfaces at opening and closing times.
  • Disinfect touch points daily, including door handles, windows, and furniture.
  • Provide access to hand sanitiser and tissues.
  • Vacuum and clean floors every day.
Young woman cleaning reception of spa center

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Hygiene Products for Spas

ProductUse
Liquid SteriliserSterilising tools and equipment.
Surface disinfectant sprayDisinfecting surfaces.
Liquid detergentCleaning surfaces, floors, tools, and equipment.
Alcohol wipesDisinfecting surfaces, touchpoints, tools, and equipment.
Waste bagsDisposing of waste. Yellow bags should be used to dispose of clinical waste. See below for more information.
Biohazard kitsAny body fluid spills (vomit, blood, urine, etc.) are classified as biohazards and must be dealt with accordingly. Use a biohazard kit to clean up a biohazard safely.
Sharps binsIf you carry out treatments like acupuncture or Botox, you must dispose of used needles in a sharps bin.
Hand sanitiserFor cleaning hands when a sink is not nearby.
First Aid KitA BS8599-1 Workplace First Aid Kit is the best kit you can have as a business owner to ensure complete protection and legal compliance.

Treatments in spas can sometimes mean exposure to body fluids. When this happens, everything contaminated is clinical waste and needs to be disposed of in a yellow clinical waste bag.

Role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Spa Hygiene

PPE is an essential component of spa hygiene. Like PPE in a beauty salon or protective equipment in a spa.

PPEUse
Nitrile glovesTear and puncture-proof, chemical-resistant gloves ideal for treatments and using harsh chemicals for cleaning.
Vinyl GlovesCost-effective protection for general cleaning tasks.
Type IIR face masksFace masks protect the client from airborne droplets exhaled by the wearer.
FFP3 valved face masksRespirators protect the wearer from breathing airborne droplets and vapours.
Safety glassesEye protection from chemicals in steam or splashback.
OvershoesTo prevent walking dirt and bacteria into certain areas.
ApronsTo protect clothing from chemicals and reduce the transference of debris.

Steroplast Healthcare offers premium professional-grade infection control products and equipment. Order here to keep your spa sparklingly clean and your guests happy and healthy.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

Despite their reputation as places of utmost hygiene, cleanliness, and comfort, spas are a potential breeding ground for bacteria and, if not appropriately kept clean, can present a heightened risk of infection transmission.

Activities in spas like massage, facials, and other therapies that require physical touch and close contact present a risk of passing bacteria and pathogens between people. Pools, hot tubs, and saunas all need extra attention to ensure no harmful agents can be passed in water or water droplets. 

Using the right health and beauty products, equipment, and procedures is critical to keep the spa environment safe, remaining compliant with health and safety laws, and maintaining an excellent brand reputation. Read on to learn about spa hygiene standards you must meet if you operate a spa in the UK.

Stylish Spa room interior with massage table

Understanding Spa Hygiene Regulations in the UK

Like all businesses in the UK, spas must comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This means spa owners are legally required to protect not just spa employees but customers, contractors, and other people visiting the premises.

So what do spa owners need to do to protect their staff and clientele? It all depends on the risk assessment of the business. All businesses are different, but arguably, spas present more health hazards than other environments like offices. Here are some examples of health hazards in spas.

FacilityHazard
Steam roomFailure to properly clean the room can result in bacterial or fungal infections passed through surface contact or steam.
Swimming poolFailure to properly clean and treat pool water results in the growth of bacteria leading to infection.
TreatmentsPhysical contact and close proximity result in the transmission of infection through touch or airborne droplets.
RestaurantContamination or poor preparation of food results in injury, allergic reaction, or food poisoning.

Download a risk assessment template here to help you complete a spa risk assessment.

Essential Hygiene Practices in Spas

Follow these guides for maintaining the best hygiene practices in different spa areas.

Best practices for general hygiene

  • Staff to wash their hands before and after each treatment.
  • Staff to avoid touching their faces during a treatment and wash their hands immediately if needed.
  • Surfaces to be wiped down with a disinfectant between each treatment as well as opening and closing times.
  • Staff to wear gloves when practical to do so (e.g. during some treatments, when cleaning, etc.)
  • Staff and clients should have access to sinks with running water, soap, and paper towels, or hand sanitiser where possible.

Surfaces

  1. Clean the surface to remove visible dirt and debris.
  2. Spray the surface with disinfectant and allow the recommended dwell time (see the product packaging).
  3. Wipe the surface and rinse if necessary (again, check the product packaging).
  4. Dry with clean paper towels or allow to air dry.

Find out about using disinfectants in our disinfectant FAQ guide.

Tools and Equipment

  1. Clean the tools to remove visible dirt and debris.
  2. Rinse the tools in clean water.
  3. Disinfect the tools (see below).
  4. Store the tools to ensure sterility or high hygiene levels.

Disinfecting tools:

There are various ways to disinfect or sterilise tools and equipment. These could involve immersing them in a disinfectant solution for a prescribed time, putting them into an autoclave, or wiping them down with sanitiser. Towels and other porous items may need to be machine washed on a high-temperature setting.

Take a look at our article on decontaminating surgical tools for a closer look at disinfecting and sterilising methods.

 

Top view of manicure tools on wooden table

Footbaths

  1. Drain the footbath and remove any visible dirt or debris with a cloth.
  2. Take out all the removable parts and clean them with soap or disinfectant and water.
  3. Use a disinfectant and brush to clean the basin.
  4. Circulate the footbath on a hot setting, drain and then refill it and allow it to circulate again.
  5. Drain and allow the footbath to air dry.

Hydrothermal Facilities

Hydrothermal areas must be ventilated to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. Air in a steam room should be refreshed six times every hour. Air in a sauna should be refreshed 7-10 times every hour. Although it's essential to thoroughly clean the hydrothermal facilities, too harsh equipment and products can strip protective finishes on wood, ceramics, and grout.

  1. Clean corners and hard-to-reach areas with a soft brush with soap and water. 
  2. Use soap, water, and a cloth to clean all surfaces.
  3. Disinfect surfaces with a solution of at least 80% isopropyl alcohol for steam rooms. For saunas, use 3% undiluted hydrogen peroxide to disinfect surfaces.
Empty wooden sauna room with traditional sauna accessories

Swimming Pools

Cleaning and maintaining swimming pools every day is important to keep bacteria, fungus, yeasts, and other pathogens at safe levels to prevent infection and disease. This also keeps the pool in good working order.

See the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on controlling legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems.

Reception and Treatment Rooms

  • Ensure waste receptacles are emptied regularly.
  • Wipe down surfaces at opening and closing times.
  • Disinfect touch points daily, including door handles, windows, and furniture.
  • Provide access to hand sanitiser and tissues.
  • Vacuum and clean floors every day.
Young woman cleaning reception of spa center

Hygiene Products for Spas

ProductUse
Liquid SteriliserSterilising tools and equipment.
Surface disinfectant sprayDisinfecting surfaces.
Liquid detergentCleaning surfaces, floors, tools, and equipment.
Alcohol wipesDisinfecting surfaces, touchpoints, tools, and equipment.
Waste bagsDisposing of waste. Yellow bags should be used to dispose of clinical waste. See below for more information.
Biohazard kitsAny body fluid spills (vomit, blood, urine, etc.) are classified as biohazards and must be dealt with accordingly. Use a biohazard kit to clean up a biohazard safely.
Sharps binsIf you carry out treatments like acupuncture or Botox, you must dispose of used needles in a sharps bin.
Hand sanitiserFor cleaning hands when a sink is not nearby.
First Aid KitA BS8599-1 Workplace First Aid Kit is the best kit you can have as a business owner to ensure complete protection and legal compliance.

Treatments in spas can sometimes mean exposure to body fluids. When this happens, everything contaminated is clinical waste and needs to be disposed of in a yellow clinical waste bag.

Role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Spa Hygiene

PPE is an essential component of spa hygiene. Like PPE in a beauty salon or protective equipment in a spa.

PPEUse
Nitrile glovesTear and puncture-proof, chemical-resistant gloves ideal for treatments and using harsh chemicals for cleaning.
Vinyl GlovesCost-effective protection for general cleaning tasks.
Type IIR face masksFace masks protect the client from airborne droplets exhaled by the wearer.
FFP3 valved face masksRespirators protect the wearer from breathing airborne droplets and vapours.
Safety glassesEye protection from chemicals in steam or splashback.
OvershoesTo prevent walking dirt and bacteria into certain areas.
ApronsTo protect clothing from chemicals and reduce the transference of debris.

Steroplast Healthcare offers premium professional-grade infection control products and equipment. Order here to keep your spa sparklingly clean and your guests happy and healthy.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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