Aqueos - Why is it important to disinfect grooming equipment?

Aqueos - Why is it important to disinfect grooming equipment?

Why is it important to disinfect grooming equipment?

With the amount of equipment you need as a dog groomer, it can feel overwhelming to keep everything clean and hygienic! Let’s remind ourselves why it’s so important to properly disinfect equipment, and how to do so effectively.

Why does grooming equipment need to be disinfected?

There are several reasons it’s important to keep your grooming equipment clean and disinfected:

-       Protecting the pets you are grooming:

For starters, dirty grooming equipment can transmit contagious conditions and parasites between dogs. An obvious (and common!) example being fleas.

-       Protecting yourself: People can catch some conditions from equipment or surfaces that an infected dog has touched, such as ringworm.

-       Protecting your equipment: Keeping your equipment clean and disinfected can help to prolong its life, saving you money in the long run.

Remember, not all conditions will be obvious or apparent, so it’s important to clean and disinfect your equipment between every animal.

How to disinfect dog grooming equipment

It’s important to remember that cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. Equipment or a surface has to be clean before it can be disinfected, as the disinfectant won’t work on a dirty surface.

What’s the difference? Cleaning manually removes dirt and grime, while disinfectant kills or inactivates pathogens (such as bacteria, fungi and viruses). Both steps are important, and you can’t disinfect without cleaning first!

-       Cleaning equipment

First, remove any hair, dirt or debris. You can do this by wiping, brushing or rinsing. Not all equipment can be safely soaked without risk of rusting, but some can be soaked in hot soapy water (it’s safest to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines).

Next, you will need to disinfect the equipment. When looking for a disinfectant, it’s important to check that it is safe for animals to come in contact with immediately after use. Some disinfectants have a ‘wait time’ before allowing contact with pets.

Importantly, allow all your equipment to dry thoroughly before use.

-       Cleaning clippers

Safety first- make sure they are unplugged! Remove the blade and brush away any hair or debris. Disinfect the blade using a brush (such as an old toothbrush) and effective disinfectant solution. Dry the blade well and then oil it with a suitable clipper spray.

-       Cleaning surfaces

Sweep the floor between clients and also mop with disinfectant solution at the end of each day. It’s also important to mop after any pets that you suspect may have a contagious medical condition.

Wipe and spray down any tables, enclosures and bathtubs between dogs. Remember, safety is key, so be sure to use a pet-safe disinfectant spray.

-       Towels and bedding

Never be tempted to share towels or bedding between animals! Make sure you have enough to get you through the day, then put them through a hot wash at the end of each day. Make sure you dry them thoroughly too.


Make sure you read the disinfectant’s instructions carefully, as some disinfectants need a set amount of ‘contact time’ to be effective. That means you may need to spray on (or apply) the disinfectant, then wait a set amount of time before wiping or rinsing it off.

What other measures can I take?

As well as effective sanitation, it’s a good idea to have policies in place to reduce the risk of spreading germs. Examples could include:

-       Asking if a pet is up to date with their vaccinations. You could consider a deep clean after grooming unvaccinated animals and keeping them separate from other pets.

-       Asking clients not to bring their pets if they are showing signs of illness.

-       Asking clients not to bring their pets if they have suffered from sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.

-       Asking clients ahead of time if their pet has any skin conditions or lesions, and whether they have been checked by a vet.

-       It’s safest to recommend that any skin complaints are checked by a vet before you carry out any grooming. This way you can know if the condition is contagious ahead of time, meaning you can be extra vigilant. The vet can also advise if it’s safe to go ahead with the groom, or if it’s better to wait. They may prescribe shampoos or washes that you can use while grooming.

-       Book animals with skin conditions in for the end of the day.

-       Wash your hands between pets, and always have an effective hand sanitiser within reach.

-       Have a spare set of equipment, allowing one set to dry while grooming the next client.

-       Carry out a weekly deep clean.

It’s important to clean and disinfect between every animal. As tempting as it can be to miss out steps on a busy day, or when you are running late… proper cleaning and disinfecting really is crucial!

This article was written by Sarah-Jane Molier BVM&S BSc MRCVS