Sanitation in the Salon: How to get a safe manicure or pedicure!


There has been much written in newspapers, magazines and on the nightly news recently about the dangers one can face while getting a manicure or pedicure in the salon today. Unsanitary conditions can cause serious health complications including infections and fungus, but educated consumers can safeguard themselves from these dangers.
Sanitation is the most important thing to consider when making the choice on which salon or spa to choose for your manicure or pedicure service. Of course you want to choose a salon and service provider that will give you a wonderful service but more importantly you want to choose a salon that will provide a safe and clean environment. Choose a salon that has a good reputation in your community. You can always ask friends and family members for a recommendation or call a local cosmetology school for a recommendation. Remember a cheap service is not always your best choice. The reason some salons are able to charge such inexpensive prices on their services is because they are reusing disposable implements numerous times which puts you at risk.
You can participate in the safe sanitation process by bringing your own implements and disposable products. You will not insult your service provider by bringing your own tools. You can invest in a cuticle nipper, nail clipper, disposable orangewood sticks, disposable block buffers and disposable nail files. The cost of bringing your own disposables is minimal and worth the expense for peace of mind.
There are two types of block buffers, nail files and foot files. Some are one-time use supplies and others can be used several times only after they have been properly sanitized. Most reputable salons and spas use sanitizible foot files. These files are scrubbed with a hospital grade disinfectant or placed in a machine called an Autoclave which sanitizes with heat after each use.
Unfortunately for the lay person it would be difficult to know which are one-time use products and which are sanitizible so it is best to use this general rule.
Sanitized tools are (metal pusher, cuticle nippers, nail clippers some foot files.)
Disposable products are (orange wood stick, nail file and block buffer.) Disposable block buffers, nail files and orange wood stick should never be used more than one time on a customer. They are a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.
If your salon is reusing these disposable implements it should be a RED FLAG for you as the consumer. It is not recommended that these items be reused ever. A properly sanitized reusable block buffer, foot file or nail file will be clean and look as thought it has never been used. If your salon uses disposable supplies they should provide you with a new nail file, block buffer and foot file at each service. These should either be disposed of after your service or given to the customer to take home. Reusing these one-time disposable supplies will put you at risk for infection.
Never allow anyone to use a callus planer on your feet. This is the product that has a razor blade attached to it with a handle. These are against the law in the state of NJ. They are very dangerous and can easily cause serious harm and infection. At this point in time no salon in the state of New Jersey should be using a callus planer; if they are you may want to rethink your decision to continue using their services.
Tub sanitation is as important as tool sanitation. Your salon and service provider should be sanitizing the pedicure tub after each service with a hospital grade disinfecting solution. If they are not sanitizing and disinfecting after each service you are at risk of serious harm.
How can you tell if your service provider or salon is adhering to your state regulations regarding sanitation and disinfecting – by asking the service provider or the salon owner. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the salon owner or service provider.
You should see the service provider clean the pedicure tub after the last patron leaves and before your service begins. If not, you have every right to demand that it is cleaned and sanitized property. At the end of the day the salon owner or service provider should be thoroughly sanitizing the pedicure tub with a process we call “backwashing.” The pedicure tub is filled with a hospital grade disinfecting solution and the hottest water and run for at least 15 minutes (or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.) Once the backwash is complete they should rinse the tub with clean water and dry the tub with a clean towel. If your salon is using household bleach as a disinfecting solution you are not safe from containments. Household bleach is not an effective agent for disinfecting and sanitizing any implements or salon equipment. It will not kill the live bacteria that are present in most pedicure tubs or spas.
I hope that these suggestions will help you make an informed decision when you are choosing to have your next nail service.

If you are local to South Jersey I only recommend Virtu Spa (owned and operated by Virtua Hospital) and any of the Rizzieri locations. If you are not local to South Jersey find a cosmetology school and ask them for a recommendation. Most cosmetology schools have a clinic where students can give you a manicure or pedicure. This is perfectly safe as they are not permitted by law to work on the public until the book a certain amount of hours.  You are much safer getting a service at a cosmetology school than at some of these strip mall nail salons.  



Posted in Beauty, Consumer Tips.