I've decided to go at this hygiene issue by educating my clients. I figure if my clients are aware of the risks, they will start demanding other salon to change their ways.
I have to confess that I have been working full time on the business end of my salon that I had little time for blogging/educating. Now things settled down a bit I can finally start writing ^_^
Below I will introduce some telltale signs of a dirty salon:
Pedicure is often the most unclean service you can receive in a nail salon, since it involves many tools/equipments and the sanitation protocols around these items are often misunderstood.
Is the technician wearing a glove?
With pedicures, techs should always be wearing a non-latex glove when serving clients. They should also wash their hands afterwards and before serving a new client.
Pumice Stones and Pedicure Files that are bad signs:
These type of files and pumice stone are impossible to sanitize. The files/stone have porous surface which can trap skin flakes and germs. Plastic handle is also unacceptable since it cannot be safely soaked in sanitizing solution (have to be stainless steel handle). Hence they should be single use only or offered as part of a personal kit (like dental tools). Clients can easily contract athlete's foot from dirty tools like these.
Pedicure files that can be sanitized:
The above two files can be completely cleaned and sanitized. On the left is basically a sticker backed sandpaper with a stainless steel handle and on the right is a non-porous stainless steel pedicure file. Salons that do not want to cover the extra cost of creating personal kits should still be able to afford the above options (No Excuses!).
Pedicure Foot Spa Basin/Bowl:
Foot spa with liners are obviously a good choice.
If you prefer foot spa with water jet (they do feel good^^), go with a pipeless tub. These pipeless wonders work by utilizing strong magnets outside the tub to drive water jet inside the tub. Hence there are no water pump or pipes and all the parts can be easily taken apart in 1 minute and soaked in disinfectant. One way to tell pipeless tub apart from piped ones is that there is no water intake; or you could always just ask the tech.
"Some info for salon owners. According to University of Alberta (http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/courses/zool224/?Page=695), it takes 6 parts bleach to 4 part water (freshly made) to kill bacterial spores. Hence putting bleach/water mix in your spa bowl is good, but should not be the only sanitation procedure you take. You should also spray high strength disinfectant undiluted on the surfaces inside the dried tub"
Tools should be made of stainless steel, kept in a clean container apart from used tools. You should see techs washing them and soaking them in high strength disinfectant after use (simply wiping them with alcohol is not enough since alcohol has no effect on spores). High strength disinfectants such as Accel CS20 (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide) are proven to be highly effective against a wide range of virus, bacteria, and even fungal spores. Ask your tech how she clean her tools next time you visit her.
Below are some examples of dirty salons that doesn't even know they are dirty:
"We have an autoclave, so we don't need to soak our tools in disinfectant."
Its a good sign that some salons are using autoclaves (basically a high temperature steamer) and wrappers, but autoclaves needs to be tested using spore strips periodically to remain effective. Hence salons still need to soak tools in disinfectant.
"We sanitize our tools using a state of the art UV cabinet"
UV cabinet can serve as a clean container for tools that are already sanitized. They should not replace disinfectants.
Bottom line is, salons should ALWAYS SOAK USED TOOLS IN DISINFECTANT!
At the end I would like to say again that hygiene is a serious health issue in salon settings. You could contract not only fungus, but also hepatitis and even HIV. So don't be afraid to ask you technician questions regarding their sanitation procedures.
Hope you find the above information useful. Feel free to ask me any questions and pass it along to your favorite nail salons, sometimes they may not even know that they are doing something wrong.
Minoko Nail Studio