Heading to your favorite nail salon for a pedicure might feel like the perfect way to treat yourself but if your salon doesn’t make an effort to stay clean and sanitary, this self-care ritual is doing more harm than good. Going to nail salons that don’t have proper sanitation procedures puts you at risk for infections, fungus, and general uncleanliness. Follow these tips to make sure your nail salon experience is healthy and safe.
Survey the environment in general
You can learn about the cleanliness of your nail salon just from looking around the building. If the bathroom looks spotless and the nail technicians sweep the floors frequently, chances are that the nail salon is conscious of keeping tools and equipment clean to protect their clients’ health. If the bathrooms have paper towels all over the floor, the salon’s counter tops are dirty, or you notice nail clippings on the floor, you should proceed with caution.
Observe the equipment they’re using
There are laws and regulations that require nail salons to disinfect their equipment for ten minutes or sterilized in an autoclave. You’ll know if the salon’s tools are treated in an autoclave if they take the tools out of a machine resembling a toaster and each tool set is sealed in a plastic envelope. Use your best judgment and watch where your nail technician is getting their tools. If the tools that your nail technician pulls out are visibly dirty, you should definitely head out. Salons should also provide new nail files, sanding bands, and buffers for each client. If you notice your technician reaching for a used one,
You should also check on the hygiene of the spa chairs and basins. There should be plastic liners along the both so that the salon workers can more easily clean these areas. Without these protective layers, you could expose yourself to lice or If your salon uses a basin without a drain for pedicures, watch to see if the technicians are cleaning and disinfecting the basins between pedicures. If the pedicure basins have drains, watch to see if your nail technician disinfects the entire basin, including the drain area, before filling it with water again. Even if they wipe down the basin itself, germs and skin cells are housed in the pipe system of the drains.
Notice if they’re working on people with cuts or broken skin.
Nail salons should never give manicures or pedicures to people with sores, open cuts, or other injuries that break the skin. This can get blood on the tools they’re using and cause the spread of disease and infection amongst different guests. If you’ve had cuts on your hands and feet and technicians have continued to work on your hands or feet, take this as a sign that they treat all guests this way. In the future, remember to let technicians know if you have a cut like this so that they avoid the area or decline service if necessary.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Yes, it can feel awkward to ask your nail technicians about the cleanliness of the salon, but a little discomfort is better than potentially exposing yourself to harmful diseases. It’s hard to ask questions like this without worrying about offending the people working at the nail salon, so try phrasing your questions in a non-accusatory way. You could say something like, “Just wondering, what are your cleaning procedures like for the equipment here? I’m sorry, I’m such a germ-a-phobe.” If you make it seem like your problem rather than a potential problem with the salon, most technicians will be happy to explain the salon’s cleaning practices to you.
Take matters into your own hands.
If you’re having trouble figuring out whether or not your salon is cleaning properly just based on observation or if you can’t work up the courage to ask about the salon’s cleaning habits, you can always bring in your own manicure and pedicure items. You can find most nail tools at local drugstores or makeup stores, and you can bring in your own nail polish from home (germs can easily spread when the polish brushes touch a ton of different people’s nails). Most nail salons will readily accommodate you if you’re bringing your own tools. This is an easy way to get peace of mind and know that you’re not catching infections from your favorite nail spot.
Your nail salon should be somewhere you can relax and unwind. Take these precautions to make sure that your favorite salon is a clean, safe setting where you can pamper yourself without worrying about health risks.