Germ-free glam: How to clean manicure and pedicure tools

By Salon Gold on September 11th, 2023

Who can resist the allure of a well-deserved manicure? The simple act of getting your nails done can be a real boost to your confidence and leave you feeling utterly pampered. Nail salons have become the ultimate self-care retreats, offering a sanctuary of relaxation to customers. It’s no surprise that these havens are experiencing a surge in popularity, given their ability to make us feel like a million bucks.

With the UK nail industry’s value soaring to an impressive £42 million, the allure of nail care services continues to captivate an ever-expanding clientele. With more and more people seeking nail treatments, it’s an exciting time to jump into this vibrant field and run your own salon.

But, like any business, the journey isn’t likely to be all smooth sailing. The glamorous world of nail art hides potential risks. In fact, 17% of all beauty salon insurance payouts stem from nail treatments gone wrong, according to a 2022 report. The top culprit? Poor attention to hygiene practices.

In the realm of salons, cleanliness is a language that speaks volumes. So, to support nail technicians in getting hygiene right, we’ve crafted a comprehensive guide on proper equipment cleaning. Let’s jump in.

High-touch surfaces

First, let’s delve into a topic that might not be the headliner, but is definitely a backstage star in the world of nail salons — the meticulous cleaning of high-touch areas.

High-touch surfaces are hotspots for the accumulation of germs, bacteria, and viruses that can be easily transferred from one person to another. By this, we mean the frequently-touched spots like door handles, payment counters, and salon chairs. Consistent cleaning and disinfection of these areas significantly reduce the risk of infections and other health-related issues, safeguarding both clients and staff.

How to clean high-touch surfaces

Here’s a rundown of how to clean high-touch surfaces in your salon.

  1. Gather supplies: Put on disposable gloves and gather EPA-approved disinfectants, microfiber cloths, and disposable paper towels.
  2. Pre-clean: Remove visible dirt and dust from surfaces using a cloth or paper towel.
  3. Apply disinfectant: Spray disinfectant on a cloth and thoroughly wipe down high-touch surfaces, ensuring full coverage. Allow the disinfectant to sit for the recommended time.
  4. Dispose and clean: Safely dispose of used materials. Sweep or vacuum the floors, then mop with a disinfectant solution.
  5. Repeat: Establish a routine schedule for cleaning and disinfection to maintain a safe salon environment.

Nail equipment

Every tool and piece of equipment you use — nail files, buffers, clippers, you name it — should go through a thorough cleaning and disinfection process after every use.

Salons who neglect to properly clean and disinfect their nail salon equipment can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other nasty pathogens. This can put both your customers and staff at risk of infections, skin problems, and other health issues.

What’s more, when your nail technician uses clean tools, it’s not just about hygiene — it’s about getting the best results, too. Clean tools are often more effective, which means your manicure or pedicure will look fantastic and last longer. Who wouldn’t want that?

How to sanitise nail tools

Tools that come into direct contact with clients’ skin or nails must be cleaned after each use. In this section, we’ll walk you through the best method to clean and sterilise nail equipment.

  1. Prepare for cleaning: Gather all the used nail tools that need to be cleaned, including nail clippers, cuticle pushers, metal nail files, tweezers, and any other equipment.
  2. Initial disinfection: Soak the tools in an EPA-registered disinfectant for 10 minutes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate concentration. This helps to kill a good majority of germs and bacteria early in the cleaning process.
  3. Clean all surfaces: Use warm, soapy water and rub to remove debris, dirt, and any remaining nail product residue. Pay extra attention to crevices and tight spaces where dirt and debris can accumulate.
  4. Sterilisation: Sterilise the cleaned tools to ensure that they are free from harmful pathogens. Autoclaves or dry heat sterilisers are common methods used in salons.
  5. Storage: Store the tools in a clean and dry place. Use covered containers or pouches to protect them from dust and contamination until they are used again.

Note that some tools, like disposable nail files and buffers, should be used only once and then discarded to ensure hygiene. Make sure to follow proper disposal procedures for single-use items.

Pedicure equipment

Now that you’ve learned how to sterilise and disinfect nail tools, let’s move on to pedicure equipment.

Foot baths are commonly used in pedicures to soak and cleanse the feet, providing relaxation and skin exfoliation. However, if not properly cleaned and disinfected, they can become a haven for unwanted microorganisms.

What’s more, due the nature of foot baths, with their hidden nooks, crannies, and intricate components, they can be difficult to clean thoroughly. If proper cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance are not performed regularly and correctly, biofilm can develop. This is a slimy layer that forms when bacteria and fungi stick to surfaces and create a protective shield for themselves. Once biofilm forms, it becomes even more challenging to eliminate these microorganisms through routine cleaning procedures.

How to clean pedicure tools

Pedicure equipment, including basins and foot spas, should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before each use. Here’s what to do.

  1. Draining and debris removal: Empty the spa basin and clear out any debris left from the previous use.
  2. Cleaning with soap or detergent: Scrub all surfaces with soap or detergent to remove visible dirt and prepare for disinfection.
  3. Disinfection: Apply an EPA-registered disinfectant, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse and drain: Flush warm water then drain.
  5. Dry: Use a dry, clean towel to wipe down all surfaces and ensure the basin is completely dry.

Final thoughts

We hope that the guide has been a valuable resource for you. As we’ve mentioned earlier, accidents are something that can catch even the most careful nail technicians off guard. So, before you dive into the world of nail care, it’s crucial to have your back covered with insurance to ensure you won’t have to pay any compensation and legal fees yourself. 

Insurance might not be the most exciting topic, but it’s like a safety net for your business, there to catch you if unexpected hurdles come your way. No matter how skilled you are, unforeseen circumstances can pop up, and having insurance can be a real lifesaver seeing as your insurer will cover the costs mentioned above. 

At Salon Gold, our nail salon insurance isn’t your standard policy either; it’s tailored specifically to the unique needs and challenges that nail technicians and salon owners face. Give us a call on 020 8655 0444 for more information, or get a quote right away.

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