< Read Part 1 here

Salon sanitation regulations are most often mentioned with respect to nail salons, but cleanliness could be a point of difference for all salons. Say "hello" to the clean revolution.


After sanitization, all reusable instruments and tools must be disinfected by immersion in the appropriate solution, mixed according to manufacturer's directions and used for the appropriate amount of time. A hospital-grade disinfectant requires 10-minute immersion; 70-percent isopropyl and ethyl alcohol require five. (State board requirements dictate which you use for what and when.)

Committed To Cleanliness (Part 2)
Keri Siriscevich
Committed To Cleanliness (Part 2)
Tracey Moran

Nail technician Keri Siriscevich and salon manager Tracey Moran
Maxine's Salon
Chicago, IL

ST: Why is sanitation and disinfection so important to you?
TM: We do high-volume, back-to-back business and take our clients' health very seriously. They see what we do in regards to sanitation, and comment on it all the time. It's a big reason we have a strong, regular client base for nails.

ST: What are a few things you do to ensure sanitary nail services?
KS: I use disposable files, nail buffers and orange sticks or replaceable files, which have metal handles and disposable pads. I use the autoclave for anything metal, after cleaning and disinfecting the implements with hospital-grade disinfectant. I use hand sanitizer between each client.
TM: Each technician has her own station, and a book she initials between each client and at the end of the day, indicating the pedicure bowls have been cleaned and disinfected with hospital-grade disinfectant for 10 minutes. To accommodate this, we book all pedicures for one hour. Most clients start with the pedicure, so the stations can be cleaned and disinfected during the manicure. We also have an extra pedicure station, which can be used if needed. We'd rather run behind than take any risks, and our clients agree.

ST: How can salon owners get technicians to become more sanitation conscious?
TM: Establish standards when you open; it's harder to correct behavior. Be very regimented, and hold individuals responsible. Keep an eye on new technicians to ensure they follow procedures.

ST: Is it hard for technicians to learn proper sanitation procedures?
KS: The information is available. As an OPI educator, I teach sanitation and disinfection all the time.

ST: What do you charge?
TM: $48 for pedicures and $25 for manicures: We only do natural nail services.

Paul Bryson, Ph.D., director of research and development, OPI Products Inc., summarizes, "Properly cleaning tools, followed by an appropriate EPA-registered, hospital disinfectant, is sufficient for salon purposes. However, an autoclave is certainly effective. Be aware that autoclaves also require pre-cleaning or sanitation, you can't just throw dirty tools in any more than you can with a liquid disinfectant. Also, autoclaves require regular spore testing to verify effectiveness and regular maintenance."

Pedi Perfect: Pedicure thrones have gotten a bad rap because many techs simply spray the basin with bleach and move onto the next client. They also say ones with jets are harder to clean, because they require separate cleaning of removable parts at the end of every day. Normal procedures are to drain, rinse, sanitize, rinse, disinfect for 10 minutes, re-rinse and wipe down basins between clients. A more thorough end-of-day procedure is also commonly required.
Vicki Malo, the Toronto, Canada-based president of the North American School of Pedicuring and director of sales for Footlogix, advises extra understanding of disinfection when it comes to pedicure stations. "Bleach must be mixed in the right ratio and used with soft water-hard water renders it a lightening agent," says Malo. "Look for disinfectants that claim to kill TB, the hardest bacteria to kill, and Polio 1, the hardest virus to kill."

Bryson adds, "A one-step product, which contains grease-cutting surfactants and chelating agents for removing hard-water scale, in addition to the disinfectant chemicals, is the best choice. It cleans and disinfects in one step."

He notes that if your state board requires regular bleach treatments, bleach can be deactivated by grease and dirt, so pre-cleaning is required.

Procedures and Protocol
In addition to between-client and end-of-day procedures, special ones address infection control and blood borne pathogens. Anything exposed to blood or body fluids must be handled with disposable gloves and disinfected immediately. Porous instruments exposed to blood must be double-bagged and discarded in a closed container. Some states have separate procedures for cleaning electric file bits, as well as guidelines for avoiding product contamination. Finally, always follow all guidelines for storage, mixing, usage and labeling of disinfectants.
How do you keep track of it all? Set a realistic protocol for technicians to follow and use support staff, says Malo. "Also, a second set of implements for every technician is a must."

To save time, technicians can begin clean-up before the client's final polish is done. Simply cover the basin with Plexiglas while the disinfectant does its work. Or, add time to the service and build it into the service charge.
At Metropolis in Princeton, New Jersey, co-owner Terry Cerf says she uses a chart to track pedicure throne use and between-client disinfection, and that she does random checks to be certain technicians follow procedures. Also, her pedi-throne's removable parts are cleaned at the end of every day.
"If you don't unscrew the caps and clean the jets, they can clog and break," says Cerf. "Clients notice what we do and are impressed by it. We even clean our bathrooms every 30 minutes, and they can see this on the clipboard."

Kalberg uses a daily sanitation log that is updated after each client. In California and increasingly, other states, such tracking systems are the law.

Better Safe …
In 2007, a Dallas salon was fined $9,000 for 10 sanitation violations, including having soiled disinfectant, failure to store implements in a clean environment and failure to sanitize equipment between clients. In July 2009, a Woodstock, New York, salon was sued for $150,000 by a client who had a pedicure and woke up with a swollen toe. She was eventually diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bone infection caused by bacteria or fungus, which required extensive treatment, including a six-week course of antibiotics through a neck catheter. Time will tell if the salon was at fault, but the possibility alone is reason enough to make sanitation a salon priority.

According to California's State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, these are the most common violations sited during a salon inspection. Seven of 10 involve sanitation or disinfection standards, and most are violations in any state. Check your salon and see how many apply to you.

1. Incorrect storage of disinfected non-electrical instruments. To avoid violation: Store all disinfected non-electrical items (combs, brushes, manicuring tools) in a clean, covered place that is labeled "clean" or "disinfected."

2. Incorrect storage of soiled non-electrical instruments. To avoid violation: Store all soiled non-electrical items in a receptacle that is labeled "soiled" or "dirty."

3. No disposal of non-disinfectable instruments. To avoid violation: Immediately discard items that cannot be disinfected, such as buffers, sponges, orange and wax sticks.

4. Unlicensed establishment/expired license. To avoid violation: Only perform services in an establishment that has a valid, current establishment license.

5. Liquids, creams, powders and cosmetics not properly labeled. To avoid violation: Distinctly label all bottles and containers of their contents.

6. Incorrect disinfection of non-electrical instruments. To avoid violation: Before use on clients, clean instruments with soap, or detergent and water. Then totally immerse them in an EPA-registered disinfectant with bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal activity, following the manufacturer's instructions.

7. Disinfectant not changed and/or covered. To avoid violation: Keep disinfectant solution covered and change it at least once per day or when it's visibly cloudy.

8.Liquids, creams, powders and cosmetics not in a clean and/or closed container. To avoid violation: Store all of the above in clean, closed containers.

9.  Removal of liquids, creams, powders and cosmetics, causing contamination to remaining portion. To avoid violation: When using a portion of a cosmetic preparation, remove so as not to contaminate the remaining portion. 

10.  License not conspicuously displayed at work station. To avoid violation: Keep license posted and clearly visible.

Committed to Cleanliness (Part 1)
Committed to Cleanliness (Part 2)

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