How to Disinfect Your Own Mani/Pedi Equipment & Other Fun Facts

November 26, 2014

manicure-pedicure-toolsJust because its your own germs doesn’t mean that it’s not gross. If you are bringing your own equipment when you get manicures and pedicures be sure that you are properly sanitizing them. If you just throw them back into the same bag you brought them in it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria… even if it’s your own equipment. Professional salons are required to scrub their tools with soap and water to remove debris, followed up by a 10-minute soak in a hospital-grade sanitizer and then in an autoclave – then packaged and sealed for storage.

If you are the kind of girl who would prefer to stick to your own tools, we suggest sanitizing them after each use by adhering to the same cleaning routine: Scrub them with soap and water, then soak for at least 10 minutes in a disinfectant solution like Barbicide, which you can get at a professional beauty supply store. If you don’t live near a beauty supply store rubbing alcohol will also do the trick. If its your own eqipment you don’t need to use the autoclave.

To properly sterilize nail tools like crystal files, crystal pumice stones, cuticle pushers and scissors  you can also choose from the following methods:

  • Wash them with soap and hot water and then boil them for 20 minutes at a rolling boil
  • Soak them in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes minimum
  • Place them in an autoclave for 20 minutes and package in sterilization pouch for storage.
  • If you don’t have an Autoclave you can bake them on a  sheetpan at 250 degrees for 20 minutes).

To stretch out a buffing block’s “life” without sacrificing on hygiene we suggest cutting them  into sections with scissors or a serrated knife. We highly recommend investing in a crystal finger nail file and foot file. Good quality metal tools and crystal nail and foot files and  are an investment, but in the long run they ends up being less expensive because you don’t need to dispose of them like regular files and them and they can be sterilized easily.

What about infections? Bacterial, viral and fungal infection risks are present with any procedure that can potentially break skin, such as accidentally cutting a client with improperly sterilized nail or cuticle nippers.   Infection risks are even greater and have more serious effects for diabetics and anyone with lower immunity or circulation issues.

Disinfection is not the same as sterilizing. Disinfection eliminates all pathogenic organisms except bacterial spores.  Bacterial spores may revert back to the multiplying form of the bacteria and cause infection.

Sterilizing destroys all pathogenic organisms, including spores. Isopropyl alcohol and solutions that contain quaternary ammonium materials are used in mani-pedi places as a chemical cleaner. They are all classified as low-level disinfectants and should not be the only method of cleaning instruments which can pierce the skin, such as nail and cuticle nippers.  Their efficacy also depends on the amount of time instruments are soaked or how well tubs are wiped down. UV light machines and a glass bead sterilizers are not approved methods of sterilization and should be discouraged, according to the North York survey of mani-pedi establishments, and seconded by the Barn and Chen study.

How can we be assured of a safe manicure/pedicure?

Make sure that the place you are having your services at uses an autoclave sterilizer, not a UV light machine or glass bead sterilizer and not an ultrasonic machine for soaking.  Only an autoclave will eliminate all pathogenic organisms including spores.

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