pedicure-sanitationProper pedicure sanitation procedures are so important!

Unfortunately, many nail salons don’t properly sanitize their soaking tubs, implements, or work stations because they are servicing one client after the other.

That’s no excuse for skipping steps, especially when it comes to your health and safety.

I’ll never forget the teenage girl that I saw on Oprah one afternoon…her legs had been eaten away by a flesh-eating bacteria that she caught from getting a pedicure. It spreads quickly, and you won’t be able to tell that your at risk unless you know what to look for when you get a pedicure. Click here for more about her story and others that have had nightmare pedicures.

As for nail technicians and salon owners…it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just schedule a 15 minute window in-between clients so everything can be properly sanitized. I used to work at a spa that did this and the clients really appreciated it! They also paid a lot more for our services than competing nail salons that were obviously taking lots of short cuts when it comes to sanitation.

What Are The Proper Pedicure Sanitation Procedures?

Here’s a great Q&A from a reader about proper pedicure sanitation procedures:

Hello Erika,

I am a cosmetologist too and I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction as far as where do I go to get the latest information on pedicure sanitation procedures.

I went to school in the 80’s and now that my kids are grow I am getting back into the salon and I have found I love giving pedicures but i am kinda a germ freak. I will be working in a small to medium size town and will be the only nail tech in the salon.

One of my other concerns is how to tell the difference between a toenail that has fungus or a toenail that was damaged from an jury. Any advice you can send my way would be GREAT.

Thank you for your time, Suzie

Dear Suzie:

I’ve worked with jetting pedicure chairs as well as glass bowls and it all depends on what you will be using. I’m going to give you a little information about both.

Jetted Chairs:

My salon was an upscale spa in Virginia Beach, VA so our clients new everything was sanitary compared to those nail chop shops. I was blown away at their procedures because I didn’t even learn most of it at school.

After each client I gave myself at least a 15 minute window (you can do less but I like to be ready rather than losing my mind trying to prepare). After the water drained I had a bleach (like 409) and a special scrub brush to be used only for that purpose. I’d spray and scrub, rinse a little, and spray and scrub. Be sure to get the sides of the tub and any of the little nozzles. This part is important but not as much as the next step.

Then I would fill the tub with HOT water and pour in a cap full of bleach and sometimes some lyscol cleaner. Then run the jets for 5 minutes, drain, rinse, and you’re done! This process assures that any water-borne bacteria that made it in the jets and pipes of the chair is killed.

The part that scares me is those quick shops don’t do this!  Ew!  I guess it’s just the luck of the draw with those!

Bowls/Small tubs(not jets):

While working at the same salon sometimes I would go to the Chesapeake location to help out. They were much newer and seemed to be going with the new pedicure bowl trend. You can look at it either way, some clients feel more comfortable with the bowl because it is more sanitary. But as long as they know how important sanitation is to you then it shouldn’t matter (people like the jets more but most people don’t know the dangers).

We used very large glass basin bowls and I had little rocks to fill up the bottom. Those are nice to sit your feet on. With that method all I had to do was dump out the water, bleach spray and wipe down the bowl. As for the rocks I had a strainer and would put them in the sink to wash them in between each client.


As for the pedicure/manicure implements that you use everyday we had plenty of backups so that we could clean each tool before using it again. I had a foot file, nail file, and the usual pushers and nippers. The foot and nail files went straight to the sink after use.  We scrubbed them with a nail brush and dish soap then rinsed and let them dry for the next use. Most places don’t do this. The metal tools can remain in barbicide.

As a side note I have a few products I love that you may want to check out if you don’t have your own favorites.

Top coat: Sech Vite

Base coat: OPI Base Coat

I ALWAYS used OPI Bond-Aid on the nail bed before applying any polish. It dries up any leftover oils and regulates the ph of the nail bed. I’ve had some manicurists question me on this because it is generally used with acrylics. I guarantee you their polish will last longer and you only need a little dab per nail, plus it instantly absorbs so it doesnt need to dry. You will have repeat clients guaranteed because they wont be able to figure out how their polish lasted so long!

I hope that I have answered your questions! Please feel free to e-mail me if you have anymore, I’ve done a lot of different things in a lot of places and hopefully I can help.

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About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

2 Responses to What Are The Proper Pedicure Sanitation Procedures?

  1. mrfootcare says:

    Wow, that was a great tip. nice to see more people taking better precautions.

  2. […] Make sure the nail salon you go to follows proper sanitation procedures. […]

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