As pipe-free pedicure systems gain popularity within the industry, and concerns over sanitation and salon safety preoccupy the minds of clients and nail techs, it forces the question: Are pipe-free systems a better option?
The first pipe-free style system was invented by SaniJet (Coppell, Texas) and introduced in 2000 for use in whirlpool baths and hot tubs, where bacterial infections due to deposits in pipes were on the rise. In 2002 the technology was modified for use in pedicure systems. Each SaniJet pipeless hydrotherapy jet is powered by its own individual motor and may be used on a variety of settings, from forceful flows to pulsating currents, says Philip Klement, vice president of sales and marketing for SaniJet.
The SaniJet Pipeless system is available in the company’s own pedicure thrones and is also made available to other manufacturers for use in their own pedicure thrones.
Pro Spa, Inc. (Garland, Texas), a manufacturer specializing in pipe-free pedicure spas, was launched in 2003 and designs its spas around the SaniJet system.“We designed our spas this way so there would be no retrofitting of old spa designs to accommodate the new technology,” says Eric Phan, regional sales manager for Pro Spa.
Many pedicure systems on the market today can be fitted with SaniJet Pipeless systems by the manufacturer and in some cases, the distributor. “It’s easy to modify spa shells to accommodate a pipeless system,” says Bui.
Manufacturers and distributors are increasingly offering their whirlpool pedicure systems with the option of converting them to a pipefree system. The cost to the buyer is not significantly higher than a traditional whirlpool system, usually hovering between an additional $200 and $300.
For its own thrones, European Touch Ltd. II (Milwaukee) has developed Crystal Clean Pipe-Free Technology, a pipe-free system that currently is only available in one of its thrones, but will soon be available in more. “An impeller secured to the bottom of the basin pulls water underneath a foot plate and then forces it up through numerous holes in the foot plate,” explains Rebecca Reed, advertising manager for European Touch. “Water remains fully self-contained in the basin.”
Why Go Pipe-Free?
There are a variety of potential benefits with pipe-free systems, but three closely address the current sanitation concerns. First, by eliminating the internal water lines, these systems reduce the actual surface area where bacteria and other water-borne pathogens can collect. There are no hidden or inaccessible surfaces.
Second, the entire system — all of the components that touch water and can therefore potentially harbor bacteria — can be quickly and easily removed and sanitized or disinfected, even between every client.
Finally, because everything can be removed and cleaned, users can ensure there is no water left standing in the system. “SaniJet’s Pipeless system allows the user to easily remove and quickly clean and dry each jet after use to assure the system is completely disinfected for the next use,” says Klement.
“Every component that touches water can be easily removed to assure that no water is being retained and no residue is being deposited.” So, in theory, if a user properly maintains her pipe-free system she can offer an extremely safe service.