In my opinion, hand-washing should be a given procedure before any service is performed, ever. I have always had a hand washing-policy in effect for any of the guests that I perform services for — even while working as a booth renter in a salon with other technicians who did not. I also have too often heard from guests that they have never been asked to wash their hands before the service begins. I have also had guests try to tell me, “Really, I just washed them before I got here.” My response is always to tell them that we cannot begin the service until the hands and nails have been thoroughly scrubbed.
I come to the nail industry from my previous career, working as a state-certified nurses’ aide in convalescent care homes. I clearly remember from when I was studying for my certification the class that stressed the proper hand-washing procedure. One of the things that the instructor did to emphasize this was an experiment where they would take a culture from under the free edge of the nail and put the sample in a petri dish. They then had us wash our hands like people normally do (very quickly and not very well) and repeated the culture process with a fresh petri dish. They then had every one use CDC-recommended (Centers for Disease Control) proper hand-washing procedure and scrub the hands and nails for at least 20 seconds. (Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice; it takes that long.) They repeated the process once again with another fresh dish. They then put them somewhere warm for one week.
After the week was up they retrieved the dishes and showed us the results. It was eye-opening to say the least and one of the grossest things I had witnessed up to that time. I consider myself to be a very clean person and the bacterial growth in the dishes from the first culture just about made me sick. The second dish showed a reduction in bacterial growth, demonstrating that even some hand-washing is better than nothing. While the third dish, representing the CDC procedure, showed no growth. That was the most persuasive reason for proper hand washing that I had ever seen and it made a permanent impression on me. It caused me to make sure that everyone washes their hands before I touch them for a service.