The Coaching Chronicles

Safe Handling of Your Implements

by NAILS Magazine | March 28, 2012 | Bookmark +

We’re sticking with our spring cleaning and keeping it clean theme this week. Now that you have cleaned out your station, it’s time to talk about how to keep your implements and utensils clean.

Does your state require you to use single-use items? I live in Minnesota and our state does not allow us to sanitize porous items such as buffer blocks, orangewood sticks, or nail files. We can only sanitize our plastic “orangewood sticks,” crystal nail files, and metal implements.

We have a few choices of what we want to do with these items when we are finished using them on our client.

> We can put all of the porous items we have used in a baggie and give the items to the client. We can ask them bring back their nail file, orangewood stick, and buffer block each time they come in for an appointment. This would cut down on costs and it would make it nice for clients to have their own items. I am not however a fan of having all of their items sealed in a plastic baggie. I am not sure how much bacteria that could possibly produce.

> We can keep track of the client’s items in a container or baggie and keep them on hand for their appointments. The problem with this is storage. Would we store them in our station or a cabinet? Do we have the space for all of these items? How many bags would we accumulate over time? When would we purge them? How many one-time clients’ bags would we have on hand? These are all questions to consider.

> We can purchase single-use items and then toss them after each use. Some salons follow this method and I like it. However, I have seen the quality of the files and buffers suffer because of this. Make sure if you’re going to do this, that you are not cutting the quality to cut the costs. I have seen some salons purchase quality files and buffers and cut them in half. I think that can work too. You can still keep the integrity of the nail files and buffers without incurring lots of costs. This is probably the best method.

Does your state require you to have your sanitized implements in a closed or sealed container?


Minnesota does require that all of the single-use and sanitized implements be stored in a closed container prior to use. We purchased Pyrex containers for our staff to store their implements in — one container per set of implements. I have three sets of pedicure implements, so I have three containers.  Each container has a crystal nail file, curette, foot file, nail clipper, nipper, and plastic orangewood stick. I set up my pedicure station and place all of my implements on a paper towel just before use. Then I take my implements to the back room to sanitize them. When they’re dry, I place them in my container, seal it, and store them for the next use. Make sure the implements are dry before sealing the container. This makes sanitation easy. I never place used items back into the container to avoid cross contamination. I also the run the container through the dishwasher often to keep it clean, even though soiled items never get placed in there.


This has become a service standard in our salon; everyone has the same container and system for sanitation. We comply with state regulations and we also take additional measures for safety and sanitation. Does your salon have a department-wide sanitation policy? If not, you may want to implement one. Make sure that everyone is following the same rules and regulations.


Take action. Your clients will notice and appreciate it. Make sure you tell your clients about your sanitation policies. They have the right to know. I guarantee they will come back knowing how important sanitation is to you and your salon.


Keeping it clean and following your state guidelines — one more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!


— Jill

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