There is a specific protocol in cleaning your electric file bits so you can offer a sanitary nail service when using your electric file. You should treat your bits the same as your metal implements and adopt the same procedures for sanitation and disinfection.

It’s very important that you do not use the same bit on more than one client without disinfecting it prior to the service or throwing it away if it is a one-use-only bit like a sanding band.

Step 1
Start by removing all dust and artificial nail products, such as acrylic, from the bit with a wire or clean nylon nail brush. If there is any remaining product debris in the bit, soak it in acetone for several minutes. Then, brush the bit again. Remember that gels do not soften in acetone so it’s important to brush any gel debris out of the bit.

Step 2
With a nylon nail brush, wash the bits with warm soapy water and rinse well. The sanitation part of the disinfection process is to clean the bit first.

Step 3
Submerge the bits into the Ultrasonic Disinfection Unit making sure the EPA-registered disinfection solution is mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which you will find on the actual bottle. Pre-mixing the solution properly will give you the best results. Don’t assume that a more concentrated solution is better. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It is also important that any bits you place into the solution are clean, not dirty ones.

The entire bit, shank and all, must be completely submerged under the level of liquid for disinfection. Close the lid on the Ultrasonic Disinfection Unit and switch it to the ON position. Bits should remain in the solution per your state board required time. Do not leave the bits in the disinfection solution any longer than the required time, or else they may rust. If they do happen to rust, replace the bit with a new one.

Step 4
Remove the bits from the disinfectant, rinse and dry well with a clean towel. Do not insert a wet bit into the shank of your handpiece as it will corrode the inside of the collet and cause problems.

Step 5
Store the clean bits in a dust- free closed container marked: “Disinfected”

NOTE: Acetone is not a recognized EPA-registered disinfectant and DOES NOT disinfect the bits when soaked in acetone.

Editor’s Note: Three printable handouts available here include NAILS' State-by-State Guide to Disinfection Regulations, NAILS' Salon Safety Guidelines for Nail Technicians and the Foot Spa Cleaning Guidelines for Nail Technicians.

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