The death of a Ft. Worth, Texas, woman from a staph infection allegedly contracted during a pedicure has put the focus on pumice as a possible transmitter of infectious disease. While the details of her particular case remain unclear, it’s important to be aware of the rules regarding reuse of pumice and other porous foot tools in your state.

In California, pumice stones, pumice sponges, ceramic stones, lava rocks, and porous foot files are considered one-time-use items, says Marianne Light, owner of Salon Compliance Consulting and a former California State Board inspector. “These items are porous and cannot be properly disinfected. Reuse can lead to serious infections,” she says.

Light also notes that it’s not just razors (credo blades) that are prohibited for use on calluses in California. Any item whose packaging states “removes calluses” is not allowed to be used and may not even be kept on the premises. This includes rasps, metal smoothers, pumice, and any other abrasive material designed to remove calluses.

She notes further that metal instruments are only allowed for cutting, trimming, manicuring, or pedicuring the nails or cuticles — nothing else. This means that all metal pedicure instruments for the bottom and sides of the feet are prohibited. Callus-removing gels and liquids work well, says Light, provided they are used correctly and only on clients who really need them.

“I always tell my clients that they must be very careful when smoothing feet. Aggressive smoothing — which is actually removing — can be dangerous to the customer,” says Light “You cannot perform a miracle in one visit.

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