1. Unlicensed activity. Most of the state board officials we talked to said it is not uncommon to visit a salon and find employees who have no licenses. In some cases, inspectors have found employees working with fraudulent licenses.

2. Not properly labeling all instruments as disinfected or soiled. Once an implement, such as a cuticle pusher, has been disinfected, it should be stored in a clean, covered area that is clearly labeled as such. Soiled instruments should be placed in receptacles that clearly state the items inside are dirty.

3. Failure to display required documents. A salon license should be displayed near the front entrance. A personal license should be displayed at a person’s workstation.

4. Not distinctly and correctly labeling all containers to disclose their contents. A container filled with cotton balls should clearly say “Cotton Balls” somewhere on the container, for example.

5. Contaminated cosmetic preparations such as powder, liquid, wax, etc. California’s rules and regulations, for example, state that any cosmetic preparation that is to be used on a client should be removed from its container in a way that it does not contaminate the remaining portion.

6. Using instruments from a soiled container on a client. Not only does it make you look unprofessional, it’s also not sanitary to use instruments on a client that have been sitting in a dirty container.

7. Not immediately disposing of disposable instruments and supplies that have been used in direct contact with a client. Items such as cotton pads, sponges, nail files that cannot be disinfected, or neck strips should be discarded after being used on a single client.

8. Instruments not totally immersed in disinfection. Implements that can be disinfected, including nippers and nail clippers, must be placed completely in a disinfecting solution.

9. Not washing hands immediately before a service. Before you begin any service it’s important to wash your hands with either soap and water or any other effective cleansing agent.

10. Improper cleaning and disinfection of whirlpool foot spas. Many states have implemented cleaning and disinfection guidelines for whirlpool foot spas. In addition, many whirlpool foot spa manufacturers have come out with pedicure thrones that make it easy to keep them clean.

11. Disinfectant not clean or covered. Your disinfectant solution should be covered at all times and be changed at least once per week or whenever it becomes visibly cloudy or dirty.

12. Improper disinfection of non-electric and electric instruments. In California, non-electrical instruments, such as cuticle pushers and metal nail files, must first be cleaned with soap or detergent and water. Then they should be placed in a bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal activity and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Electric instruments, like a hair clipper, must first have all foreign matter removed before being disinfected with an EPA-registered disinfectant with demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal activity and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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