You might think – and more importantly clients might think – that dipping multiple sets of hands and feet into the same pool of warm paraffin every day is a less than sanitary situation. You’d be wrong.

Jim Nelson of WR Medical, makers of the Therabath Pro, explains, “Our unit keeps the wax at 128 – 130 degrees. This won’t sterilize, but it will kill most pathogens. And because there is no water present, tests show that bacteria, fungi, and viruses won’t grow.” Still, it’s important to use the unit correctly. “If you do not reuse wax and you discard the glove after each use, you won’t introduce foreign matter into the bath,” he says.

Both Nelson and Linda Wood, director of education for styling Technology, makers of the Gena Ultimate Spa Paraffin Therapy Bath, further note that the moment a hand or foot is placed in the bath, the paraffin solidities and any dead skin or pathogens are instantly encapsulated. “Hopefully techs are following sanitary procedures before the hands or feet to in, but truthfully, even if the client has a cut or sore, there’s no danger of contaminating the bath,” says Wood.

In an ideal world, the paraffin in your bath has an indefinite shelf life. But in the real world, filings, dust, and hair do manage to find their way into the unit, especially if the lid is not replaced promptly after each use.

Both companies recommend a similar cleaning process when debris does accumulate: Let the wax harden overnight. The next morning, turn the unit on briefly to warm the edges so the wax slips out. After removing the wax, wipe the inside of the unit with a household cleaner or surface antiseptic. Before placing the wax back into the unit, carefully shave off the bottom layer of the wax using a cheese slicer or a heated knife, since this is where any debris will have accumulated.


If you don’t want to wait for the wax to cool, WR Medical offers this quick-clean method that can be performed while the wax is melted.

  1. Without unplugging the unit, remove the lid.
  2. Place a plastic mitt and boot liner (or a clean plastic bag) over your hand, extending it to the elbow. With your plastic-covered hand, reach into the paraffin and remove the grille. Let the grille drip dry over the unit, and then place it on a nonporous surface, such as a countertop or on top of the upside-down lid. Allow the paraffin to remain undisturbed for a few minutes so that any stirred-up particles can resettle on the bottom.
  3. Using several folded-up, clean, lint-free paper towels, slowly wipe along the bottom and then up one end of the bath “collecting” the sediment in the paper towels. Slowly bring paper towels out of the paraffin, being careful not to let sediment drop back in. Allow the paper towels to drain over the bath until the paraffin stops dripping.
  4. Grabbing the plastic liner from the top edge, pull it over your hand, turning the liner inside-out and enclosing the paper towels within the liner. Discard the liner and paper towels.
  5. Repeat this process as necessary. Replace the grille and lid when finished. Add refill cube if necessary.

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