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Unsanitary Conditions At Salons Put Patrons At Risk For Developing Infections & Injuries

beauty salonBeauty and cosmetology treatments should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience.  However, some salons and spas operate in unsanitary conditions, which could put you and your health at risk.  
Thankfully many states have implemented laws to help keep us safe.
For example, in Illinois, cosmetology services are regulated under the Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Act of 1985 (225 ILCS 410).  The Act is intended to protect public health, safety, and welfare by licensing cosmetology services providers and their facilities.  
The Illinois Department of Public Health – Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) is responsible for licensing cosmetology professions.  The Illinois Administrative Code sets for the Sanitary Standards (Section 1175.115) for the Act.   The Sanitary Requirements include:

  • Washing hands before and after each patron
  • Sanitizing tools and instruments before and after each patron
  • Cleaning non-disposable manicure tools with hospital grade disinfectant
  • Disinfecting manicure tables with antibacterial disinfectant
  • Using clean towels for each patron
  • Keep dirty towels in a covered container
  • Sanitizing shampoo bowls after each use
  • Keep hair swept from the floor in a covered container
  • Keep clean towels in a covered or closed space
  • No animals are permitted, except those for the physically impaired
  • Clean floors, walls, and furniture
  • Proper disposal of unused products/packaging
  • Proper disposal of hazardous materials
  • The manager/owner may not knowingly allow a person with a serious communicable disease to work on the premises
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Adequate cold/hot water

Pedicures have additional Equipments Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures:

  • After each client: drain water from foot spa or basin, clean interior surfaces with soap or detergent, rinse clean, disinfect by spraying interior with an EPA-registered disinfectant or a 10% bleach solution, and wipe dry
  • At the end of the day, after the last client: clean the spa/basin as outlined above, clean debris from whirlpool basin, clean screen in EPA-registered disinfectant/10% bleach solution, fill basin with warm water and soap and run system for 5 minutes to flush system, rinse, and drain
  • Once every week: clean the spa/basin as outlined in the procedures at the end of the day, fill basin with cold water and a water/bleach mixture to capacity (1 Tablespoon of 5.25% bleach for every gallon of water), run system for 5-10 minutes, let solution sit overnight at least 6-10 hours), drain solution, fill basin with clean water and run system to flush it out.
  • Keep a log of the last 90 days with the date and time of the weekly cleaning and disinfecting
A 20/20 investigation showed that many nail salons are operating in unsanitary conditions, which can cause severe infections.  Twenty-seven discount salons that were tested had possible disease-causing bacteria and fungi.  20/20 investigators went to manicure stations in California, Dallas, Phoenix, Boston, and Houston.  

Almost all of the manicure stations they visited tested positive tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria.  Dr. Shelly Sekula-Rodriguez, a doctor hired to assist with investigation and an expert in salon-related infections, said that one problem could be that almost half of all nail technicians are immigrants who speak English as a second language.  So, some of them might be unable to read the labels on the disinfectant because it is in English.  There is also pressure at discount salons to offer low prices, which can lead to less skilled employees and lower quality or diluted disinfectants.  

There are steps you can take to ensure that your salon is safe:

  • Look for the salon’s license
  • Check to make sure the salon is clean and free of debris/dirt
  • Check the drains and sinks for hair and debris
  • Check how the equipment and tools are cleaned between uses
  • Ask about how the pedicure spas are sanitized
  • Look for an autoclave at a nail salon (has a blue light inside)
  • You can even bring your own nail polish and tools to a salon
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents men, women and children who have suffered an injury due to improperly maintained salons and unsanitary procedures. Our lawyers are are avaiable day and night to discuss your case and legal rights. (888) 424-5757
Special thanks to Heather Keil, J.D. for her assistance with this Child Injury Laws Blog.

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