Your relaxing pedicure could turn into a nightmare

With pedicure season just around the corner, we wanted to take the time to let you know that when it comes to pedicures, not all spas are created equal. While you’re sitting back, relaxing in the massage chair as an aesthetician paints your toes one of the colors from the newest spring collection, what’s happening in the pedicure tub and on the instruments being used can be scary.

Not having your pedicure performed at a sanitary establishment that meets the standards set by the Region of Peel Health Department or the International Pedicure Association puts you at risk for developing bacterial, viral and fungal infections.

Pedicure tubs present ideal conditions for the transmission of fungal infections.

In combination with warm, damp conditions, pedicure chair piping can trap hair, skin and other bits of debris encouraging the transmission of toenail fungus, warts and furunculosis; or recurring boils.

In order to prevent the spread of infection, foot baths should be cleaned and disinfected between each client, as well as at the end of each day. Although they are not found in many spas, pipe- less pedicure chairs are ideal and greatly work to eliminate this problem.

Contaminated spa instruments are also a culprit

If the instruments aren’t being cleaned properly, they can pass along serious blood-related diseases such as Hepatitis C. Thorough washing of all instruments with soap and water followed by immersing them in a disinfectant solution must be done after every client.

Common Error: While a spa may follow the correct sanitation process, they may not store their equipment properly. Sanitizing instruments is important, however, the sanitation process is not effective if the clean instruments are then stored in a dirty drawer or container.

Anything used in a pedicure service that is not metal, such as wooden sticks, nail buffers or gloves are categorized as “single use” items and should be disposed of after every client or given to the client for at-home use.

A spa manager’s responsibility.

Salon owners and managers are responsible for ensuring their staff members understand and properly follow the cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing procedures for the Country in which they operate.

Common Error: Some spas have unlicensed employees or, employees that haven’t been properly trained working as aestheticians or nail technicians. Before booking an appointment feel free to ask about employee licensing and training logs. Spa managers should have these records on-hand at the spa.

The Checklist

So, when it’s time for your next pedicure and you’re looking for a spa, keep this checklist top-of-mind:

  • Do the pedicure areas, whirlpools and overall spa look clean?
  • Do the nail technicians/pedicurists have their licenses?
  • Have your feet been examined and health questions asked before the pedicure?
  • Do the instruments look clean and have they been disinfected?
  • Are single-use items disposed of or given to you after the pedicure?
  • Are proper tools being used?
  • Are drill bits disinfected?
  • Does the spa have adequate ventilation?
  • Is a laundered towel or new disposable towel used on each client?

Other than research, what can you do to prevent the spread of infection during your pedicure?

  • Do not shave or wax your legs for 48 hours prior to your pedicure. Shaving or waxing may leave small nicks or open pores on the skin which allow bacteria to easily enter during the soaking process.
  • Do not have a pedicure if you have any open wounds on your legs or feet.
  • Ask that your pedicurist wear gloves during your treatment both for their protection, as well as your own.

Remember, the cost of your pedicure goes far beyond the service being performed. Your total at the register includes: covering the cost of the materials being used as well as labor. This involves; preparation of the work space, initial cleaning and disinfecting of materials, performing the pedicure service and tear down procedure which meets the strict Region of Peel Health Department requirements.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on our sanitation procedures and details! Feel free to come in for a tour of our pedicure area and ask any questions you might have.


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