Whether you're a home-manicure enthusiast or you work as a nail technician for a living, it's essential to properly clean your tools. Nail and beauty tools need to be cleaned and disinfected, which are two different processes.
If you're a professional manicurist, it's likely that you took part in some training which included information on tool hygiene. If you're just a hobbyist, you might not have had any training so it's essential to do your own research.
In order to provide a safe and hygienic manicure it's important to keep on top of hygiene. Cleaning guidance has been updated and improved in the past couple of years, helping you give a more hygienic manicure than ever!
Tips for Disinfecting Nail & Beauty Tools
Nail and beauty tools get their fair share of use during a manicure. From clipping and filing nails, to pushing back cuticles or painting on nail art with a brush - tools are used every step of the way. This means they come into contact with all sorts of germs and bacteria.
Even if you keep your hands clean or wear gloves to complete the manicure, germs can spread. The truth is, germs are all around us, and for the most part that doesn't matter. When it comes to intimate procedures where contact occurs (such as beauty treatments and manicures) it increases the likelihood of spreading things like viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
Below is all the information you'll need to properly disinfect nail and beauty tools.
How Often Should Nail Care Tools Be Cleaned?
When performing a manicure (either on yourself or another person), the tools need to be clean before every use. It's best practice to clean the tools after you've finished, but some manicurists like to do it right before the manicure to ensure the tools are as clean as possible.
Certain tools aren't intended to be cleaned at all because they are designed to be single use. This means they should be discarded after use or go home with your client. Some nail files are designed to only be used on one person.
While this can increase your costs as a manicurist, some nail technicians like to factor it into the price of a manicure and send the nail file home with their client. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, you can bulk buy nail files in the UK online.
Start With Your Manicure Table
Properly cleaning your manicure table is equally as important as using clean tools. Cleaning your workspace helps prevent germs from getting on your freshly cleaned tools.
Keeping the clutter to a minimum makes sanitising the area much more straightforward. Always throw away any detritus from the previous client before you start. When the table is clear of waste, make sure you don't have any unnecessary products left out - only keep what you need.
Spray the whole area with surface disinfectant and give it a wipe down. If the area is dirty or dusty you must first clean it before using the disinfectant. This is because disinfectant works best on clean surfaces, so everything needs cleaning to allow the disinfectant to do its job.
It's also important to change the towel after every customer too. A fresh towel helps avoid cross contamination. Particles of nails and skin can get caught in the fibres of the towel, meaning they'll come into contact with the next customer if the towel isn't changed.
What is The Easiest Method of Disinfection?
When it comes to manicures, the tools are generally made from a variety of materials which means sterilisation is different for each. There will be some metal tools, some are made of glass, and others are made of mixed materials like files and brushes. The best nail files for your nails aren't made of metal, but metal files might be slightly easier to sterilise.
The easiest method of sterilisation depends on what materials you are dealing with. As a rule of thumb, buying the correct sterilising equipment will make the job easier.
Cleaning & Disinfecting Foam Nail Files
Foam nail files tend to be best for your nails, so many manicurists will favour them. They're relatively easy to clean and disinfect, but you need to be careful to avoid damage.
It is advised to rinse them under a warm tap after use to remove any debris and wash away nail residue. After that, they need to be soaked in disinfectant for at least ten minutes. After removing them from the disinfectant, you may need to blot the foam as it's quite absorbent and may retain some of the solution.
Leave the nail file to fully dry before using it again. Using the file when it's wet may damage it making it completely unusable.
Cleaning Metal Nail & Beauty Tools
Metal nail tools such as nail clippers, cuticle trimmers and some files are generally some of the easiest tools to clean. As mentioned above, washing them before you sterilise them give the best results.
It goes without saying that you can't clean your tools with dirty cleaning equipment, so the first step is to wash your hands then sanitise the brush you intend to use for cleaning. Using a scrubbing brush for the initial cleaning stage allows you to clean in any nooks and crannies and makes removing debris a lot easier.
Things like bits of nail, glue and glitter can all get stuck on on your tools, and a quick scrub will help remove them. When you've got a clean scrubbing brush, you'll need some warm soapy water to soak your tools in. Soaking the tools before scrubbing them allows you to do a really thorough job.
Once you've given the tools a scrub, you'll need to dry them before the next stage of cleaning. A paper towel or cloth is a good way to do it. After this stage is complete, you need to move on to sterilising the tools.
Disinfecting Metal Nail & Beauty Tools
Once the tools are clean and dry, it's time to disinfect them. For metal and glass tools, you should set up a tool bath (or bowl) that's intended for submerging the tools.
You can buy disinfectant that is specifically designed for manicure tools. This will come with its own instructions, but usually it is used by submerging the tools in it and leaving them to soak for at least ten minutes.
Can you Disinfect Nail Clippers from Fungus?
It's advisable to avoid treating nails suffering from fungus. This is to protect both you and the client, as fungal nails can spread quite easily.
If your tools have accidentally come into contact with fungus, they need to be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised. Using the process listed above should do the trick, but it's a good idea to take extra care. You might find using disposable cleaning tools like cotton buds easier for avoiding cross contamination since you can throw them away.
How Do You Disinfect and Sanitise Brushes?
Much like disinfecting the metal tools, it's important to clean the brushes before disinfecting them. You'll need to take extra care as some bristles can be damaged by certain chemicals, so it's always best to buy brushes designed to be used on nails for manicures. This is a great way of ensuring they won't be damaged by chemicals.
You should be cleaning your brushes after every use - not just for hygiene but to prevent damage. A gel nail polish build up can make your nail brush less effective.
You can buy brush shampoo or cleanser to remove dirt and residue from the bristles of the brush. Once the brush is clean you can dip it in rubbing alcohol to disinfect it.
Storing Your Tools
Once your tools are clean, it's important to store them appropriately. If clean tools come into contact with used tools, then you'll need to clean them again.
Not only do you need to keep them separate from the used tools, but you also need to keep them somewhere clean. Ensure your storage area is cleaned regularly and you don't add any unnecessary storage steps that could risk contamination.
It makes sense for you to keep your soiled tools in an entirely different area to your clean tools. This helps eliminate the chance of a storage error. You can do this by keeping them on different sides of the room or in different areas. Labelling the storage area for each can also help reduce the chance of a mix up.
Ensure Your Client is Clean
One of the last steps in the hygiene process is to make sure you're working on a clean client. By having a hand-washing policy you eliminate any awkwardness when you ask your client to wash. You'll also need clean towels or disposable paper towels on-hand to keep thing sanitary.
When you sit down with your client you should inspect their nails to ensure they're free of obvious fungus or infections. If their hands are healthy, spray them down with a skin-friendly disinfectant before beginning the manicure.