Tips for a Safe Salon Pedicure

Things to Check

Do you feel the need for some rest, relaxation and a little pampering? A visit to a pedicure salon may be on your list of things to do. If so, you need to read the following tips before you go.

Bring Your Own Instruments

Woman getting pedicure
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This will help decrease the risk of catching viruses, bacteria, and fungus. Things to bring include a nail nipper, cuticle nipper, cuticle pusher, and curette cleaner.

Ask About Instrument Cleaning

Does the salon sterilize their instruments or do they just disinfect? Sterilization of instruments by autoclaving is the better choice. You may want to ask them about their procedures before you book your appointment.

Ask What Type of Foot Bath Is Used

Usually, the whirlpool foot bath is either piped or pipe-free. It is thought that pipe-free is better because piped whirlpool foot baths have been found to contain bacteria in their pipes, jets, and water filtration systems. The pipe-free whirlpool foot baths can easily be removed for cleaning. If the foot bath uses a liner, make sure that a new liner is being used each time.

Ask If Disposable Items Are Used Only Once

Items such as nail files, foot files, buffers, and toe separators should be used only once. You may want to consider bringing your own disposable items with you.

Make Sure Technician's Hands Are Clean

The nail technician should wash her hands in between clients. If she does not wash her hands, request that she does or that she wears gloves. Be cautious of a technician with fake (artificial) fingernails. It is hard to clean the area between the fake fingernail and the real fingernail, so that may be a source of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Ask If the Salon and Technician Are Licensed

The salon and technician should both be licensed by their state governing board, usually the board of cosmetology. The licenses should be clearly displayed at the salon. The amount of training varies by state, but licensure ensures the practitioner has learned the basics of nail care, health, and safety.

Don't Shave Your Legs 24 Hours Before Your Appointment

Nicks and cuts from shaving create small openings in the skin where bacteria can enter. If you have any open sores, wait until they heal before getting a pedicure.

Tell Technician Your Medical Conditions and Medications

Certain medical conditions and medications can increase the risk of infection. Examples include ​diabetes, lymphedema, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), neuropathy, HIV, and autoimmune diseases like lupus. Examples of medications include chemotherapy agents and blood thinners such as coumadin.

Check If the Salon Is Clean

The salon itself should be clean and well kept. This is usually a good indicator of how well they take care of their instruments and other salon equipment.

You Should Have No Pain

Getting a pedicure at the salon should not be a painful experience. Just like any business, there are good salons and not so good salons. Find a pedicure salon that follows strict sterilization procedures and find a technician who does not cause pain or bleeding.


Manicure and Pedicure Safety. American Academy of Dermatology.