News release

June 6, 2011

Licensing urges consumers to choose safe nail salons

OLYMPIA — The sun has arrived in Washington, and while many people dust off their sandals and head to the nail salon for a pedicure, the Department of Licensing reminds consumers to choose their salons carefully so they don’t leave with more than just painted toes.

“Pedicures and manicures can be a wonderful experience if salons are properly cleaning and disinfecting their equipment, tools, implements, and foot spas,” said Liz Luce, Director of the Department of Licensing. “A trip to the nail salon shouldn’t end with a trip to the doctor’s office for an infection.”

State law requires salons to follow very strict safety and sanitation rules to protect customers from the spread of disease and infection. Salons are inspected every two years, or upon receipt of a consumer complaint. During these inspections, Licensing officials request demonstrations of how the salons clean and disinfect their foot spas and work to correct poor practices.

Luce recommends salon customers take a few common sense precautions:

  • Look at shop owner and operator licenses to make sure they are current.
  • Check the salon for overall cleanliness. Make sure there aren’t hair or nail clippings on the floor, and that work surfaces, implements, and towels are clean.
  • Ensure the operator is using clean and sanitary tools and implements — if you see residue on a drill bit or emery board, ask for clean ones.
  • Ask if the foot spa has been sanitized and disinfected before you put your feet in. You can ask to see the foot spa cleaning log they are required to keep.
  • Be sure the operator washes their hands between clients.

If you have concerns about whether or not a salon is licensed, go to the department’s website at dol.wa.gov. Consumers can file a complaint by calling 360.664.6645.

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