Recommended Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures for Foot Spa Basins in Salons
This page provides information for salon owners, operators, and workers about disinfecting pedicure foot spa equipment. Information for salon foot spa customers.
This page contains:
- Customer precautions - protecting the client
- Step by step instructions for disinfecting pedicure foot spa equipment
- Label information on disinfectant products
- Important Additional Measures
- Related information - links to CDC, Nail salons, and state information (where available)
- Check the condition of the client's feet and legs: If open sores or skin wounds are present (including insect bites, scratches, scabbed-over wounds, or any condition that weakens the skin barrier), explain to the client why they should not use the foot bath.
- Complete pedicure or wax after the foot bath soak: Any procedure that risks damage to a client's skin should not be done before soaking feet in the foot spa basin.
After Each Client: (this can take place any time after the client's feet are out of the footbath, while feet are massaged, toes are painted, or other opportunities)
- Drain the water from the foot spa basin or bowl and remove any visible debris.
- Clean the surfaces of the foot spa with soap or detergent, rinse with clean water, and drain.
- After cleaning, disinfect* the surfaces with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant (for description) according to the manufacturer's directions on the label. Surfaces must remain wet with the disinfectant for 10 minutes or the time stated on the label, which may be shorter.
* For whirlpool foot spas, air-jet basins, "pipe-less" foot spas, and other circulating spas: It is best to disinfect by filling the basin with clean water, adding the appropriate amount of liquid disinfectant, and turning the unit on to circulate the disinfectant for the entire contact time.
- After disinfection, drain and rinse with clean water.
- For whirlpool foot spas, air-jet basins, "pipe-less" foot spas, and other circulating spas:
- Remove the filter screen, inlet jets, and all other removable parts from the basin and clean out any debris trapped behind or in them.
- Using a brush, scrub these parts with soap or disinfectant (following cleaning directions).
- Rinse the removed parts with clean water and place them back into the basin apparatus.
- Fill the basin with clean water and add an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant, following label directions. Turn the unit on and circulate the system with the liquid for 10 minutes, or the label-indicated time if different. (The whirlpool mechanism of the tub must be operating for the entire disinfection period so the piping and internal components that contain hidden bacteria are disinfected.)
- After disinfection, drain, rinse, and air dry.
- For simple basins (no circulation):
- Drain the basin and remove any visible debris.
- Scrub the bowl with a clean brush and soap or disinfectant (following cleaning directions). Rinse and drain.
- Disinfect basin surfaces with and EPA-registered hospital disinfectant, following manufacturer's instructions. Surfaces must remain wet with the disinfectant for 10 minutes or the contact time stated on the label.
- Drain the basin, rinse with clean water, and let air-dry.
The label should clearly state that the product is a hospital or medical disinfectant. It may also list the following organisms:
Salmonella enterica (formerly S. choleraesuis)
The product label should clearly identify an EPA Registration Number.
The label will also specify use sites that are health care related.
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
- Follow your state guidelines and regulations: Some states require a weekly flush of the whirlpool mechanism with bleach and that the bleach remain in contact for over eight hours. Salons should consult state cosmetology regulations to make sure they are in compliance.
- Read all labels and instruction manuals: Always follow label directions for disinfectant products, and consult operating manuals for foot spa basins. Care should be taken to use appropriate doses of products to prevent damage to foot spas.
- Know the condition of your equipment: If your whirlpool foot spa has not been regularly cleaned and disinfected, you may need to do more than just the maintenance steps listed above to remove bacterial buildup from the system. Consult the foot spa manufacturer for further information. A higher level EPA-registered disinfectant, such as those labeled "Tuberculocides," may be used initially (refer to the listing of these products on the List B: EPA Registered Tuberculocide Products Effective Against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (PDF) (33 pp, 167.1 KB) ) . Once the system has been adequately disinfected, regular maintenance with cleaning and use of a hospital disinfectant, as described in this document, may be used.
General information related to foot spa health concerns, regulations, usage, and maintenance from private organizations, state, and federal agencies.
- Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC study on Mycobacteria in Nail Salon Foot baths
- Pollution Prevention Practices for Nail Salons - A Guide to Protect Health of Nail Salon Workers (PDF) (21 pp, 1.0 MB, about PDF) and their Working Environment
- More Information on Pedicure Spas
- Cleaning & Disinfecting Procedures for Pedicure Equipment (PDF) (4 pp, 122 k) - International Nail Technicians Association® and Nail Manufacturers Council of the Professional Beauty Association Co-Brand Nail Technician
- State Specific Information
- Arizona - Cosmetology Regulations
- California - Whirlpool Footspa Safety Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 86 KB)
- Colorado - Barber and Cosmetology Licensure Document, 'Clean Those Footbaths!' (PDF) (1 pg, 134.7 KB)
- Illinois - Salon Safety Rules News Brief
- Texas - Foot Spa Precautions
- Washington - Consumer Notice: Skin Infection and Whirlpool Footbaths (PDF) (2 pp, 17.3 KB)