Sanitation Guidelines for Salons and Nail Professionals

Sanitation Guidelines for Salons and Nail Professionals
  • Sanitation Guidelines for Salons and Nail Professionals

    With salons beginning to reopen in various locations, we’re hoping to “offer a safe hand” and help you bounce back quicker by sharing best practices around proper sanitation for you and your clients. OPI developed these reopening guidelines with hygiene and education specialists alongside CDC Cleaning Guidelines, including basic decontamination terminology, steps to ensure a safe reopening post-COVID-19, and clarification of various sanitation products and their proper usage.

    Additionally, always remember to consult your local government guidance in addition to what’s outlined below.

    For access to the sanitation guidelines below, see our full guidance.

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    1. OPI Sanitation Basics Terminology

      Basic knowledge of decontamination terminology will help you to better understand which products are best to use to ensure you provide clients with a healthy and clean environment.

      Sanitation is considered a basic level of decontamination, it reduces the number of harmful bacteria and organisms to a safe level. An example of basic sanitation is an antiseptic or sanitizing agent being applied to skin and nails. Disinfection is a more practical level of decontamination and typically applies to common implements and tools used in salon environments.

      Disinfection kills microorganisms that can cause infections on non-living surfaces (like phones, light switches, tabletops, etc.) Unlike antiseptics, disinfectants should not be used on the skin, nails, or any other part of the body.

      Lastly, is sterilization, this level of decontamination is optional for salon environments. Sterilization includes the complete destruction of all living organisms on an object, both living and non-living surfaces. While it is not possible to sterilize skin, common implements and tools can be sterilized, although this is typically reserved for medical office environments.

    2. Salon Reopening Guide: Everything You Need to Know

      Prior to reopening, there are a few steps that should be completed at least one week before welcoming clients back, starting with proper disinfection of your salon. This includes throwing out any contaminated items, cleaning soft surfaces and disinfecting all hard surfaces (especially focusing on high-touch point areas like work stations, bathrooms, and waiting areas), rearranging stations to accommodate physical distancing, staggering appointment times for clients in the coming weeks, and ensuring staff members are aware of any rotational shifts that may need to occur to limit the number of people inside the salon at one time.

      When planning to reopen, staying in communication with clients will be key! Be sure to inform them of any new procedures and reassure them of proper protocol and enhanced measures of sanitation. Once open, offer cleansing products like hand sanitizer to clients as they come in and be sure to leave extra time between clients to ensure proper sanitation after each visit. Keep porous items to single-use only, and ensure proper glove application and removal are practiced for each client as well. In order to practice optimal physical distancing, opt for contactless payments rather than cash or credit cards, wear masks while working and interacting with clients, and discontinue any practice of handshaking when clients enter the salon.

      Looking for more specific information around proper re-opening preparation and resources? We’ve developed a comprehensive guide including pointers on what to say to your clients when you get in touch with them or welcome them back.

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    3. N.A.S. 99 Nail Cleansing Solution

      Proper supply levels of common sanitation products in salon environments is essential to standard operations now, here are some common items to ensure are at a healthy supply level before reopening:

      browse salon sanitation

      OPI N.A.S. 99 -- N.A.S., or Nail Antiseptic Solution, is a 99% high-grade isopropyl alcohol liquid that can be used throughout nail services. It’s the ideal cleanser to remove excess oils and moisture for better product adhesion, as well as it works well for removing any inhibition layers. It’s also great to clean your gel brushes! Note that pure alcohols such as Isopropyl Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, or Ethanol are not the most effective germ killers. They need a certain amount of water to destroy microbial cell walls. N.A.S.99 is 99% IPA and 1% water and is not registered as an antimicrobial.

      OPI Swiss Blue -- This antibacterial liquid hand soap is a powerhouse sanitizer specifically designed for the salon professional. It’s the perfect start to every salon service since it thoroughly washes away germs and bacteria and is non-drying. It also does not contain mineral oil or lanolin which can cause premature lifting in certain services.

    4. OPI Swiss Guard

      OPI Swiss Guard -- This antiseptic handwash gel is super convenient since it sanitizes without water and kills bacteria and germs on contact.

      To assist with conversations around sanitation and sharing of products we developed the below communication:

      FAQ: Can we use any hydro alcoholic gel instead of Swiss Guard with a manicure?

      OPI Swiss Guard uses the same active ingredient in most hand sanitizers (Ethanol or Isopropyl Alcohol). OPI Swiss Guard contains slightly above 60% alcohol. Normal use of hand sanitizer should not impact OPI nail products, especially gel, hard gel, and powder (cured products with higher resistance to solvents). The solvent-based formula (NL/IS) is also stable with normal use (excessive use with large amounts on nail surfaces can impact the shine of the formula). We recommend the use of Swiss Guard during manicure services: its gel consistency works well with most services.

    5. OPI Spa Complete

      OPI Spa Complete -- a one-step, hospital grade, EPA registered disinfectant cleaner effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, fungus, mold, mildew, and their odors. It can be used to disinfect both non-porous surfaces and tools.

      COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2. OPI Spa Complete kills similar viruses and therefore can be used against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with the directions for use against Norovirus on hard, non-porous surfaces.

      browse spa complete

      Understanding the Importance of Contact Time: Contact time on labels of disinfectants must be observed in order for the disinfectant to properly work. Contact time refers to how long the disinfectant is visibly wet on the surface, this allows it to thoroughly destroy any and all pathogens. Typical contact time for immersion/sprays is 10 minutes, and for disinfectant wipes 1-2 minutes, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Disinfectant Spraying Solution: Mix 1 ounce of Spa Complete into 1 gallon of water. Apply using a spray bottle and allow to soak for 1 minute before wiping with a clean cloth or table towel.

      Foot Spa Disinfectant: ​ Scrub the bowl with soap and water and rinse completely before putting back together all parts.​ Use 1oz. of product per gallon of water to cover the intake valve or 2 inches above the highest jet.​ Start the pump to circulate the jet, and let the solution stand for 10 minutes.​ After the unit has been thoroughly disinfected, rinse all disinfected surfaces with fresh water. ​

      How to Clean Manicure Tools: Remove all visible debris using water and OPI Swiss Blue Liquid Hand Soap. ​Place cleaned tools onto a clean towel and pat dry. ​Mix 2 ounces of Spa Complete into 1 gallon of water or .5 ounce of SpaComplete into 1 quart of water.​ Make sure tools are fully submerged in the solution, and place sanitized tools in the solution for 10 minutes. ​Rinse thoroughly and pat dry before use or place in a clean container for proper storage. ​Fresh solutions must be prepared daily (or more often) if the solution becomes dirty or soiled.

    6. We hope you have a safe and successful reopening – stay in touch and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or advice @OPI_Professionals, head to our OPI Pro YouTube channel for inspiration, or visit us online to review OPI Protocol or try nail art techniques at

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