A day at the spa can have many wonderful benefits, and getting a mani-pedi can put a little pep in your step. A trip to the day spa or nail salon is a wonderful way to treat a friend for her birthday, or spend a bride-to-be’s bridal shower. Giving yourself some you-time not only gives you a confidence boost after the fact, but it also relaxes your nerves while you’re enjoying the treatment. In fact, perhaps half the perks of going to a spa is simply relaxing, but you can’t feel relaxed if you’re worried about coming in contact with bacteria and contracting an infection. That, unfortunately, can easily happen if the business you patronize doesn’t follow proper sanitization etiquette (and law). Reading reviews online is always helpful, but you can also do an eyeball test. Here are signs your spa or nail salon isn’t sanitary.
No questions about previous treatments
Your masseuse or esthetician doesn’t talk to you before your treatment at all. She doesn’t ask if it’s okay to use this or that on your face. She doesn’t ask what previous treatments you’ve had. She doesn’t have to do this in order to do a hygienic job, but generally, businesses that have the funds to keep a place spick and span also have the funds to hire a well-educated esthetician or masseuse who would ask you about these things.
No questions about injuries
See all the above about facials and apply the same logic to getting a massage. Again, places that take care about the overall experience clients have hire massage therapists with the knowledge and dedication to ask you a bit about your health before proceeding with the services.
The turnover is too fast
You can’t believe how quickly they’re able to see you. It seems packed in there, but they’re able to see you right away. In fact, as soon as one person leaves the nail station or the massage room, you’re beckoned in. That means nobody took the time to wipe surfaces down or sanitize much.
They don’t change the sheets
Be wary of massage places that don’t change the sheets on the beds between clients. Some simply throw a new clean towel over the used sheets, but a small shift in that towel exposes you to bacteria.
It’s normal that a spa or salon has certain areas that are for staff-only, but if the staff seems to panic when you even go near these, it could be because they don’t want you stumbling upon unsanitary practices.
The bathrooms aren’t clean
If the bathrooms aren’t clean in any business—from a restaurant to a spa—then most of the facility like isn’t, either. The bathroom’s cleanliness is a representation of the entire place.
You don’t see any certifications
If a nail salon or spa has certificates to put up—certificates proving passing sanitation tests and showing that their professionals have taken certain exams—they will hang them up. So be wary of a place that has no such thing on the walls.
The staff rushes you
If the staff is in a rush—yanking your shoes off and hurrying you from room to room—that means they are likely A) underpaid and won’t work a second longer than they must and B) don’t take time to clean up.
No disinfection of tools
You should see hand sanitizer, cleaning alcoholic, disinfectant wipes, and such things all around the nail salon or spa. The presence of these means the staff makes a point to clean up regularly.
They’ll cut your calluses
In many states, know that it is against the law for a nail salon to cut your calluses. If they do this, that means they likely break other rules—like those pertaining to cleanliness.
No cleaning schedules
The spa bathrooms, Jacuzzi room, and other such areas should have cleaning schedules posted, publishing the most recent time the area was sanitized.
Double-dipping of tools
Your salon professional should never double dip a wax stick back in the wax after using it on you. An esthetician applying product to your face with a q-tip shouldn’t dip that back in a product, either.
Tools are left exposed
Tools should be kept in airtight containers. Be wary of a place that keeps tools like wax sticks and tweezers exposed, where they can collect debris and bacteria.
The sauna smells funky
If the sauna smells funky, then the business does not shut it down often enough to sanitize it and it is collecting bacteria.
The staff is paranoid
If you ask a simple question, the staff seems instantly worried and defensive. They’ve likely gotten into trouble in the past for breaking certain protocol.