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Is Your Salon Clean?

Fingers of a working staff caught by the inspector showing infectious wart &  The place where one of the salons does pedicures and foot baths.

Fingers of a working staff caught by the inspector showing infectious wart &
The place where one of the salons does pedicures and foot baths.

KUWAIT: Hygiene at local salons and spas is the responsibility of the Kuwait Municipality. With the explosion of such businesses in recent years, however, inspections rotations may mean some salons or beauty parlors aren’t visited for months or years at times.

Recently, Kuwait Times learned of a few incidents where women who visited nail salons in Kuwait became infected with fungi. This can be the result of unclean equipment or a lack of hygiene or basic cleaning procedures. According to Municipality rules, all salons are required to have a sterilizing machine on the premises that is used to clean and sterilized equipment.

Staff should be in uniform and the place should be kept clean. “During inspections, we check that all staff have a health license to ensure they are free of infectious diseases,” explained Hawiya Al-Ajmi, an inspector in the Municipality. “We also check that materials are not expired and no forbidden materials are used such as tattoo inks.” Al-Ajmi did note that sometimes the Municipality inspectors have confiscated dirty tools, not only for nails but also combs and brushes and other salon equipment. But in a random sample of salons, nail spas and other beauty parlors, Kuwait Times found that some salons have not received an inspection in more than a year.

Others noted that they are checked every few months. There also seems to be no one set procedure for ensuring the cleanliness and sterility of nail or salon equipment. At a salon in Jabriya, this reporter was shown a washer used for sterilizing manicure and pedicure tools and equipment. “We use each tool for one customer only. We collect them and at the end of the day or the next day morning we clean them with Dettol and then we put them in the machine for disinfection,” said Maryline, a staff member of the salon. The use of a household cleaning product is worrying.

At another Jabriya salon, staff employee Mona explained that rather than washing and sterilizing equipment, her salon uses only disposable tools. “Our customers have peace of mind as they open each tool there itself and throw it in the trash after using. We don’t bother cleaning or sterilizing the tools, this way is much easier,” she explained. One salon in Salmiya didn’t have the sterilizing machine.

The staff working there noted they clean the tools after each customer with Dettol and boiled water, which they consider a satisfying disinfection. “I think our cleaning procedure is fine, and we never have any complaints from customers,” said one staff member who asked her name not be used. All the salons visited invited this reporter to bring her own manicure and pedicure tools if she doubted the cleanliness of their equipment.

Cleanliness, however, isn’t guaranteed. One salon regular noted that her favorite salon is clean whenever the owner is present but that staff are sometimes less careful when the owner is away. “Once I went to the salon for my manicure and pedicure, and the lady who does that brought me a dirty towel to dry my feet with,” said Noha, a salon patron. “I shouted at her so she changed it and this situation happened when the owner was not there.

Even though the staff has orders to follow for hygiene, they may be less careful when not watched,” she pointed out. Checking on the cleanliness of a salon, then, becomes the responsibility of the patron.

By Nawara Fattahova

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This article was published on 19/01/2014