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You’ve been running hard and fast through the spring busy season – really going at it since last January … and your salon shows it! Of course, you want those springtime tanners to like what they see when they come through your door, so now is a great time to give the facility some attention and TLC it may have been lacking.
First, I’d suggest preparing a maintenance checklist. Start from the front of the salon and work toward the back, reviewing every element. Noting the condition of the salon door(s) and windows, tanning room doors/knobs and hinges, interior walls/paint, commercial electrical and light fixtures, plumbing, and HVAC systems, carpet/flooring and other décor/furnishings is a good start. Then, determine estimated costs for repair or replacement of these items and take time to contour a budget and timetable. Review the checklist with your landlord, as some of the issues may be covered under your lease. If you own the building, all the more reason to prepare a budget. You probably won’t be able to knock out everything at once; but it’s really beneficial to establish a plan.
Next, let’s take a good look at your equipment – it may not be showing the wear and tear, but your guests may be noticing a difference in their tanning results.
Sunbeds and booths are notorious “dust magnets.” The intakes of the cooling fans pull in large amounts of dirt and dust that can cling to the fan blades, which can impair the fans’ ability to properly circulate air flow throughout the unit. Many of you have learned that as heat in the booth or bed increases, UV output actually decreases (our Sun is Life® Training covers this topic), which is a significant reason to consistently maintain your systems. Over time, the accumulated dirt can begin to slow the fan blades and even cause the fan bearings to seize. Fans that don’t turn can allow for heat levels that can actually warp an acrylic shield, or even possibly melt the sunbed pillow. Ouch! But before preparing to clean and vacuum out any system, BE SURE TO TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER!
Follow the sunbed owner’s manual for instructions to allow access to the interior of the system OR contact the supplier for the best method to remove dust and dirt accumulation. Many salon operators do this on an annual basis, and during the early summer after a strong busy season is a great time to gear up and get it done.
Acrylic shields build up dust that adheres to inside surfaces. After removing the shield, use an appropriate acrylic cleaner to wipe it down. Some operators also use an acrylic polish which can remove some surface scratches and marks, as well as some of the static electricity that attracts dust. Although acrylics can allow UV light to pass through effectively for several thousands of hours, you should contact the manufacturer to determine the actual “life” and maintain a usage log. Acrylics begin to solarize (cloud) or “yellow” as UV passes through them and over time, that clouding can block UV light transmission to the tanner. Clean equipment delivers better tanning results and makes for happy salon guests!
Lamps also attract dust that can block small amounts of UV output. Removing lamps from the unit and wiping them down (do not spray a cleaner onto the lamps while in the unit!) is a great way to make sure they emit the proper amount of UV. Consider dirty lamps and acrylics combined with the solarization described above, and you clearly are not getting the optimum value for your equipment investment.
Lastly, look for loose, frayed or blackened wiring to the units that may be a “heads up” to a bigger potential problem. It’s a best practice to contact your equipment supplier or a certified electrician before engaging in any electrical repairs.
A properly maintained sunbed or booth can (and should) deliver many thousands of hours of use. Plan to dedicate time during the summer months to get cleaning done that prolongs the life of your tanning systems and keeps your salon guests happy!
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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