As we begin to assemble the updates to our IST Sun is Life® section on cleaning and sanitation, you’ve got an opportunity to get your salon and staff rejuvenated right now.
Immediately, (if you haven’t already) get up-to-speed with your sanitization techniques. As a salon operator, one of your most important duties is the cleanliness of your equipment and entire facility. Complete and immediate cleaning is an absolute!
Start with your disinfectant solution. Contact your supplier for information on dilution ratios and the list of what germs/bacteria it can deter with proper usage. Remember, tanners may request to re-clean their sunbed or booth in addition to your staff’s procedures, but should never be left as the “sole” cleaner of the unit. An effective cleaner should adequately sanitize the acrylic shields, but not harm them, as an abrasive cleaner might.
Other areas that could pass a communicable disease include (but not limited to) floors, sunbed canopy and base, all handles, fans, radio and/or timer controls, door knobs, chairs, light switches, on/off buttons and pillows. Remember to replace cracked or worn pillows as they can harbor germs. Empty wastebaskets after each session and you may even sanitize the floor, as well. Always use a fresh towel to clean a sunbed – never re-use them for multiple rooms.
Let’s talk about eyewear. Currently, the FDA doesn’t mandate sanitizing it, but it must be FDA-compliant. However, your state or local government may require it. Disposable options are very popular with the re-opening of salons across the country. Check with your supplier for pricing and availability.
Now, let’s get back to re-opening your salon. Start a walk-through at the front of the salon moving to the back and review everything, not just your equipment. Create a checklist of needed cleaning/repairs and then, prepare estimated costs and time needed to contour a budget and develop a plan. 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 beneficial to establish a plan.
Let’s move on to equipment. Tanning beds and booths are “dust magnets.” The fan intakes pull in large amounts of dirt and dust that can adhere to the fan blades and impair the fan’s ability to properly circulate airflow throughout your sunbed. As many of you have learned, high ambient heat in your tanning rooms actually decreases UV output (our Sun is Life Training covers this topic), which is a significant reason to keep your systems clean. The dirt that collects can begin to slow the blades and even clog them, possibly causing the fan bearings to seize and stop the blades from turning. Disabled fans can allow heat levels that can actually warp acrylic shields or even possibly melt the pillow on the sunbed. Ouch! But, before preparing to clean and vacuum the system’s interior, MAKE SURE THAT YOU TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER!
Follow the manual for disassembly to access the interior of the system OR contact the supplier for the best method to remove or clean accumulated dust and dirt. Many salon operators will do this on an annual basis and certainly the summer after a strong busy season is a great time to gear up and knock it out.
Acrylic shields build up dust that adheres to inside surfaces and reflective material. After removing the shield, wipe it down with an appropriate cleaner. An acrylic polish can remove some surface scratches and marks and some of the static electricity that attracts dust. Although acrylics can sufficiently allow UV to pass through for several thousands of hours, you should contact the manufacturer to determine the actual “life” and maintain a usage log. Acrylics begin to solarize (yellow) as UV passes through them and over time, the yellowing can block UV light.
Sunlamps also grab dust that can block some UV transmission. Removing them and wiping them down (do not spray a cleaner onto the lamps while in the unit!) will make sure they emit the proper amount of UV for tanning – gotta keep your guests happy! Consider dirty lamps, dirty acrylics combined with the solarization described above and you clearly are not getting the optimum value of your investment.
Lastly, you may also look for loose, frayed or blackened wiring that may signal a bigger potential problem. It’s a best practice to contact your equipment supplier or a certified electrician before engaging in any electrical repairs. Properly maintained sunbeds and sunbooths can (and should) last many thousands of hours of usage.
Optimize your investment and use the summer months to get cleaning!
For more information on sanitization and equipment maintenance, visit sunislife.info.
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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