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VERIFY: How Germy Are NC Nail Salons?

How germy are NC nail salons? We talked to a state inspector to verify.


Are nail salons germy? That's what a trending article claims. It lists "the 16 reasons you might want to stop getting manicures." The first reason is the risk of fungal infection due to unclean tools.

News 2 viewer Amy Hall saw that article circulating social media and asked, "Meghann (Mollerus), I ran across this on Facebook and I was actually a nail tech for over 20 years and have been out of it for that long as well. Could you confirm this (risk) is real?"


To verify our questions about germs and nail salon inspections, I talked to Connie Wilder -- the chief of enforcement at the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners. Her team inspects the 14,000 nail and hair salons in North Carolina.


Salons have to get inspected once a year, unless consumers file a complaint. If they score at least a 90, they get a license and a "Grade A." Anything below results in a lower grade and possible suspension.

They also have to follow rules.

  • Employees have to wash their hands between clients.
  • Disposable tools, like emory boards and toe separators, must be thrown away after use.
  • Only nonporous tools can be disinfected per EPA standards.
  • Inspection ratings have to be displayed where customers can see them.

That's what the salons have to do, but here's your part:

  • Choose a salon with a 90+ rating.
  • Don't get a manicure or pedicure when you have an open wound.
  • Schedule pedicures first thing in the morning when foot baths are usually cleanest.
  • Don't shave your legs right before getting a pedicure. Tiny skin nicks can get infected.


We can verify salons still get inspected at least once a year in our state and have to meet North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners standards. But, yes, it's easy for you to get a fungal infection at a nail salon if you don't take precautions.

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