Fingernail Hygiene for Massage Therapists & Personal Care Services Providers

Fingernail Hygiene for Massage Therapists & Personal Care Services Providers

By: Selena Belisle, Owner/Instructor CE Institute LLC, Miami FL

Nail Hygiene Tips for Massage Therapists & Personal Care Service Providers[i]

Appropriate hand hygiene includes diligent cleaning and trimming of fingernails.  Fingernails can harbor dirt and germs that can contribute to the spread of infection. Fingernails should be kept short, and if there is room to scrape underneath the fingernail, then it should be cleaned frequently with soap and water.  Longer fingernails can harbor more dirt and bacteria than short nails, thus a larger chance of harboring harmful germs which could contribute to the spread of infection.

Before clipping or grooming nails, all equipment (for example, nail clippers and files) should be properly cleaned. Sterilizing equipment before use is especially important when nail tools are shared among a number of people, as is common in commercial nail salons.

Infections of the fingernails are often characterized by swelling of the surrounding skin, pain in the surrounding area, or thickening of the nail. In some cases, these infections may be serious and need to be treated by a physician.

To help prevent the spread of germs and nail infections:

  • Keep nails short and trim them often.
  • Scrub the underside of nails with soap and water (or a nail brush) every time you wash your hands.
  • Clean any personal nail grooming tools before use.
  • Ensure nail salons sterilize tools prior to use if you have them trimmed at a nail salon.
  • Avoid biting or chewing nails.
  • Avoid cutting cuticles, as they act as barriers to prevent infection.
  • Never rip or bite a hangnail. Instead, clip it with a clean, sanitized nail trimmer.


Author Selena Belisle is the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL.  She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage therapy for over 30 years.  Selena is an approved CE Provider with NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Massage.  She now teaches full time for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at

[i] National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Water, Sanitation & Environmentally-Related Hygiene.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  30 Dec. 2009,

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