by Amy Addington

In the pet care industry, having safety measures in place is crucial for the success of the business and the wellbeing of the pets being cared for, and that includes the equipment and tools that are used on a regular basis. Through routine maintenance, effective cleaning and sanitation, quality assurance and proper storage, groomers can ensure the safety of the pets in their care while prolonging the lifespan of their equipment and tools. Here we will cover some best practices to implement.

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Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance will not only save groomers time and money, but can also prevent accidents or injuries. Already established companies, like franchises, will typically follow and enforce strict safety standards that can be implemented across all locations. This includes equipment standardization and post-installation testing to ensure equipment is working properly and to create uniform results.

Regardless, groomers should regularly inspect their tools and upgrade when the time is right based on manufacturer recommendations. Before every use, check batteries, cords and plugs for any nicks or signs of damage. For clipping specifically, periodically inspect the blade drive, hinge and lock to ensure no parts are rusted, worn or damaged. Although clippers are sealed, moisture and hair can sometimes work their way into the device. To prevent clogging, regularly lubricate, inspect and clean clippers to prevent any problems before they begin. If grooming tools have disposable components like clipper blades or grooming pads, be sure to replace them regularly.

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Cleaning and sanitizing equipment during and between grooming sessions helps minimize potential cross-contamination while eliminating germs, infections and allergens.
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Effective Cleaning and Sanitation
Groomers should establish routine cleaning schedules to ensure tools are consistently in sanitary condition. Cleaning and sanitizing equipment during and between grooming sessions helps minimize potential cross-contamination while eliminating germs, infections and allergens.

Before each session, groomers should pre-soak tools in a rust-preventive, pet-safe disinfectant and diluted water solution. From there they can use a small brush, like a toothbrush, to scrub down tools, paying special attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas to dislodge any remaining debris and ensure thorough cleaning. After soaking and scrubbing, rinsing the tools thoroughly with clean water will help to remove any residue. Allow the tools to air-dry completely before storing them, as drying prevents the growth of mold and bacteria.

For quick disinfection between sessions, use pet-safe disinfectant wipes to clean tool surfaces. This is particularly useful for scissors and shears, which may not be suitable for submersion. Aside from soaking, autoclaving and heat sterilizers can also be effective for certain tools.

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Quality Assurance

While high-quality tools may come with a steeper upfront cost, the benefits can outweigh the initial investment. Those made with superior materials and craftsmanship will lead to greater durability, therefore providing better precision and a smoother operation. Established brands also typically offer warranties and reliable customer support, which can prove invaluable in case of defects or issues with the tools down the line.

Ergonomically designed tools and equipment can help reduce strain and fatigue on the groomer’s body. For instance, restraints like grooming loops, harnesses or non-slip surfaces can be attached to tables to provide extra support during long sessions while still safely securing pets. Each aid is adjustable to fit the size of the pet and should be snug, but not tight.

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Utilizing Proper Storage
Properly storing professional grooming tools and equipment is essential for maintaining their longevity, ensuring functionality, and promoting a clean and organized business. On-the-go mobile groomers may want to invest in compact travel bags that can be easily worn or unrolled to access tools. They are specially designed with pockets made for specific items groomers use most and ensure proper storage. On the other hand, in-salon groomers should invest in a tool caddy or case with compartments to keep grooming tools organized. If there are multiple containers or cases for different types of tools, labeling them makes for easy identification and prevents them from getting damaged or lost.

For electrical grooming tools such as clippers and dryers, consider using cord organizers or Velcro straps to properly secure and organize the cords to prevent tangles. For sharp instruments like scissors, shears and clippers, blade guards and covers will protect the sharp edges of blades, preventing accidental cuts and preserving their sharpness. Lastly, store tools in a cool, dry place. Avoid areas with high humidity, as moisture can lead to rusting, especially for metal tools.

Ultimately, one of the most important parts of a groomer’s job is ensuring the health and wellbeing of the pets in their care. Whether you’re new to the industry or a veteran pro, it’s vital that businesses prioritize safety on a regular basis. Through routine maintenance, effective cleaning and sanitation, quality assurance and utilizing proper storage, groomers can effectively maximize the functionality of the equipment and tools they use—all while creating a positive and safe atmosphere for both themselves and their pet clientele.

Amy Addington has been President of Woofie’s since January 2022, and was a Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer from Woofie’s inception until then. She has been the Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Woofie’s, LLC, which merged into Woofie’s Ashburn, LLC in January 2022, since its inception in March 2004. She was also the Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Woofie’s Mobile Pet Spa Services, LLC, a position held from its inception in January 2017.