A Northwest, D.C. salon is offering a new type of "waterless" pedicure designed to sharply reduce the chance of infections that have tarnished the nail care industry.

"It's a game changer," said Carrie Dunn the owner of Varnish Lane salon in Friendship Heights.

Waterless nail care eliminates soaking hands and feet in tubs or Jacuzzis which are notoriously difficult to clean and have been linked to infections.

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Instead, Varnish Lane substitutes the water bath with cleansing oils and scrubs combined with sterilized hot towels as a substitute.

In addition, the salon steam sterilizes all metal implements and packages them in sealed sterile wraps before they are used.

"This is the same technique used in hospitals," Dunn said as she pointed out a sterilizing machine called an autoclave used by her salon. "It's all about hygiene and cleanliness."

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Eliminating soaking in water allows nails to remain firm allowing a more consistent application of polishes, Dunn says.

Dunn learned about the waterless techniques from practitioners in California.

The waterless pedicure offered at Varnish Lane costs $44.

According to Self Magazine and the Family Foot and Ankle Clinic in Austin TX, top tips for reducing the chance of infection from a pedicure include:

  1. Never allowing a nail technician to used a scalpel or blades to reduce calluses. Only emery boards and pumice stones should be used.
  2. No sharing of non-metal implements like emery boards. Insist on a new one for each use.
  3. Do not go for a foot bath pedicure after shaving your legs. Micro cuts from shaving can become easily infected.