Keeping grooming equipment up to date will not only save time and money, it will also prevent accidents.
November’s grooming column dealt with purchasing grooming equipment, especially the more expensive items. But how does a groomer ensure that their investment will last as long as possible? It’ll take a little work, but the answer is easy: maintain it. Every piece of equipment in a salon, whether high-end or semi-disposable, can have a longer life span and serve a shop better if it is cared for according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Most dryers have filters. These should be thoroughly vacuumed on a daily basis to prevent hair from entering the motor, and they should also be washed weekly or monthly. If there is no foam-type filter, vacuum the air intake at least once a day. This one easy piece of maintenance can save money, as dryers will perform better.
Many dryers have carbon brushes. Check or replace these according to recommendations, which vary. If the care and maintenance information does not come with the dryer, contact the manufacturer.
Clean and wipe metal tubs dry at the end of each day to reduce the possibility of rusting. Check with manufacturers on what to use–many disinfectants and bleach, even diluted, can be corrosive. Avoid dripping and leaks; a ball valve fitting is a good choice for grooming shop plumbing.
Keep cages dry. If a pet soils a cage, clean it immediately and dry the cage well. While vital for metal cages and any sort of board construction, it’s a good idea for reducing odor even if cages are fiberglass and impervious to liquid. Check latches often to make sure they close easily and securely, and replace if necessary.
When cleaning/disinfecting tabletops, do not get them overly wet, and only leave liquid on them for the necessary contact time. When drying dogs, have a towel on the table. Not only will a towel absorb water from the dog, helping to dry feet faster, it will keep water from getting under the mat surface (most tabletops are some type of wood underneath and will not do well with moisture). Avoid aiming dryers directly at the table for too long, or at too high a heat, as tops are usually glued on and the heat will cause “bubbles” in the mat material.
On electric and hydraulic tables, vacuum hair from the lift mechanism as often as possible. Hydraulics may benefit from an occasional application of light spray oil, such as WD-40.
Empty and clean out shop vacs or clipper vacuum systems-every single day. I can’t think of much that smells nastier than a vacuum that’s developed an odor. Clean any filters. If it does get a bad smell, replace the filter and clean the canister, hose and wand. Some groomers keep scented potpourri bags nearby. They smell nice and can help repel pests.
Replace the drive mechanism as directed by the manufacturer. Replace carbon brushes (if accessible) as needed. Oil the blades frequently, allowing the clipper to do less work.
Electric cords on tables, dryers, clippers, vacuums or anything else should be checked regularly for damage and replaced if necessary.
And don’t forget the smaller equipment items. Check shop leads for frays; combs and dematters for loose or bent teeth; snap-on comb attachments for dirt or hair oil build-up; and blades for broken teeth. As for brushes, get in the habit of throwing them out. Pins bend and soften, which means someone may need to brush twice as many strokes to achieve the same result–a waste of time, energy, the dog’s skin and a groomers’ precious hands. Slicker brushes end up with the side pins bent out, more likely to snag the dog’s skin or cause brush burn.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Formerly a pet product expert for PetEdge, she and her husband Glenn now own Two Canines Pet Services in Montville, Maine, which provides grooming, boarding, training and day care services to Waldo County.