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Is it OK to use the same cosmetic tools on different people? -4 min read-

| by Joseph Lee |

Let’s say you’re on vacation with your friends or live with many people in one household. It might not make sense to have a separate tweezer, nail clipper, or even ear picker for each and every person. But, when you go to borrow or use the same instrument that someone else was using, something about it might seem uneasy, dirty, or infectious. You don’t know if it’s from elementary education or a science class, but something about germs or uncleanliness catches your mind when you are attempting to use someone else’s hygienic tools.

So is it OK to borrow or share the same tweezers, nail clippers, and ear pickers? The answer is YES, but of course it comes with a few precautions. You always want to disinfect before using the same tools that someone else just used. There are a couple way to do this.

  • The best way to disinfect the tools is washing them with soap and water and then putting them in boiling water for a couple minutes. This method will make the tools as good as brand new in terms of cleanliness. But we all know how much of a hassle it would be to boil the tools after every use.
  • Another way that is almost as good as boiling is using rubbing alcohol or ethanol to disinfect. Just spray or dip the tool in the alcohol and let it dry. If you want to go an extra step, there is a sterilization technique in the biological research world where you dip the tool in ethanol and then hold it over a flame to kill all the bacteria. For example, if you were using a tweezer, you can dip the tips into alcohol and the hold it over a flame for 2 seconds to sterilize. This is best for metal tools but it can even be done for plastics. Make sure you cool it for a minute or two if you use the flame and be careful!
  • Just wash with soap and water. This is not a bad method but I would definitely say it is not the best either. I would use this as a last resort method because it is very hard or near impossible to reach and wash every corner of something as small as a nail clipper. Chances of you washing it completely and correctly is unlikely. But, if there is no other option, you can do this. Just make sure to dry the tools completely to avoid bacteria growth.

Is it okay to share with a person that as an infection if I disinfect? The answer is yes, but I would definitely advise against it. Let’s say your friend or family gets an ear infection but you two share the same ear picker. There would be no problem with you using the same ear picker if it is disinfected and sterilized completely. In fact, many hospitals recycle surgery tools (those really heavy, metal ones you might see in a TV show or movie) but they have a whole department, staff, and machinery dedicated to sterilizing equipment. Why I advise against you using the same tools as an infected person, even after disinfecting, is simply because you most likely do not have a machine like an autoclave to completely disinfect and sterilize. So why even risk it? I say it’s better to invest $5-10 and completely avoid the risk than to risk it and maybe end up paying a hospital bill.

Hope this answered a question you were thinking of. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for a future post, please post them down below and I’ll be sure to read them. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time!

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