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Why & how you should remove fumes & dust from the nail space

By Guest Writer | 10 September 2020 | Expert Advice, Feature

Vodex File 1200

The team at extraction specialist company, Vodex, reveals why it’s imperative to remove fumes & dust from your workspace – and what the consequences are if you don’t…

If you work with nails, you will have experienced fumes and mess from filing and enhancement products. If you don’t wipe surfaces at the end of a busy day, you’ll see just how many fine dust particles spatter your workspace.

Now, this might only seem like a small inconvenience but nail dust and chemical fumes can be extremely bad for your health, as the fine powder from filing can enter your body through your nose, eyes and mouth.

There are two different types of dust:

  • Inhalable dust – These particles range from below 1 micron to 100 microns.
  • Respirable dust – These particles are below 10 microns and are invisible to the naked eye.

To put it into context, a single strand of human hair ranges from around 80 to 100 microns, so these dust particles are pretty tiny!

This fine dust may also contain other things, like chemicals absorbed from nail polishes or glue. And, in the case of artificial nails, there would be particles of acrylic as well.

Even though larger particles of dust generally can’t make it beyond your nose, these finer dust particles can find their way into your respiratory passage and even into your lungs.

Prolonged exposure can lead to hypersensitivity to dust (which results in difficulty in breathing), chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and even occupational asthma.

There is also the issue of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which, if they get in your air passage or your lungs, could cause an infection.

Why are chemical fumes bad for your health?

While not as visible and messy, there are a number of chemical fumes that you might be exposed to during various nail treatments. In small quantities, they may not be too bad. However, if you are in a closed room, these can build up, and prolonged exposure can lead to a number of health problems. If you experience headaches at the end of the day, these fumes might be to blame.

Over the long term, these fumes have the potential to cause miscarriages and birth defects in pregnant women, cancer, and may even affect your nervous system and internal organs.

How can you remove nail dust and fumes effectively?

While there is no way of preventing dust and fumes during nail treatments, you can protect your clients and yourself from them if you use a reputable extraction solution. In a nail salon, you can have local exhaust ventilation (LEV) accompanied by a general room purifier and dust collector as well, if required.

All fulfil important functions but you must start with local exhaust ventilation first. An LEV unit is classed as Zone 1, the most important zone within any room, your breathing zone. LEV units capture fumes and dust at source.

Room filters/general air purifiers are classed as zone 2, they should be purchased, if needed after an LEV system.

No portable or small LEV system will extract very large nail dust particles, but these don’t remain airborne for very long. As a result, you are less likely to inhale them.

What should you look for in an extraction unit?

Choosing the right extraction solution all boils down to personal preference. The needs of each tech or salon may different depending on the services provided or work rate.

However, LEV extraction solutions that remove fumes and dust at source can provide the best results. Here are some points you should be aware of when selecting the right LEV unit.

Extraction, not dust collection

When choosing an extraction solution, it is important not to limit yourself to a dust collector. A dust collector, as the name suggests, just collects dust. Whilst this might be a good thing to have in addition to extraction solutions, it does not offer complete protection.

A comprehensive extraction unit will remove the small, almost invisible, particles as well as harmful fumes from your clients’ and your breathing zones, helping to protect the air you breathe.


Airflow is the amount of air an extractor can pull in and process. For spot (or localised) extraction, airflow volume and pressure need to be quite high in order to ensure that any vapours or particles cannot escape.

A point to note here is that, since room-wide air purifiers are filtering all the air in the room, they might have a high airflow but low pressure. This is because local extraction needs to capture the fumes and dust immediately, while a room-wide air filter can take its time.


Filtration is a very important aspect of extraction. The reason for this is that the air is sucked in and cleaned before it is pumped back in the room. If the filtration system in your extractor is not capable of removing all the bad stuff, it will simply be recirculated again, making the extraction pointless.

Your extraction solution needs to have H13 high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter at the very least, along with a DeepBed carbon filter for fumes. Remember, these filters need to be replaced at appropriate times in order to remain effective!

A nail salon featuring Vodex extraction unit

Size of the unit

An air purifier unit, which is designed to filter out the air in the room, is normally much larger than a localised extraction solution. Local extractors, on the other hand, can be smaller, fitting under your work table.

You may not need a large air filter for the room, but you do need to make sure your local extractor does its job properly. As long as the unit can handle the airflow and has the appropriate filters, choosing the unit for its size should not be a problem.


Your wellbeing is something you wouldn’t put a price on, and extraction units are designed to protect your health. As they say, you get what you pay for, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

When you buy a high-quality extraction unit, it will last you and your clients for years. Cheaper units will not only need to be replaced frequently, you will also not get much protection from fumes and dust.

Do your research

Extraction is a huge business and there are many companies who are working hard to ensure that their customers remain safe. It is important to do your homework. Check out the company you’re buying from, its reputation and reviews. Look at its website with a critical eye. Does it specifically focus on fume and dust extraction, or do they offer a few units alongside other beauty products? Does it sound like they know their products?

Most importantly, does it have contact details listed? This is especially important as, if you have a problem with the unit, you should be able to get in touch with them quickly.

Meet Vodex…

Vodex Ltd provides extraction solutions for fumes and dust, supplying units to techs, salons and training colleges worldwide.

As a company, we have been passionately advocating for cleaner air in the workplace for over 35 years, and our best-selling product SalonAIR® has been making breathing safer for everyone in the industry.

Vodex Ltd also supplies the SalonAIR® unit to salons and training colleges worldwide. We designed the SalonAIR®, along with its attachments FileOWAY® and FileOTRAY® and own the trademarks with full I.P.O registered design protection rights.

These units are manufactured and in the UK, by ISO-9001 certified manufacturers. They also meet and exceed HSG258 Health & Safety Regulations – including SR13 salon guidelines.

Vodex offers a full two-year warranty on them with a UK-based technical service or repair centre, and the company regularly offers free technical advice, training seminars, as well as before- and after-sales support.

To find out more about VODEX and the products available, visit