A pipeless pedicure refers to a specific type of spa equipment that gives the customer a foot bath. Instead of the water being piped in and out, the water is fully replaced between each use. Pipeless pedicure bowls and foot baths were developed in response to more stringent health guidelines for spas.
Many salons offer foot baths as part of a pedicure. The customer immerses their feet in a shallow bowl where water jets massage the feet for a relaxing and pleasurable sensation. Oil or salts can also be added to the water to soothe and condition the skin.
When a foot bath is over, skin oils, dead skin cells, and hair are left in the bowl. This makes the water unsanitary, so the bowl must be cleaned and sanitized between each use. The pipes that carry water from the pedicure bowl, as well as from the water jets, also need to be cleaned periodically. This can be a messy and time-consuming process for salons. Many manufacturers of pipeless pedicure equipment claim that some salons do not perform this task properly, leading to unsanitary conditions.
Instead, a pipeless pedicure may only have a single pipe, which allows fresh water to flow into the bowl. The water jets move the water within the closed bowl, instead of pumping more in. The bowl is then removed for cleaning and sanitizing, a much easier task than cleaning out pipes. In some models, the water jet mechanisms are also easily removed for cleaning.
Another touted benefit of pipless pedicure equipment is a quieter operation, as the absence of pumps and blowers decreases noise. This allows for a more soothing spa experience. However, the amount of noise any type of equipment will make varies by the manufacturer's guidelines.
In high-end salons, there is often a pipless pedicure chair. The chair in which the customer sits is padded and cushioned and has a stand on which the pedicure bowl can be placed. After the pedicure is finished, the bowl is removed for cleaning. Many salon chairs also can massage the customer, or provide heated seats to soothe the legs, shoulders, and back while the pedicure is being performed.
Another kind of pipeless pedicure is just a simple bowl. It is a freestanding basin which can be filled at a sink, then placed on the floor for a pedicure. A customer can also immerse their hands in the bowl for a manicure. These bowls may or may not not have jets. Some of these types of portable spa equipment have been marketed for private use.