Do I Need an Extraction Fan for Spray Tanning?

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An extraction fan can be a great weapon in your arsenal. As the name suggests, the fan’s purpose is to collect any excess spray tan particles and purify the air as you work. This not only provides that extra level of professionalism to your business, but also provides a nice atmosphere for you and your client to work together in.

Why should I get an extraction fan?

No matter the business, if you are working in a confined space you should make sure to have proper air flow because it is always important to maintain a clean, well-ventilated environment. That’s just basic, common sense. Another great benefit of an extraction fan is that it purifies the air; the fan pulls particles away from you and your client and into a filter, keeping it away from your eyes and your mouth.

If you are already working with an extraction fan, make sure that the filters you are using have a high MERV rating. The MERV rating system rates filters on a scale of 1 (meaning: “what filter? We don’t need no stinking filter”) to 16, which is even stronger than what hospitals use in their fans.

Generally anything greater than a MERV rating of 10 is a good filter to get for your extraction fans.

What to look for in an extraction fan

A good fan is not the same as a good extraction fan. Think about it: you’re not trying to blow the particles around like Dorothy and her tornado, you’re trying to collect them so they don’tcirculate around while your spray tanning.

Obviously your extraction fan should have a filter, but don’t get fooled into buying some over-priced system meant for industrial sandblasting (if you do need a fan that powerful please stop spray tanning your customers before they have no skin left to tan!). What you want is a fan that gently pulls falling air particles into the filter without pushing them back up into your client’s face.  

Likewise, you don’t need something that could double as a hovercraft fan. A fan should be subtly providing a gentle breeze and a clean work environment while not disturbing your client’s experience in any way.

How to use an extraction fan

You don’t want the fan blowing on your or your client.

If the fan were to be blowing at your client while you were spray tanning then the solution could potentially miss your client entirely or coat unevenly. The fan is not intended to “quick dry” your client or anything like that—all that it is meant to do is purify the air and collect any spray tan particles that are floating down to the ground.

What you want to do is set the fan up a few feet away from your work space (so that you aren’t tripping over it while your spray tanning) and point it away from your client so that the breeze is blowing away from them.

How often/How to replace a filter in an extraction fan

A filter does not really need to be changed very frequently. A general rule of thumb I tend to go by is to replace it after about 100 spray tans. Again, this is just my own preference: you may find that your filter lasts 90 spray tans or 110.

I know a salon owner whose rule is, “if I have to think about when I last changed my filter, it’s probably time to change it.” It’s not an exact science, so just change it according to how well you think it’s filtering.

Replacing a filter

Replacing a filter on an extraction fan should not be a job for a brain surgeon. Make sure you find a fan that’s easy to figure out—when I’m cleaning the window screens in my house I don’t want to have to solve some puzzle just to do what should be a simple chore—the easier it is for you, the less stressful your day will be.


Basically, you should just be able to snap open the back of the fan and exchange the filters. Simple as that. If the fan you are looking at is more complicated than that—pass it by.

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