The Ultimate Sauna Guide [Quick Etiquette Hacks!]

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Written By Lalabrothers

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When you visit a sauna for the first time, you might have many questions. What is the etiquette? Should you wear something or is it okay to be naked? How hot does it get? How long should you stay? What should you do? The proper way to use a sauna can vary by country, but there are some common rules. Whether at a gym or spa, and no matter if it’s located in a busy city or a quiet retreat, the main thing is to be respectful and clean.

Before entering, take a shower. This is both respectful to others and helps you clean off any sweat or dirt. In many places, it’s normal to go into a sauna naked, but always check the local rules. In some countries or at certain gyms or spas, you might need to wear a swimsuit or a towel. The sauna is usually quite hot, and how long you stay can depend on how comfortable you feel. Start with a few minutes and then gradually increase your time. Always listen to your body.

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Remember, etiquette in the sauna is about making sure everyone has a good, clean, and comfortable experience. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a regular, following these simple guidelines helps ensure a pleasant visit for you and others.

Breaking Down Proper Sauna Etiquette Guidelines

When you enter saunas, you’re stepping into small room where the air is hot and the sweat is real. These enclosed, heated rooms are more than just spaces to relax; they’re part of cultural traditions in many parts of the world. If you’re on a world tour exploring sauna traditions, remember, it’s not just about the heat. It’s about respecting the etiquette that comes with it. This proper etiquette is key to maximizing the potential of these boxes to develop a healthier mind and body.

The rules might seem counterintuitive at first, but they’re there to enhance your sauna experience. There are lists of do’s and don’ts that help keep the environment clean and respectful for everyone. Knowing these can turn a simple visit into an enriching activity. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned sauna goer, remember, it’s all about maximizing the potential of the space and being respectful of the cultural traditions you’re participating in.

The 22 Rules of Proper Sauna Etiquette

1. Don’t Use the Sauna if…

Going to a sauna is a nice way to relax. But, you must remember some rules for safety. If you’re sick, better not go. It stops germs from spreading. If you have a medical condition, be careful. The heat may not be good for you. Feeling dehydrated? The sauna could make it worse. Better to drink water. Intoxicated? Stay out, especially if you’ve had beer. It’s risky. In Finland, saunas are important. Even there, everyone sticks to these safety tips.

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2. Shower First: Keep the Sauna Clean for Everyone!

Before you enter the sauna, it’s important to rinse off. Taking a shower washes away any filth and makes sure you’re clean. This rule is key in places like gyms and spas. When you sit down, you want to be sure you’re not bringing dirt with you. It’s about being respectful to the space and others around you. So, always remember to shower before stepping into the sauna.

3. Dress Right for the Sauna: Know the Code!

The Ultimate Sauna Guide [Quick Etiquette Hacks!]
Source of image: Shutterstock
In Finland, going to the sauna in the buff is part of the culture. But in the States, public nudity in saunas at public gyms might make friends feel uncomfortable. So, people often wear gym shorts, swim trunks, or at least have a towel around their waist. Every spa or gym has its own rules about wearing clothes. It’s all about following the dress code. Some places say yes to a clean swimsuit, but no to workout clothes. It’s about being respectful to the prevailing mores of that particular spa or gym. Etiquette often prohibits certain things, so it’s key to know what’s expected before you go sauna-ing.

4. Sauna: Enter and Leave Quickly, Stay Calm

When you enter and exit the sauna, do it quickly. Heat and cold are like the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. You want to minimize the time the door stays open so not too much hot air can escape. If someone opens the door and steps in slowly or starts a conversation, it’s not just annoying; it blocks people, makes the floor wet and slippery, and can be a safety risk. Don’t be that guy. When you come and go, give the door an extra tug to make sure it completely closes. Keeping it quiet helps everyone stay relaxing. Making a ruckus can really kill the vibe. Remember, the goal is not to rush and run or slip; it’s about being considerate while maintaining good steam room etiquette.

5. Use a towel.

The Ultimate Sauna Guide [Quick Etiquette Hacks!]
Source of image: Shutterstock
In the sauna, whether you’re in shorts, in the buff, or any other wear, always bring a towel. It’s key to sit or lie down on it. This is both hygienic and more comfortable. A towel acts as a buffer between your skin and the hot wood. It helps in sponging up any dripping sweat and keeps the seat cover clean for the next person. It’s good protocol and benefits everyone. By placing a towel down, you make sure nothing unpleasant is left behind by a previous occupant. A quality towel, like those made from 100% linen by Auroom, not only absorbs moisture but also prevents it from seeping into the bench or seating arrangement. It can elevate your stay in the sauna to be quick, dry, and comfortable..

7. Be Aware of Your Session Length

One tricky thing about sauna etiquette is figuring out how long to stay. This is an important courtesy tip. You shouldn’t limit the fun for others. Saunas are usually small, and others might be waiting for their turn. Not everyone has the time to just stand around. Folks have work and home life. Counting seconds loudly is not nice. Avoid bringing noisy accessories. A quiet sand timer is a good idea. It shows how long you’ve been inside without making any sound.

8. Sauna Protocols: What Not to Do

For sauna enthusiasts, it’s poor form to forget being respectful. Not all people want to share space with jerks who get too caught up in the moment and forget how to behave. Losing focus on natural and preventative steps to ensure a good visit can make others stay less enjoyable. Always remind yourself of the items on the list of what not to do. Being on the vanguard of good manners means never getting those annoyed looks that say you break the code of conduct.

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9. No Strong Fragrances

A common infraction people commit is to head straight to the sauna after work, still wearing their cologne or perfume. These might be adequate for an office space, but it’s best to avoid strong smells in a sauna. Even deodorant can become an issue if it has a strong scent. Unpleasant body odor is one thing, but in the steam and heat, these artificial scents can amplify and hang around, filling the confined space. It can stink, and not just from primarily body odor. Practice good hygiene, shower off any sweaty residue from your day to prevent emitting a mess that could mess up someone else’s session

10. Don’t Talk too Loudly or Disturb Other People in the Sauna

When people go to the sauna, they usually want to relax and unwind. It’s good etiquette not to disturb them. It’s okay to talk with your friends, but keep your voice down. This way, you won’t bother others who are trying to enjoy their time too.

11. Inside Voices or No Voices at All

Being too talkative in a sauna is like your mouth reveals a chaotic mind, not a sauna-worthy mental state. Think of it as a communal act, much like being in a library. Talking should be kept to a minimum, at a whisper volume. Loud voices can be disruptive to those trying to focus, piece together thoughts, or simply refrain from chit-chat. It denies others those precious minutes of silence needed to compartmentalize and de-stress. Isn’t that the point of going?

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12. Don’t Listen to Music in the Sauna

Going crazy in the sauna is not relaxing, especially when someone plays music loud on their phone. You just want to relax, but someone else is blasting songs, scrolling on Instagram, not caring. Listening to Drake or any playlist loudly is not good. In Mexico, people might tell you, “¡Sácate con esta basura, chunte!” That means “Get out with that trash, dummy!” If you tell them to turn off the music, they act surprised. They don’t realize it’s bad to use a phone or speaker in a sauna. It’s better to keep the speaker in the locker room. You could use AirPods, but they might not work well with the heat.

13. Be Considerate of Others and Don’t Hog the Sauna to Yourself

When you lie down in the sauna to relax, remember the space can be tight. Always make room for others. Public saunas are for everyone to use. Don’t be a d-bag by hogging the whole place!

14. Throwing Water on the Sauna Heater

The Ultimate Sauna Guide [Quick Etiquette Hacks!]
Source of image: Shutterstock
To increase the heat and steam in the sauna, some people throw water on the stones. They use a bucket of water and a ladle. In countries like Germany, they have a dedicated Sauna Meister (sauna master) whose job is to do this. Regular patrons are not allowed to do it themselves. Everyone’s heat tolerance is different. Some might find the higher heat unbearable, making the room too hot for them. So, in terms of etiquette, it’s best to ask if it’s okay to add water to the rocks.

15. Ask before you pour water on the rocks.

When you pour water on heated rocks in the sauna, it creates a burst of hot, soothing steam. This feels amazing. But, some people don’t like it. It’s important to get unanimous consent before you drizzle. Adding essential oils for aromatherapy needs permission, too. At my gym, my wife told me about a serial pourer of potent fragrances. Not everyone liked that. It’s about healing and comfort for all..

Ask before you pour water on the rocks.When you pour water on heated rocks in the sauna, it makes a powerful burst of hot, soothing steam. This is amazing for most, but some people don’t like it. Always look for unanimous consent before you drizzle. If you want to add essential oils for aromatherapy, get permission first. At my gym, my wife mentioned a serial user of potent fragrances. Not everyone liked it, even if it was meant for healing.

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16. Fill the Water Bucket

When you leave the sauna, think about the next person coming in. If there’s no more water in the bucket because it’s all used, take a moment to fill up. This small act keeps the sauna nice for everyone.

17. Bringing Food or Drinks into the Sauna

Bringing a bottle of water into the sauna is okay, but food and other drinks are not allowed. Most public gyms have guidelines that forbid bringing in alcoholic drinks or food. While in Finland, enjoying a cold beer in the sauna might be popular, and even heat sausages on foil over the heater could be tempting, it’s not the same everywhere. Be careful not to let grease or leak onto the heating element.

18. Get out of the Sauna when It’s Time

People often stay in a sauna for 10 to 20 minutes. Longer than this not good. Feel dizzy? Time to leave. Do this calmly.

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19. No Grooming in the Sauna!

A True story from my gym: a dude was cutting his toenails in the sauna, and clippings were everywhere. Disgusting, right? Don’t shave either; it’s gross.

20. Don’t Exercise in the Sauna

Some light stretching in the sauna might be alright, but a full workout could annoy other people and risk your health. You could get dehydrated or overheated.

21. Keep the Sauna Clean

The Ultimate Sauna Guide [Quick Etiquette Hacks!]
Source of image: Shutterstock
Always keep the sauna clean for the next guests. Take your belongings and water bottle with you. Don’t leave trash. Use your towel to be considerate. Rinse off your seat. If you throw water with a ladle on the rocks, it’s good cleaning habit to have in daily life when visiting a sauna. Always consult this list if you’ve sweated over any grievances. Gather everything included, like Tissues, into the bin. Wipe down any surface you’ve made contact with. Hang or fold your towels in the appropriate area.

22. Make room for others.

When the sauna starts to fill up, and you’re laying down on a bench, it’s nice to sit up if people enter looking for a spot. I once walked into a full room where a dude was lying down. He looked at me as I stood there, eyeing a potential seat. When I asked him to sit up so I could have a seat, he acted put out. Don’t be that chooch!!

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What Should I Not Wear In The Sauna?

In the sauna, it’s important to know what not to wear. First, don’t wear dirty clothing. The heat makes dirt from fabric loosen and enter the air and your skin, which can cause breakouts or spread germs. Also, do not wear workout clothing. Materials like PVC or spandex prevent airflow and might release chemicals into the air at high temperatures.

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Remove all jewelry before entering the sauna. Metal gets hot and can burn your skin, including piercings. It’s best to always go into the sauna with clean skin. Lotions and makeup can clog pores, preventing you from sweating properly and making a mess. Lastly, remove your Smart watch and any sports watches. They are sensitive to heat and might react badly to the higher temperatures in a sauna booth.


Sauna etiquette is about being well-prepared so you can enjoy safely. It’s important to follow a few rules. Take a shower before you enter to be respectful and clean up after yourself to keep it a relaxing experience for everyone. These practices are simplified but crucial for sharing space. Avoid bringing in electronics, loud talking, or wear fragrances that might bother others. If you have a personal home sauna, you can set your own rules and enjoy to your heart’s content. Whether it’s indoor saunas, traditional saunas, or your sauna oasis, you might want to invest in a personal sauna. If you need help, contact our team!!

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How Long Should I Stay in the Sauna?

A sauna session should last 10 to 20 minutes. Be mindful of extended stays as they can lead to dehydration and discomfort. Use a hygrometer to check indoor humidity and keep it humid yet comfortable to prevent dehydrate.

Can I Socialize Inside the Sauna?

The sauna is more a silence than a social spot. While it can be part of a spa getaway, it’s best to communicate in whispers if needed. Most people appreciate efforts to maintain silence during their stay.

Are you supposed to be quiet in the sauna?

Yes, saunas are quiet places. Conversation and laughter can disturb others trying to relax, rest, close eyes, or focus inside on their breathing.

Is it okay to talk in a sauna?

A sauna is a place of relax, so any talk should not disturb other users. If you’re in a group of friends or business partners, and no other person enters, keep the respect for everyone’s right to relax.

What is the sauna etiquette?

Sauna towel usage is key. Place it beneath you to ensure no sweat gets on the wood. Be considerate of your neighbour with your towel placement. Keep track of your duration with an hour glass, typically not exceeding 15 minutes.

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