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Sauna Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts - A Friendly Guide

Are you planning to visit a sauna soon? Whether you are a seasoned pro or new to the sauna experience, it is crucial to follow proper sauna etiquette for a safe and comfortable experience. In this section, we will explore the essential dos and don’ts of sauna etiquette, providing you with a friendly guide to make the most of your time in the sauna.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding sauna etiquette is crucial to enjoying a safe and comfortable experience.
  • Respecting personal space, choosing appropriate attire, and practicing good hygiene are all key aspects of sauna etiquette.
  • There are specific guidelines for co-ed and gender-specific saunas, and it’s important to be respectful of everyone’s comfort level.
  • Knowing proper usage guidelines, respecting others, and recognizing potential health concerns are all important for a successful sauna experience.
  • Following sauna exit protocols, including cooling down properly and practicing self-care, is crucial for a safe and healthy experience.

What is a Sauna?

A sauna is a small room or building designed to provide dry or wet heat sessions, typically used for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. The word sauna comes from the Finnish word “savu,” which means smoke or steam and has been used for centuries in Finnish culture.The temperature inside a sauna can range from 70 to 100 degrees Celsius, with low humidity levels. In contrast, a steam room is usually hotter, with a temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius but with high humidity levels.There are various types of saunas, including:
  • Traditional Finnish saunas are usually made of wood and heated with wood, electric stoves, or infrared heaters.
  • Smoke saunas, which use a wood-burning stove to heat rocks, produce smoke and are becoming less common.
  • Infrared saunas, use infrared lamps to emit a specific type of light that heats the body directly.
  • Portable saunas, which are compact and designed for personal use or travel.
Saunas offer several health benefits, including:
  1. Relieving stress and promoting relaxation
  2. Reducing muscle and joint pain
  3. Improving circulation and promoting cardiovascular health
  4. Detoxifying the body
  5. Boosting the immune system
Overall, saunas offer a unique way to unwind and find relaxation while also providing various health benefits.

Sauna Preparation: Tips for a Successful Sauna Session

Preparing yourself properly for a sauna session can enhance your overall experience and help you get the most out of this beneficial practice. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Shower before entering the sauna

Shower before entering the saunaIt’s important to take a shower before entering the sauna to remove any lotions or oils from your skin, which can prevent you from sweating properly. It’s also a common courtesy to ensure that you are clean before entering a shared space.

Choose the right attire

Choose the right attireWear appropriate sauna attire such as a towel or a swimsuit. Avoid wearing any clothing made from synthetic materials, which can become uncomfortable when exposed to high temperatures. Remember to bring a change of clothes for after your session.

Use proper sauna hygiene

Use proper sauna hygieneSaunas are shared spaces, so it’s essential to use proper sauna hygiene throughout your session. Always sit on a towel to prevent the spread of germs. Wipe down the bench with a towel before and after your session and avoid using perfumes or fragrances that can disturb others.

Start slowly and take breaks

Start slowly and take breaksStart with a lower temperature and gradually build up your tolerance as you become more comfortable. Take breaks if you feel overheated or dizzy. It’s essential to listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself.

Stay hydrated

Stay hydratedDrink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to stay hydrated. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before or during your session, as they can dehydrate you.By following these tips for sauna preparation and sauna sessions, you can enjoy a safe, comfortable, and beneficial sauna experience.

Sauna Etiquette for Mixed-Sex Saunas

Sauna Etiquette for Mixed-Sex SaunasWhen using a mixed-sex sauna, it’s essential to follow proper etiquette to ensure a comfortable and respectful environment for all participants. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do: Respect Personal Space

When entering a mixed-sex sauna, be mindful of other participants and their personal space. Avoid sitting too close to someone else unless there are no other spots available.

Do: Use a Towel

Always bring a towel with you when entering the sauna and place it on the bench before sitting down. This will prevent sweat from sticking to the bench and ensure a hygienic environment for everyone.

Don’t: Stare

It’s essential to be respectful of other participants and avoid staring or making unwelcome advances. Keep your eyes forward or closed and focus on your own experience.

Don’t: Wear Swimwear

While it may be tempting to wear swimwear in a mixed-sex sauna, it’s not recommended. Opt for a towel or wrap instead to ensure proper hygiene and comfort for yourself and others.
Mixed-Sex Sauna EtiquetteDo’sDon’ts
Respect Personal SpaceBe mindful of other participants and their personal spaceAvoid sitting too close or making unwelcome advances
Use a TowelAlways bring a towel and place it on the bench before sitting downDon’t sit directly on the bench without a towel
Don’t StareKeep your eyes forward or closed and focus on your own experienceAvoid staring or making unwelcome advances
Don’t Wear SwimwearOpt for a towel or wrap instead for proper hygiene and comfortAvoid wearing swimwear in the sauna
By following these mixed-sex sauna etiquette guidelines, you can ensure a respectful and comfortable atmosphere for yourself and others.

Sauna Etiquette for Same-Sex Saunas

When visiting a gender-specific sauna, it’s critical to follow the appropriate etiquette guidelines to ensure everyone is comfortable and respected. Here are some essential do’s and don’ts for same-sex sauna etiquette:
  • DO: Wear a towel or swimsuit to cover yourself at all times.
  • DO: Keep your conversations low and avoid disruptive behaviors.
  • DO: Respect personal space and avoid invading others’ personal areas.
  • DO: Take turns when using sauna accessories like the sauna bucket or ladle.
  • DON’T: Stare at other sauna users or engage in inappropriate behavior.
  • DON’T: Use your phone or electronics in the sauna.
  • DON’T: Bring food or drinks into the sauna.
Remember that the sauna experience is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating, so practicing proper sauna etiquette is crucial to ensure everyone’s enjoyment.

Sauna Usage Guidelines

Using a sauna can be a fantastic way to relax and unwind, but it’s important to understand proper usage guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. One of the most important factors to consider is the duration of your sauna session.The recommended duration for a sauna session is typically around 10-15 minutes. However, if you are new to using a sauna, you may want to start with just a few minutes and gradually increase your time as you become more comfortable. It’s also important to take regular breaks during your sauna session to avoid overheating and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.When using a sauna, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy, it’s time to exit the sauna and cool down. It’s also important to avoid using a sauna if you are feeling unwell or have any underlying health conditions that could be worsened by the heat.Overall, sauna usage can provide numerous benefits for both the mind and body, but it’s essential to approach it with mindfulness and caution.

Proper Sauna Behavior

When using a sauna, it is essential to follow proper sauna behavior to ensure a comfortable and respectful environment for everyone. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Respect personal space: When inside the sauna, be mindful of where you sit and avoid encroaching on others’ personal space.
  • Keep conversations low: While it’s okay to have conversations inside the sauna, keep your voice low to prevent disrupting the silence and relaxation of others.
  • Avoid disruptive behaviors: Refrain from loud music, yelling, or any other disruptive behavior that may disturb others in the sauna.
  • Respect others: Remember that everyone is in the sauna to relax and unwind, so respect those around you and avoid anything that could make them uncomfortable.
By following these proper sauna behavior guidelines, you can help create a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere for all sauna users.

Sauna Health and Safety: Precautions for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Saunas offer numerous health benefits, including relaxation and improved blood circulation. However, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and avoid any potential risks. In this section, we’ll discuss some key tips for practicing sauna health and safety.

Check with your doctor before using a sauna

If you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medication, it’s essential to consult with your doctor before using a sauna. High temperatures can affect your heart rate and blood pressure, so it’s crucial to make sure sauna usage is safe for you.

Avoid alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption before or during sauna use can be dangerous. It can cause dehydration and make it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature, leading to potential health risks.

Recognize signs of overheating

It’s essential to recognize when you’re overheating and need to cool down. Some signs of overheating include dizziness, nausea, and headache. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to leave the sauna immediately and cool down.

Take breaks

To avoid overheating, it’s essential to take breaks during your sauna session. Taking a break for a few minutes can help your body regulate its temperature and prevent any potential health risks.

Stay hydrated

Sauna use can cause your body to sweat excessively, leading to dehydration. It’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session to stay hydrated and avoid any health risks.

Practice proper hygiene

Saunas are a communal space, so it’s essential to practice proper hygiene to avoid the spread of germs and infections. Shower before entering the sauna and avoid using lotions or oils that can clog your pores.

Avoid staying in the sauna for too long

While sauna use offers numerous health benefits, it’s important not to overdo it. The recommended duration of a sauna session is 10-15 minutes. Staying in the sauna for too long can increase your risk of overheating or other health issues.

Maintain proper ventilation

A well-ventilated sauna helps to regulate the temperature and prevent any potential health risks. It’s crucial to make sure there is proper ventilation in the sauna room, and the door should be left slightly open to allow fresh air to circulate.

Use caution with sauna accessories

Sauna accessories like sauna buckets and ladles should be used with caution to avoid any potential injuries. Handle them carefully, and make sure not to splash water on the heating elements of the sauna.

Cool down after your sauna session

After your sauna session, it’s crucial to cool down gradually to avoid any potential health risks. Take a shower or dip in a cool pool, and make sure to rest and hydrate.By following these sauna health and safety tips, you can enjoy a safe and relaxing sauna experience. Remember to always prioritize your health and well-being and take the necessary precautions to avoid any potential risks.

Sauna Etiquette Around Sauna Accessories

sauna bucketProper etiquette in a sauna extends to the use of sauna accessories. Sauna accessories are a crucial part of the sauna experience, and as such, you should handle them with care and respect for others using the sauna.Two common sauna accessories are the sauna bucket and sauna ladle. The sauna bucket is used to hold water, while the sauna ladle is used to pour water onto the hot rocks in the sauna to create steam. When using these accessories, follow these guidelines:
Sauna AccessoryProper Etiquette
Sauna BucketFill the sauna bucket with water before entering the sauna and place it on the floor beside you while in the sauna. When using the bucket, gently pour water onto the hot rocks and avoid splashing others in the sauna.
Sauna LadleUse the sauna ladle with care, gently pouring water onto the hot rocks, being mindful of those around you to avoid splashing. When not in use, place the ladle back into the sauna bucket to keep it clean and out of the way.
Aside from these accessories, other items such as thermometers and hourglasses may be available in the sauna. If you are unsure about how to use any of the accessories, do not hesitate to ask sauna staff or other seasoned sauna-goers for assistance.By respecting the sauna accessories and other users in the sauna, you can ensure a pleasant and unforgettable sauna experience for yourself and others.

Sauna Exit Protocol

Exiting a sauna correctly is just as crucial as enjoying your time inside. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and comfortable sauna exit:
  1. Cool down: Take a few moments to adjust to the temperature outside the sauna. Jumping from hot to cold temperatures can be stressful on the body, leading to discomfort or fainting. Sit down for a few minutes, drink some water, and give your body time to regulate its temperature.
  2. Shower: Take a quick shower to rinse off any sweat and toxins that may have accumulated on your skin. Use cool or lukewarm water instead of cold water, which can shock your body after the high sauna temperature.
  3. Dry off: Pat yourself dry with a towel, avoiding any rubbing movements that can irritate your skin.
  4. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to replenish the fluids lost during your sauna session. Avoid alcohol or caffeine, which can dehydrate your body.
  5. Relax: Take some time to relax and recover from your sauna experience. Rest your body, read a book, or meditate to reduce stress and tension.
Remember, the cooling-down process is just as important as the warming-up process. Take care of yourself after your sauna session to ensure a positive and safe experience.


In conclusion, following proper sauna etiquette is crucial for an enjoyable experience for all participants. By understanding the dos and don’ts of sauna etiquette, you can enhance your time in the sauna and ensure a safe and respectful atmosphere. Remember to practice proper sauna hygiene, maintain a comfortable environment for others, and respect personal space.

Stay Safe and Healthy

It is equally important to prioritize your health and safety when using a sauna. Always check with your doctor before using a sauna, stay hydrated during your session, and recognize the signs of overheating. Remember to avoid alcohol consumption before and during your sauna session and take breaks as needed.

Practice Self-Care

After your sauna session, take the time to cool down, shower, and engage in self-care practices. This will help your body recover from the heat and allow you to fully benefit from the relaxation and rejuvenation offered by a sauna.By following these guidelines, you can ensure a positive and rewarding sauna experience. So go ahead, step into the sauna, and embrace the heat with confidence and a respectful attitude.

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Sauna etiquette refers to the set of rules and guidelines that govern proper behavior and practices when using a sauna. It ensures a respectful and enjoyable environment for all sauna-goers.

Sauna etiquette is important because it helps maintain a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for everyone in the sauna. It promotes hygiene, respect for personal boundaries, and consideration for others.

To prepare for a sauna session, it’s recommended to take a shower beforehand to cleanse your body. Also, bring a towel to sit or lie on and wear appropriate sauna attire, such as a swimsuit or a towel wrap.

In a mixed-sex sauna, it’s important to respect the privacy and comfort of others. Use a towel to sit or lie on, keep conversations low, and avoid any behavior that may make others uncomfortable.

Same-sex saunas follow similar etiquette guidelines as mixed-sex saunas. However, it’s still essential to respect personal space, maintain a quiet atmosphere, and ensure the comfort of others in the sauna.

The duration of a sauna session varies depending on personal preference and tolerance. It is generally recommended to start with shorter sessions of around 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the time as you become more accustomed to the heat.

In a sauna, it’s best to avoid behaviors that may disrupt others’ relaxation, such as loud conversations, excessive movement, and using electronic devices. Additionally, refrain from bringing food or drink inside the sauna.

Yes, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using a sauna, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions. Avoid consuming alcohol before or during your sauna session and be aware of signs of overheating, such as dizziness or nausea.

When using sauna accessories like sauna buckets and ladles, handle them with care and respect. Use them as intended and be mindful of others around you. Clean the accessories after use, if required.

After a sauna session, it’s important to cool down gradually, take a refreshing shower, and practice self-care. Hydrate yourself by drinking water and allow your body to relax and recover before engaging in other activities.

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