What Is Proper Sauna Etiquette? Dos & Don’ts & Best Tips

Heather Campbell
 min read

What is proper sauna etiquette? It can be quite baffling if you’re never used a sauna before!

What is proper sauna etiquette? Do's & don'ts & best tipsNaked or not? What about towels? Can you speak during a sauna session?

As a general rule, proper sauna etiquette dictates the same basics wherever you go. No intimacy, towels to avoid sweating all over the place, shower directly before and after, respect your fellow users by sitting properly, and don’t annoy people by talking loudly or making too much noise.

Read on for various sauna tips that deal with sauna etiquette. Being aware of these basic sauna rules will make your experience easier and less stressful if you’re new.

What is proper sauna etiquette and what do you take to the sauna?

  • First, a good mood and the will to relax.
  • A bathrobe, bath slippers and, ideally, two towels: 1 large towel to lie on in the sauna and another towel to dry yourself off after a shower or bath.
  • A water bottle is also essential (hydration is crucial before, during and after the sauna). There might also be a drinking fountain nearby but it’s good to be prepared and bring your own water.
  • Don’t forget your own shower products. You could also consider buying a moisturizing skin cream to avoid dry skin which you can apply after showering with shampoo and soap.
  • Drink and eat enough during the day because you lose a lot of fluids during a sauna visit.
  • If you like to read, it may be nice to bring a book, though there may not be enough light to read properly. Also, take care to keep the book away from the heat source in the sauna! 🔥

Some misconceptions and myths about sauna baths

Sauna visits help you lose weight

Unfortunately… a visit to the sauna won’t make you magically lose weight.

Because of the many fluid losses, you will weigh a little less on the scale. But because you also have to drink a lot after the sauna, this fluid loss is quickly compensated for and you are soon back to the same weight as before the sauna visit.

Only if you visit the sauna regularly in combination with sufficient exercise, will it have a beneficial effect on your weight because a sauna visit stimulates the metabolism in our body.

Tip: Have a look at our other post for more sauna pros and cons.

With swimwear or naked: It makes no difference

Wearing swimwear in the sauna seals the pores.

As a result, you can’t get rid of the heat, waste products, and sweat. You will experience sauna bathing as less enjoyable.

If you sweat, this perspiration will soak into the swimwear and it will also not come out as easily when showering.

Going to the sauna in swimwear is less hygienic for yourself and the other guests.

In addition, certain swimwear can get very hot, which can damage the skin (think of certain metal fasteners, for example).

Do dirty things happen in the sauna?

Intimacy is strictly forbidden in all saunas. This can also be read in black and white in the house rules of virtually all normal wellness centers.

If a sauna staff member observes intimate behavior, they will always initially request that it stops.

Other guests will also often report it to the staff. Intimacy is not accepted in the sauna.

Will I be watched in the sauna?

The beauty of the sauna is that there is no difference, everyone is equal there.

The perfect body is only for a few of us since only a minority of people have perfect abs.

When you visit a sauna naked for the first time, it may feel uncomfortable and you may feel that you are being watched.

But after a while, this feeling will disappear and you will find that other people will notice you less or not at all.

A visit to the sauna is boring and hot

The word sauna does not sound appealing to some people because they associate this concept with tremendous heat, sweating, and suffering.

But a sauna can be much more than you might initially think. Visiting a sauna should be seen more broadly than merely entering a sauna cabin.

Visiting a sauna is part of a lifestyle that helps clear your mind and body.

Most wellness and sports centers are much more than a sauna. There are often dozens of other facilities that you can also use.

Sauna rules and sauna etiquette

A lot of sauna rules can be found on the website of every sauna or wellness resort in the house rules. Near the sauna’s entry, there is often also a notice board with regulations.

Therefore, our advice is to read these rules carefully before visiting the sauna so that you are not faced with surprises at the time of your first sauna visit. 📖

But what is sauna etiquette? Feel free to consider this concept as having respect for each other.

For example, a major concern is hygiene. Always shower before entering the sauna, even if you have already showered at home.

You should take a seat on your towel in the sauna cabin so that the sweat falls on your own towel and not on the benches. So in a sitting position, this also means resting your feet on the towel instead of on the bench below you.

During the sauna session, you can sit or lie naked. However, do not walk around naked in the sauna complex, put on a towel or bathrobe.

The only time when you walk outside naked is at the time when you are doing your cooling down.

Do not lie or sit wide-legged in the sauna as this is very uncomfortable for other sauna guests or staff.

Keep the silence and respect this moment of rest from other people. Talking, whispering, singing or worse, sighing and moaning, are all out of the question. Avoid such behavior.

Do not perform intimate acts. Kissing, hugging, hanging on to each other and other undesired or unwanted intimacies are prohibited in the sauna. 🚫

Talk outside the sauna and whisper quietly and not too loudly because not everyone is waiting for all those conversations of others in common restrooms.

In many saunas, there are no minors allowed for fear of them being unruly, immature, or disturbing other guests by playing or talking loudly. 🔞

No mobile devices. Devices equipped with a camera should be left in your locker and not used in the locker rooms. 📵

If you really want to check the messages or emails on your phone or you need to make an urgent phone call, do it in an area where people are dressed, for example at the reception desk or for more privacy somewhere outside.

Respect the other guests and keep a sufficient distance.

If a particular sauna or Jacuzzi is already well occupied, don’t enter it so that other people don’t have to move over. You’ll only be squashed like sardines in a can. This is not pleasant and, for some guests, downright intimidating.

What is proper sauna etiquette? Conclusion

Proper sauna etiquette is not that difficult to understand since it is based on a lot of common sense.

You’ll probably have guidelines explaining what is allowed and what isn’t, but good on you for checking it out before.

Now, you can confidently make the most of your experience.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More