Sauna Etiquette

Visiting a sauna can be a very relaxing and healing experience. Before you go, however, be sure to brush up on basic sauna etiquette so you do not embarrass yourself. Here are a few basic points to remember.

1. Make sure you familiarize yourself with local customs before you go

For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing my advice on North American etiquette. Because spa etiquette can vary by culture. It’s a good rule of thumb, for those travelers out there, to make sure you know the etiquette for the culture you are visiting. If you have the wanderlust gene, don’t be a clueless traveler, and do ask questions.

2. Sanitation is key – shower prior to entering a sauna, and, for Heaven’s sake, sit on a towel

I completely respect the fact that you’re comfortable in your own skin. Totally own that, but for Heaven’s sake, the rest of us want a barrier between your skin and the commonly used sauna. Please remember that this is not your own personal room, and others have paid money to use these facilities as well. Respect others by showering prior to entering the sauna, and sit on a towel once inside. Your respect for others is appreciated by all of us with slight OCD tendencies, and we thank you in advance for keeping your cooties to yourself.

3. This is not your home – Make sure you fully close the door

The point of the sauna is to trap the heat in, not heat the entire building. Please be considerate of others when using these facilities, and kindly remember to close the door completely when exiting. I’m boggled that this rule even needs addressing, but apparently some people are in their own worlds when in sauna land. I realize the heat may be getting to your head, but it hasn’t gotten to my head yet, so please shut the door. Thanks dear.

4. Sit in silence

This is a place of peaceful silence, and it’s proper etiquette to keep it that way. Be respectful of the healing properties of the silence in the sauna. Don’t talk, tap, hum, smack gum, etc. Be still and be quiet. If this is not in you, please don’t visit a sauna, as this is not the place for you. To get the full benefits of a sauna, both heat and silence work in conjunction with each other, and help heal your mind and body. It’s important to completely disconnect to rid your mind and body of toxins.

5. Undress to your comfort level

We are all adults, and you must realize that some will visit the sauna in complete nudity. This is completely acceptable, unless they are sans towel, at which point, they should see Rule #2 above. If this makes you uncomfortable, the sauna is not a place for you. You do not have to be completely nude, if this is not your cup of green tea, but it may be the preference of others when detoxifying. Just don’t pay attention and keep to yourself. Focus on your healing, and it likely will not faze you. If you are sitting in the best hot tub with friends, most people would wear a bathing suit.

6. Keep your eyes to yourself

A sauna is a good time for self-reflection and should not be used to compare yourself to others. Respect others’ privacy. Some people prefer more anonymity than others. Remember the kindergarten rule: keep your hands and eyes to yourself. This is pretty straightforward.>

7. Leave the cell in your locker

This is not social hour – in fact – it’s the opposite. This is not a safe space for your cell phone or other electronics. Firstly, it’s likely not good for them to be that hot. Secondly, no one wants to listen to you talking or clicking away during their quiet time. Thirdly, other sauna visitors want to be ensured that their privacy is paramount, without having to worry about the creepy paparazzi wannabes clicking away at pictures. This rule should be adhered to 100 percent of the time – no exceptions! This is a deal breaker, and will likely get you removed from the area if you don’t respect this.

Happy sauna-ing!

courtesy: Janet Miller/


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