What to wear in a sauna

What to wear in a sauna
A sauna session is a safe and relaxing space for you to unwind after a long day of work, after a workout, or simply to relax and get all the health benefits of the sauna. For those reasons, you will always want to do what makes you feel the most comfortable, especially when it comes to clothing. 


Sauna Etiquette 

Before using a sauna, the one thing not to forget is to take off your work clothes and shower. This helps remove sweat and dirt before using a sauna and will help avoid stains and dirt accumulation on the benches and backrests of the sauna. 


Now, if it is your first time in a sauna, you probably wonder what to wear in the sauna. 


You probably know this but, it is common to go to the sauna naked. This is a common practice in Finland, whether in a private or public setting. Most Finns go to the sauna naked most of the time. If you are not Finnish, you may be more discreet and want to wear a bathing suit, a towel, or experience the authentic Finnish Sauna experience naked. 



traditional finnish sauna


I know this post is about what to wear to the sauna, but honestly, you are most comfortable wearing nothing. It's perfectly fine to go to the sauna naked with friends, family, and strangers, and most Finns do not mind at all. 


The best way to try it out is to go to a sauna and see how comfortable you are. If you do not feel comfortable, don't worry; we have options for you! 


woman wearing a swimsuit in the sauna


People who do not feel comfortable going to the sauna naked choose to wear a swimsuit. 


Just be sure to check the rules at the public saunas you plan to visit to see if you can wear a swimsuit. You can call ahead or check the website if you want to be sure. 


In most cases, they will ask you to shower and clean up first before entering the sauna. Ensure your swimsuits are 100% clean to avoid spreading bacteria in the sauna.



  • Avoid swimsuits that have dangling decorative pieces. These accessories can burn your skin when they get hot. 
  • If you use a swimsuit made of PVC material, your skin will not breathe properly, and you will miss out on the benefits of the sauna session. 
  • Not allowing your skin to breathe means you absorb more heat than you need, which may lead to dehydration.
  • PVC fabric can melt when it gets too hot. It might let off toxic fumes and chemicals as well. 
  • Remember to wear a swimsuit made using natural materials. It should also have a loose fit if possible. This allows for better airflow to your skin.



woman wearing a towel in the sauna


If you do not have a swimming suit, you can borrow a towel from most public or hotel saunas and cover up with it while you are inside. 


You can either bring your towel or borrow one from the gym or public sauna you are going to. Just ask if towels are available for guests and make sure they are clean before you use them. 


woman wearing cotton clothes



If you want to avoid the hassle of picking the right bathing suit, wear cotton while in your sauna instead. This option might not be as stylish, but it is safer and healthier. 



  • For starters, be sure that your cotton clothing is clean. Wearing dirty clothes in a sauna is not suitable for your skin or hygiene. 
  • You can use an oversized t-shirt that you use for sleepwear for optimal comfort.
  • Be sure that clothing always has a loose fit. You can wear cotton wrap or shorts as well. 
  • Cotton is perfect for absorbing excess heat waves. It also allows your skin to breathe properly. 
  • Even with cotton clothing, you should still keep a towel close by. Sit on it to keep your sauna clean and help you stay away from bacteria.
  • Do not wear tight cotton undergarments, if you decide to wear a bra, be sure that there is no wire inside. 


people in a sauna using slippers or flip flops


This is not necessarily something you need to wear in a sauna, but it is highly recommended to bring them just in case you need to walk around the sauna. In fact, it is a good idea to wear them to protect yourself from all the dirt and grime that you might encounter in such a public environment.


You can only wear flip-flops or shoes in a private home sauna. But in saunas open to the public, wearing shoes or flip-flops could seem rude to others who are barefoot. It is rude to wear shoes in a sauna, making the lower areas unsanitary.


Some people may argue that wearing clean shoes or flip-flops in the sauna will not hurt. However, putting on shoes (no matter how clean) in a shared space can give the wrong impression to other users, especially if they are barefoot. Therefore, you must consider other users.


Before you enter a sauna wearing flip-flops, be sure to check the rules that apply. Some saunas provide flip-flops for their visitors.


However, if you have a sauna in your home, you're free to decide what is acceptable or unacceptable. But the general rule is that saunas should be shoe-free to maintain high hygiene levels. 



Tight-Fitting Clothes  

Try to avoid sweaters and tight-fitting clothes as they'll absorb sweat, which does little to help cleanse your skin.


Lotions and Creams  

When going for a sauna session, it is advisable to steer clear of lotions and creams as they clog up pores. But if you must apply the creams and lotions, try to do so after the session.


The idea is to clear your skin of toxins, allowing it to replenish and recover. Chances of proper cleansing, however, are minimal when your pores are covered by lotion.


Metal Jewelry and Piercings  


Remember, saunas work by releasing extreme heat to promote sweating and clear up pores. And since metals are known to be good conductors of heat, you might end up hurt if you enter the sauna with metal piercings or jewelry. 


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