What are the accepted etiquette guidelines for using a public sauna? Proper sauna etiquette means respecting other sauna users at all times. You should shower before entering, dress appropriately, use a towel, keep your voice down, and close the door quickly behind you. See our tips below.
TIPS FOR USING PUBLIC SAUNA
When using a public sauna you need to consider proper sauna etiquette. There are a few simple rules you should follow to make sure you don’t disturb others. Here are our tips for using a public sauna.
SHOWER BEFORE ENTERING THE SAUNA
The most important thing you need to do is make sure you are clean before entering a public sauna. Nobody likes sharing a sauna with someone who lacks basic personal hygiene. This is especially true for gym sauna etiquette.
Just jump in the shower and give yourself a quick wash before you join the sauna. This is especially true if you’ve just completed a workout and have been sweating considerably.
If you’ve come straight for the gym, allow 10-15 minutes for your body to cool down. Then take a shower to rinse off any sweat and leave you feeling and smelling fresh. This way you won’t offend anyone when you join them inside the sauna.
Dressing appropriately is crucial. The best thing to do is to check with the front desk to see what the requirements are.
Some public saunas have specific dress requirements such as no bikinis. Women may be asked to wear swimsuits and men loose-fitting swim shorts.
Then, on the other hand, some public saunas require full nudity. In this case, you’ll have to leave your clothing behind in the locker room.
Make sure you bring a towel to sit and to soak up sweat during your session. We recommend wearing flip-flops or sliders if allowed for good hygiene. For more, check out what to wear in the sauna.
USE A TOWEL
Always bring a towel. Nobody wants to have to sit in a pool of somebody else’s sweat. You should use your towel for sitting on and for wiping away excess sweat when things begin to heat up.
Some saunas will require you to use a towel at all times. Others will have a more casual requirement. Either way, we recommend you use one at all times for good sauna etiquette.
You could get some funny looks if you leave a pool of sweat behind on the sauna bench. Use a towel and stay in everyone’s good books.
DON’T LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN
When entering and exiting the sauna you need to minimize the length of time the door is open. Just gently push the door open, step-through, and swiftly but gently close the door behind you.
Anytime the door is open heat will escape from the sauna. This brings the overall temperature inside the sauna down. And, it will take a few minutes for it to return to full temperature.
Failure to close the door behind you is one of the biggest faux pas you can make when using a sauna. This will earn you some dirty looks and possibly even a sharp comment. You have been warned!
RESPECT OTHER USERS
Like using any other shared space – you should always respect other users. This is especially true in the confined and intimate spaces of a public sauna.
Remember, people use a sauna to relax and recenter. If you enter with a friend you should keep conversation to a minimum and lower the tone of your voice.
Saunas are highly social environments. You will find yourself striking up a conversation with all kinds of people. But, be mindful that some people just want to relax and would prefer to avoid chatting.
Be aware of the space you are using and try not to invade the personal space of other people. The best approach is to try to find a place that is not too close to anyone else. Everyone enjoys a little personal space.
ASK BEFORE CHANGING ANYTHING
Some saunas allow you to adjust the temperature setting, through water on the coals, or set a sand timer so you can time your session. The general rule of thumb is to politely ask others before you make any adjustments.
If you are sharing the sauna with another person they may be upset if you all of a sudden throw water on the coals or adjust the timer. A polite request before making any changes is the best approach.
Most people appreciate being asked and will have no objection to your request. If not, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sauna as it is.
DON’T WEAR JEWELRY
Don’t wear jewelry in the sauna. Especially metal jewelry. Remove everything in the locker room and store it securely with your gym gear.
Metal jewelry will quickly heat up inside the sauna. And before you know it, it will become too hot to touch. Any jewelry that is in contact with your skin will be a source of pain.
Couple this with the fact that fingers can swell while in the sauna and you will find it difficult to remove certain items such as rings. Our advice is to remove all jewelry before entering the sauna.
TALKING IN A PUBLIC SAUNA
Saunas can be a great place to have a chat and meet new people. But, they are primarily a place to sit back, sweat, and relax. You have to be careful about striking up conversations with other sauna users.
Some people love having a chat while others prefer not to be disturbed. If you are sharing the sauna with just friends and no other people – you can talk until your heart is content.
However, if you are sharing the sauna with people you do not know you must consider their preferences. Keep conversation to a minimum unless they seem happy to chat with you.
SIT BACK AND RELAX
The most important thing to remember is to sit back, relax, and unwind. A sauna should be a highly relaxing and enjoyable experience. Don’t worry too much about the dos and don’ts.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of public sauna etiquette outlined above, all you have to do is enjoy the experience. Saunas are an effective way of relaxing both body and mind and you’ll be feeling the benefits within 10-15 minutes.
BEST INFRARED SAUNA
If you’d like to enjoy the sauna experience from the comfort of your home – you should consider investing in an infrared home sauna. They’re highly affordable, easy to use and deliver great results. Check out the Best Infrared Saunas of 2023.
WHAT NOT TO DO IN A SAUNA
Now that you’re familiar with the basics of sauna etiquette, here are a few things you should avoid when using a public sauna.
DON’T GO NUDE
Only a small number of public saunas are ‘nude saunas’. You should never be nude in a public sauna unless you know beforehand it is a nude sauna.
Check the clothing policies before entering the sauna and make sure you are appropriately dressed. Loose-fitting comfortable clothes are the best option. And always bring a towel to sit on and to soak up any excess sweat.
DON’T USE ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Never bring an electronic device into a public sauna. Smartphones, cameras, audio players, and headphones are rarely permitted in a sauna. This covers anything that is capable of capturing an image. Also, using one may even become dangerous as the metallic parts become super hot.
Also, cameras and smartphones represent an obvious invasion of privacy. Any device capable of recording images or video will not be allowed in a sauna. You must respect the privacy of all sauna users. For more see – Can I Bring a Phone into a Sauna?
DON’T PERFORM EXERCISES
A sauna is a place of relaxation. While it might seem like a great place to perform some stretches and get some exercise in you should consider other sauna users.
Other people are there to relax and de-stress. They will not appreciate any other user performing exercises and spoiling their period of relaxation.
If you insist on performing some exercises or stretches in the sauna, you should wait until there are no other users and you have it all to yourself.
DON’T TALK LOUDLY
If you are sharing the sauna with someone you do not know you should keep conversation to a minimum. When you do talk try and use hushed tones. Be mindful of others that would prefer peace and quiet.
The exception to this is if you are sharing the sauna with people you know well and no one else. In this case, you can talk as much as you like. But, try not and disturb other spa users.
This is a pretty obvious one. Don’t shave or perform any personal grooming in a public sauna. A sauna is a shared space and using one to shave is frowned on.
The warmth of the sauna will open your pores and prepare your skin for a great close shave. But you should move to the privacy of the locker room before you unleash your razor. Shaving in a public sauna is not hygienic.
DON’T USE THE SAUNA AS A CLOTHES DRYER
Don’t use the heat inside the sauna as a personal clothes dryer. Some people seem to think they are a great opportunity for drying out their wet and sweaty gym gear. Or even a towel that’s just been used and is a bit damp.
No, none of these activities are acceptable. A sauna is a shared public space. It needs to be treated as a sauna and only as a sauna. This everyone can enjoy it without irritating others.
DON’T WEAR SHOES IN THE SAUNA
Don’t wear outdoor shoes in a sauna. You need to leave your outdoor shoes behind in the locker room along with all your other regular outdoor clothes.
You can use a sauna barefoot or if you prefer you can wear flip flops or sliders for the purpose of personal hygiene. Our tip is to check the footwear policies with the front desk before entering the sauna just to be sure.
CAN YOU WEAR FLIP FLOPS IN SAUNA?
Yes, you can wear flip flops in sauna. Flip flops will keep your feet clean and you can kick them off any time you wish to feel more comfortable.
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