What are the rules for using a public sauna? Do you use a sauna at your local gym or sports facility? Or do you enjoy relaxing in a sauna when staying at a hotel or visiting a health spa? Either way, you need to be familiar with the rules for using a public sauna. See below for the typical sauna rules used for running a public sauna.
12 RULES FOR PUBLIC SAUNAS
Want to use a public sauna but don’t know the rules? Don’t worry, we’ll take you through everything you need to know. Using a sauna is an incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating experience. And, it comes with a long list of potential health benefits. To make sure your sauna session runs smoothly, you need to be familiar with the rules for public saunas.
1: SHOWER BEFORE ENTERING THE SAUNA
You must take a shower before entering the sauna. Showering before you enter the sauna is a matter of basic hygiene. You’ll be sharing an enclosed intimate space with other people so you must take a shower before you enter. This will freshen you up and remove any lingering sweat and body odor.
2: MAXIMUM STAY 10 MINUTES
You should stay in the sauna for no longer than 10 minutes. This is the recommended length of the maximum stay. You should not stay any longer than feels comfortable and if you find yourself overheating or feeling unwell you should exit the sauna and cool down. Experienced users can spend longer periods inside compared to beginners.
3: ADULTS ONLY
Only adults are allowed inside the sauna. This is one of the most important public sauna rules. Nobody under the age of 16 is allowed in a public sauna. This is a matter of safety and saunas are reserved for the use of individuals over 16 only. Children are more sensitive to heat and the intense heat of a sauna could have an adverse effect.
4: DRESS APPROPRIATELY
You must always dress appropriately when using a sauna. Check with management before entering the sauna to find out what you need to wear. Some saunas insist on regular swimwear. Others allow patrons to use a towel. For more see What To Wear in a Sauna.
5: REMOVE ALL JEWELRY
Remove all jewelry before entering the sauna, especially metallic jewelry. Any jewelry that contains metal will become very hot when you enter a sauna. And, the last thing you want is super hot jewelry touching your skin. The heat can also cause swelling which can make jewelry difficult to remove after you’ve spent time in the sauna.
6: NO GLASS BOTTLES
No glass bottles or flasks are allowed in the sauna. If a glass bottle is dropped or broken it represents a serious hazard to sauna users. If anyone steps or sits on a piece of broken glass they can suffer a cut. Glass of any kind is not allowed inside a sauna.
7: DO NOT POUR EXCESS WATER ON COALS
Do not pour excess water on the sauna coals. If the temperature of the coals drops too low it can take a long time for the sauna to heat back up. And, under no circumstances pour pool water on the coals. Pool water contains a poisonous gas called chlorine. Some saunas have an automated watering system that periodically pours water on the coals, so you don’t have to.
8: NO CAMERAS ALLOWED
Cameras are not allowed in a sauna. This includes any device that is capable of capturing a still or video image. You cannot take a phone, tablet, iPad, or any kind of electronic device into a sauna that is equipped with a camera. This is to respect your and your fellow sauna users’ privacy. The intense heat can also damage your device. For more see Can You Bring Your Phone Into a Sauna?
9: NO LOTIONS OR OILS
No lotions or oils are allowed in the sauna. Their application cannot be supervised and oils and lotions can leave marks and damage the sauna benches. If you want to enjoy some sauna essential oils and don’t want to upset other sauna users you’ll have to stick to using them in a private sauna.
10: NO SHAVING IN THE SAUNA
Shaving is not permitted in a public sauna. It is not sanitary to shave in such a small enclosed space that other people are trying to use. And, taking razors into a sauna cannot be allowed as they are a serious cut hazard. They could result in serious injury if someone was to step or sit on a blade.
11: SHOWER ON EXITING THE SAUNA
You should take a shower when you exit the sauna. Once your session is complete and you step outside you should immediately take a shower. Most public saunas have place showers right next to the sauna. A shower will freshen you up, cool you down, and stop you from dripping sweat all over the public area.
12: ALLOW 5-10 MINUTES TO COOL DOWN
Once you’ve finished spending time in the sauna you should allow at least 5-10 minutes for your body to cool down. Saunas get intensely hot. An infrared sauna runs at 120 °F and a traditional sauna at 150-180 ˚F. Your body needs to cool right to the core before it will stop sweating and you can get changed.
HYDRATION & ETIQUETTE
We’ve covered the 12 rules of using a public sauna but we need to cover two more crucial topics to ensure you have a positive sauna experience – hydration and etiquette. When you use a public sauna you need to make sure you stay safely hydrated and follow proper sauna etiquette.
One of the most important rules of using a sauna is staying hydrated. You must make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. While this may not be pointed out on your local public sauna rules notice it is of the utmost importance.
All water that is lost to sweat in a sauna needs to be replaced. And, this involves drinking plenty of water. For best results, you should drink water before, during, and after your sauna session to stay safe. For more see How Much Water Should I Drink in a Sauna?
WHAT ABOUT SAUNA ETIQUETTE?
Rules are one thing but what about sauna etiquette? Rules outline the minimum standard of behavior that is expected in a sauna. But your fellow sauna users will expect much more. There is a whole etiquette surrounding the use of a public sauna.
When you share such an intimate space with others you need to be aware of the social norms. There are some subtle do’s and don’ts you need to be aware of. Here are some tips you should keep in mind to avoid upsetting others. For more, check out our full guide to Proper Sauna Etiquette.