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What You Should and Shouldn’t Wear in a Sauna

Going into the sauna, whether it is public or private, helps relax you when you feel stiff and stressed. But what do you wear when stepping into a sauna? Are there things you should and shouldn’t wear?

To get the most from your sauna session, going au natural is always the best option, at least in an ideal world. In fact, it’s even recommended and shouldn’t be a problem if you have a sauna at home.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t, and going to a public sauna in a spa or the gym entails a whole new set of concerns about hygiene, comfort, and sense of appropriateness.

Here’s everything to know about sauna clothing etiquette.

sauna hats

How to Choose Sauna Outfit

Going nude in the sauna is preferable, but when that isn’t an option, you should keep your clothing as scanty as possible.

When choosing your sauna outfit, keep these four things in mind.

1. Lightness

You’re going to sweat buckets inside the sauna. So, whatever clothing you wear will inevitably touch and cling to your skin. In that case, choose a light outfit so the fabric won’t block your pores even when it’s sticking to your skin. It should be light enough that sweat could pass through your clothing.

2. Breathability

Besides sweat, the best sauna outfit should also be breathable. After all, you want the hot air inside the sauna to pass through the fabric and reach your skin to allow proper and even sweating.

3. Looseness

Although your clothes will eventually stick to your sweaty skin while in the sauna, that doesn’t mean you should choose form-fitting clothes. In fact, you’ll want to keep your sauna outfit as loose as possible, so it touches your skin less.

You don’t want the fabric blocking the skin pores if you can help it.

4. Easy to Remove

Stepping in the sauna can be relaxing, but sometimes, it may get uncomfortable. Plus, you’re going to get your clothes wet by the end of the session. Because of this, it’s preferable to make sure your outfit is easy to shed off.

What Do You Wear in a Sauna

Assuming you’re stepping into the sauna at the spa or the gym, here are your best sauna clothing options.

1. Towel

If going nude in the sauna is not an option, you can still shed all of your clothing and undergarments yet at the same time maintain your privacy. All you need is a towel or two to cover your private parts and protect your skin from the hot seating. Just wrap that towel around your chest or waist, and you’re good to go.

Expert Tip: Pick a towel made of cotton since it is incredibly absorbent and will keep you comfortable throughout the session.

2. Swimsuit

We’ve established that you should wear as little as possible when going to a sauna. One way to accomplish this is by wearing a swimsuit. It offers you some coverage but still leaves most of your skin free.

Choose bikini-style swimsuits whenever possible since they expose more of your skin to the hot steam than a one-piece.

Expert Tip: Make sure your swimsuit is made of natural fibers. Ditch those made of synthetics, especially PVC fabrics, since they will block your skin pores.

3. Anything Made of Cotton, But Make It Loose-Fitting

If wearing a swimsuit isn’t enough coverage for you, you can wear any clothing you’re comfortable with, but make sure it’s made of cotton. An oversized cotton T-shirt and shorts are guaranteed to work as your sauna outfit.

A loose-fitting wrap made of cotton is also an excellent choice. Whatever you decide on, it should be made of 100% cotton since cotton is incredibly breathable and will absorb excess heat.

Expert Tip: Skip the undergarments, but if you choose not to, make sure they are loose-fitting to avoid any discomfort.

4. Sandals, Shower Slippers

Going barefoot in the sauna is fine. But if you feel icky about walking barefoot in a public place, wearing shower sandals or slippers is okay. It’s also a good option since the tiles can get too slippery inside the sauna.

What NOT to Wear in a Sauna at the Spa

Whether you are stepping into a traditional or infrared sauna, there are a couple of items of clothing that you should never wear inside.

1. Your Dirty Clothes

One thing you should never wear inside the sauna is your day-old dirty outfit. That includes sweaty gym clothes.

The heat inside the sauna will only loosen the dust accumulated in your clothes and then release it into the air. This is not something you want to happen while you are inside the sauna.

2. Shoes

Like mentioned previously, wear as little clothing as possible when stepping inside the sauna. This means ditching the shoes, no matter how clean they are. Also, don’t forget to take off your socks too.

3. Tight-Fitting Clothes and Undergarments

Here’s the thing. You’re going to sweat a lot inside the sauna, and any tight-fitting clothes will only make the heat more unbearable. Not to mention, tight-fitting clothes will be too uncomfortable to wear. The same goes for tight-fitting undergarments. Ditch those before going inside the sauna.

4. Workout Clothes

Generally, you should avoid wearing workout clothes in the sauna. The only exception is cotton workout clothes. If your outfit is made of PVC fabric, that wouldn’t be a good sauna outfit. Besides blocking your skin from the hot air from the sauna, remember that PVC is plastic. There’s a good chance of it melting at a high temperature.

5. Jewelry

Another thing you should not wear inside the sauna is jewelry. This includes your earrings, necklaces, rings, or any sort of metal jewelry since they will heat up after some time inside the sauna and can actually burn you.

6. Makeup, Lotions, Body Oils, and Creams

There’s a reason why taking a shower before stepping inside the sauna is good practice. It will clean up your skin not only from the dust and dirt but also your skin products. Makeup, lotions, body oils, and creams aren’t things you should apply before the sauna as they will only clog your pores and keep your skin from breathing freely.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

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