What to Wear in a Sauna: Dos, Don'ts, and Essential Tips


Saunas offer many potential health benefits such as improved circulation, stress relief, and detoxification. For those new to the sauna experience, knowing what to wear can be a source of uncertainty. The right attire can make all the difference in ensuring a comfortable, hygienic, and enjoyable sauna session.

In this blog post, we'll explore the dos, don'ts, and essential tips for what to wear in a sauna. From the best materials to the most appropriate coverage, we'll guide you through the sauna dress code so that you can focus on reaping the benefits.


What to Wear in a Sauna

The Basics of Sauna Attire

When it comes to what to wear in a sauna, the primary goal is to choose clothing that promotes comfort, allows your skin to breathe, and facilitates the sweating process. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that don't hinder air circulation or trap heat against your skin.

Understanding the sauna dress code

Sauna dress codes can vary depending on the location and type of sauna you're visiting, traditional or infrared sauna. Some public saunas may require more coverage. While other traditional saunas, such as those in certain European countries, may have a more relaxed approach to nudity. It's always best to check with the facility beforehand to ensure you're adhering to their specific guidelines.

Differences between public and private sauna attire

The difference between public and private sauna attire is important to note. In public saunas, it's generally expected that you'll wear a swimsuit or just a towel to maintain a level of modesty and respect for other patrons.

However, in private saunas or those located within your own home, you have more flexibility in terms of what to wear. Some people prefer to sauna nude in private settings or sauna at home, as it allows for maximum skin exposure and sweating. The choice is yours, as long as you're not making others uncomfortable in public spaces.

Dos: What to Wear in a Sauna for Optimal Comfort

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Choosing the right clothing is imperative for a comfortable and enjoyable sauna experience. When deciding what to wear in a sauna, prioritize fabrics and styles that allow your skin to breathe and promote air circulation.

Let's explore the dos of sauna attire for optimal comfort.

Lightweight, breathable fabrics

Cotton Clothes

Cotton is a popular choice for sauna clothing because it's lightweight, breathable, and absorbent. Wear cotton as it allows your skin to breathe and doesn't trap heat. It is an excellent option for staying cool and comfortable during your sauna session.


Bamboo fabric is another great option for sauna attire. It's naturally breathable, moisture-wicking, and has antibacterial properties. Bamboo clothing helps regulate body temperature and keeps you feeling fresh throughout your sauna experience.


Linen is a classic choice for sauna clothing due to its lightweight and excellent breathability. It's also highly absorbent, making it effective at wicking away sweat and keeping you comfortable.

Loose-fitting clothing

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Allows air circulation

When choosing what to wear in a sauna, choose loose-fitting clothing that allows air to circulate freely around your body. Avoid tight, restrictive garments that can hinder the sweating process and make you feel uncomfortable.

Prevents overheating

Loose-fitting sauna attire helps prevent overheating by allowing heat to escape from your body. This is particularly important in the high-temperature environment of a steam room, where tight fitting clothes can trap heat and lead to discomfort.

Minimal coverage


Swimsuits are a common choice for sauna attire, particularly in public settings. They provide minimal coverage while still maintaining modesty. Wear swimwear made from lightweight, breathable fabric to ensure optimal comfort.

Shorts and T-shirts

Loose-fitting shorts and oversized T shirt made from breathable materials like cotton or bamboo are excellent options for sauna wear. They provide coverage while still allowing your skin to breathe and sweat freely.

Sauna wraps or towels

Sauna wraps or towels are another popular choice for minimal coverage. They can be easily adjusted to your comfort level and provide a barrier between your skin and the sauna bench. Be sure to choose a lightweight, absorbent material for your wrap or towel.

The primary purpose of a sauna is to provide a relaxing, therapeutic experience that promotes sweating, detoxification, and overall well-being in a heated environment. It's best to follow best practices to reap the potential full benefits.

Don'ts: What Not to Wear in a Sauna Session

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Just as important as knowing what to wear in a sauna is understanding what not to wear. Certain materials, styles, and garments can hinder your sauna experience and even raise hygiene concerns.

Let's take a closer look at the don'ts of sauna attire.

Avoid heavy, non-breathable materials


Denim is a heavy, dense fabric that doesn't allow your skin to breathe. Wearing jeans or other denim garments in a sauna can be uncomfortable and can hinder the sweating process. The thick material traps heat and moisture against your skin, leading to discomfort and potential skin irritation.


While wool is a great insulator, it's not an ideal choice for sauna attire. Like denim, wool is a dense, heavy fabric that can trap heat and moisture. It can also be scratchy and uncomfortable against your skin, especially in the high temperatures of saunas.

Synthetic fabrics

Some synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, are not breathable and can trap moisture and heat. Synthetic materials can make you feel uncomfortable and can even lead to skin irritation. When choosing what to wear in a sauna, it's best to stick with natural, breathable fabrics.

Steer clear of tight-fitting clothing

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Restricts airflow

Tight clothes can restrict air flow and hinder the sweating process. When your clothes are too snug, they can prevent heat and moisture from escaping your body, leading to discomfort and even overheating.

Increases risk of overheating

In addition to restricting airflow, tight clothing can increase your risk of overheating in a sauna. The snug fit traps heat against your skin, making it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. This can be particularly dangerous if you have certain health conditions or are sensitive to sauna heat.

What to wear in a sauna: skip the street clothes

Wearing street clothes in a sauna can raise hygiene concerns.

The fabrics may not be as clean as dedicated sauna attire, and they can introduce dirt, sweat, and other contaminants into the sauna environment. This can be unpleasant for other sauna users and can even pose health risks.

Respectful sauna etiquette often dictates that you should change out of your street clothes and into appropriate sauna attire. Wearing your everyday clothing in a sauna can be seen as disrespectful to other sauna goers and can make them feel uncomfortable. It's important to follow the dress code and guidelines of the sauna you're visiting.

Regular sauna sessions can also be beneficial for the skin. By avoiding heavy, non-breathable materials, tight-fitting clothing, and street clothes, you'll ensure a more comfortable and hygienic sauna experience.


RELATED TO: How To Use a Sauna Suit to Cut Weight

Accessories and Footwear

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In addition to clothing, sauna accessories, and footwear can play a role in your sauna experience. Let's explore some options to consider when deciding what to wear in a sauna.

Sauna hats or caps

Wearing a sauna hat or cap can help regulate your body temperature and prevent overheating.

Since heat rises, your head is one of the first places to feel the effects of the high sauna temperature. A sauna hat can provide a barrier and help keep you comfortable during your session.

Sauna hats are typically made from lightweight, breathable materials like cotton or wool. They come in various styles, such as beanies, peaked caps, and even traditional felt hats. Choose a style that suits your preferences and provides the level of coverage you desire.

Footwear options

While it's not necessary to wear shoes in a sauna, some people prefer to wear sandals or flip-flops to protect their feet from the hot floor and provide traction on potentially slippery surfaces.


Wearing sandals in a sauna can help protect your feet from the hot floor and provide traction on potentially slippery surfaces. Look for sandals made from water-resistant materials that are easy to clean and quick to dry.


Flip-flops are another popular footwear choice for saunas. They're lightweight, easy to slip on and off, and provide a barrier between your feet and the floor.

However, keep in mind that flip-flops may not offer as much traction as sandals with a more secure fit.

Barefoot considerations

Some people prefer to go barefoot in a sauna, as it allows for maximum contact with the sauna heat and can feel more natural.

However, if you choose to go barefoot, be mindful of hygiene and always sit or lie on a cotton towel to maintain cleanliness.

Special Considerations

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When deciding what to wear in a sauna, there are some special considerations to keep in mind, such as gender-specific guidelines, children's attire, and accommodating religious or cultural beliefs.

What to wear in a sauna: gender-specific guidelines

Men's sauna attire

Men typically wear swim trunks, shorts, or a towel wrapped around their waist in a sauna. In some cultures, such as Scandinavian countries, it's common for men to sauna nude in gender-segregated facilities.

Women's sauna attire

Women often wear swimsuits, bikinis, or loose-fitting shorts and t-shirts in a sauna. Some women prefer to go to sauna naked or wear a towel or sauna wrap for added coverage. As with men, nudity is more common in certain cultures and gender-segregated saunas.

Sauna attire for children

When bringing children to a sauna, it's important to choose appropriate attire that ensures their comfort and safety. Lightweight, breathable clothing like cotton shorts and T-shirts, or a swimming suit for older children, are suitable options. Always supervise children in a sauna and limit their exposure time to prevent overheating.

Accommodating religious or cultural beliefs

Some people may have religious or cultural beliefs that dictate their sauna attire. For example, Muslim women may prefer to wear loose-fitting, full-coverage clothing like a burkini or a long cotton dress. It's important to respect these beliefs and find attire that allows for both comfort and modesty.

Hygiene and Sauna Etiquette

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Maintaining good hygiene and following proper sauna etiquette are essential aspects of the sauna experience. Not only does proper etiquette create a more pleasant environment for everyone, but it also helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

Showering before and after sauna sessions

One of the most important things to do before entering a sauna is to take a shower. This helps remove any sweat, dirt, or oils from your skin, ensuring that you're clean when you enter the clean sauna. After your sauna session, take another shower to rinse off any sweat and cool down your body.

Using a soft towel as a barrier

Always sit or lie on a towel in the sauna to create a barrier between your skin and the bench. This helps maintain hygiene and prevents the spread of bacteria in the sauna benches. If you're using a public sauna, bring your own towel or rent one from the facility.

Washing your sauna attire regularly

To keep your sauna attire hygienic, be sure to wash it regularly. Do not wear dirty clothes. This is especially important if you're using a public sauna where you may be exposed to other people's germs. Wash your sauna clothing after each use in hot water with a mild detergent, and allow it to air dry completely before your next sauna session.


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Can I wear jewelry in a sauna?

It's best to remove metal jewelry before entering a sauna, as the heat can cause the metal to expand and become uncomfortable against your skin. Some metals may tarnish or discolor due to the high humidity in the sauna.

Is it okay to wear a bathing suit in a sauna?

Yes, wear clothes like a bathing suit in a sauna. It is perfectly acceptable, especially in public saunas. Choose a swimsuit made from lightweight, breathable material for optimal comfort.

What should I do if I feel uncomfortable with the dress code?

If you're unsure about the dress code or feel uncomfortable with the level of nudity in a sauna, it's best to speak with the staff or management. They can clarify the guidelines and help you find a solution that makes you feel more at ease. Remember, your comfort and boundaries should always be respected.

How often should I replace my sauna attire?

The lifespan of your sauna attire depends on several factors, such as the quality of the material, how often you use it, and how well you care for it. As a general rule, replace your sauna clothing when you notice signs of wear and tear, such as thinning fabric, holes, or stretched-out elastic. If you use sauna frequently, consider having a few sets of sauna attire to rotate between uses.

Does an infrared sauna penetrate clothing?

Yes, infrared saunas can penetrate clothing to some extent. Infrared saunas emit infrared light waves that can pass through fabrics and be absorbed directly by the skin and tissues beneath. Although infrared saunas can penetrate clothing, it's still recommended to wear minimal, loose-fitting attire made from breathable, natural materials for optimal comfort and infrared absorption. Wearing heavy, restrictive clothing can hinder the effectiveness of the infrared sauna session and may cause discomfort due to overheating.

Can I wear gym clothes in a sauna?

While you can wear gym clothes in a sauna, it's not always the most comfortable or practical choice. Workout clothing is often designed for active wear and may not be the best suited for the hot, humid environment of a sauna.

What is a sauna suit?

A sauna suit is a garment designed to be worn during exercise to increase body temperature and promote sweating. Typically made from waterproof, non-breathable materials like PVC or nylon, sauna suits trap too much heat and moisture against the skin. It's essential to note that sauna suits can be dangerous if not used properly. They can cause dehydration, overheating, and heat-related illnesses. It's crucial to stay well-hydrated, listen to your body, and avoid wearing sauna suits for extended periods or in hot environments.

While sauna suits may have some applications for athletes, they are not typically recommended for general sauna use, as they can be uncomfortable and hinder the natural sweating process. For traditional sauna sessions, it's best to stick with lightweight, breathable clothing as mentioned in the blog post about what to wear in a sauna.


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In Summary

The key to a successful sauna experience is finding attire that promotes comfort, allows your body to sweat freely, and respects the guidelines of the facility you're visiting. By keeping these dos, don'ts, and essential tips in mind, you'll be well-prepared to enjoy the many benefits of sauna use while feeling confident and at ease in your chosen attire.



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