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How to Clean a Sauna: A Step-by-Step Guide

Stepping into a sauna, you're embraced by soothing warmth, and stress seems to melt away. However, beneath this serene surface lies a critical aspect that should not be overlooked: sauna cleanliness! Learn the ins and outs of sauna cleanliness, hygiene, and maintenance in this comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to clean a sauna. 

A clean sauna is not only about appearances; it's a matter of safety, hygiene, and preserving your sauna investment for years of enjoyment. 

Whether you have a traditional wood-burning sauna, an advanced infrared model, or something in between, regular cleaning is the key to maintaining a healthy, inviting environment. 

Read on to learn how to clean a sauna in a few simple steps. 

Overview of Saunas

Saunas come in several forms, from traditional wood-fired saunas to modern infrared and steam versions, and each type of sauna has its unique characteristics and cleaning requirements. By knowing the kind of sauna you have, you can tailor your cleaning approach for the best results. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of each type:

  • Traditional Saunas: These saunas use heated rocks or stoves to generate dry heat. Water can be poured onto the rocks to create steam.
  • Infrared Saunas: Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat, which directly warms the body without heating the surrounding air.
  • Steam Saunas: Also known as steam rooms, these saunas produce moist heat by creating steam. They are often found in spa settings.

Why Regular Sauna Cleaning Matters

Maintaining a clean sauna might seem like a mundane task, but its significance extends beyond aesthetics. Here, we delve into why regular sauna cleaning is of utmost importance:

Health and Safety Benefits

  • Preventing Bacteria and Germs: Saunas create a hot and humid environment, making them susceptible to the growth of bacteria and germs. Regular cleaning ensures you and your guests enjoy a hygienic sauna experience, reducing the risk of infections.
  • Respiratory Health: A clean sauna means cleaner air. Dust, allergens, and contaminants can accumulate in saunas, potentially causing respiratory issues. Regular cleaning helps maintain good air quality.
  • Fire Safety: Saunas often have heating elements or stoves. Removing debris and flammable materials minimizes the risk of fires, ensuring your safety.

Prolonging Your Sauna's Lifespan

  • Preventing Corrosion: Moisture and sweat can lead to rust and corrosion in saunas. Routine cleaning helps protect the structural integrity of your sauna.
  • Preserving Appearance: Regular cleaning maintains the aesthetic appeal of your sauna, preventing stains and discoloration.
  • Avoiding Costly Repairs: Neglecting cleaning can lead to more extensive damage over time, resulting in costly repairs or even the need for a replacement.

Essential Tools and Supplies

To effectively clean your sauna, you'll need the right tools and supplies at your disposal. Here's a list of the essential items you'll require for a successful sauna cleaning session:

Sauna Cleaning Supplies

  • Sauna Cleaner: Choose a sauna-specific cleaner or a mild, non-abrasive, non-toxic cleaner suitable for sauna surfaces. Avoid harsh chemicals that may leave harmful residues.
  • Microfiber Cloths: These are gentle on sauna surfaces and effectively capture dirt and grime. Avoid using abrasive materials that could damage wood or other materials.
  • Soft Bristle Brush: A soft-bristle brush is useful for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas and crevices, especially in wooden saunas.
  • Bucket and Mop: For cleaning sauna floors, you'll need a bucket of water and a mop with a microfiber or soft mop head.
  • Spray Bottle: Apply cleaner evenly and in controlled amounts.

Personal Protective Equipment 

  • Gloves: Protect your hands from cleaning chemicals and potential contaminants.
  • Safety Goggles: Guard your eyes against splashes of cleaning solutions.

Sauna Accessories

  • Wooden Ladle and Bucket: These are often used to pour water over sauna stones in traditional saunas.
  • Towels: Have towels on hand for wiping down surfaces after cleaning.
  • Sweeping Brush: Useful for sweeping sauna floors before mopping.

Sauna Pre-Cleaning Preparations

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's essential to prepare your sauna properly. This phase ensures your safety and sets the stage for an effective cleaning session.

Safety Precautions

  • Turn Off the Sauna: Ensure that the sauna is powered off and cooled down before starting any cleaning activities. This prevents accidental burns or heat-related injuries.
  • Ventilation: Open windows or doors to ventilate the sauna area. Good airflow helps dissipate any cleaning fumes and aids in drying the sauna after cleaning.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Don gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself from cleaning chemicals and potential splashes.

Remove Belongings and Accessories

  • Clear the Area: Take out any towels, cushions, or personal items from the sauna. A clutter-free space allows for a thorough clean.
  • Sauna Stones: If you have a traditional sauna with sauna stones, remove them carefully and set them aside. These will be cleaned separately.
  • Sauna Accessories: Wooden ladles, buckets, and any other accessories should be taken out of the sauna for cleaning as well.

Step-by-Step Sauna Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

Cleaning your sauna doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right approach, you can maintain a clean and inviting environment for relaxation. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean your sauna effectively:

Cleaning the Sauna Interior

  • Walls and Benches:
    • Start at the top and work your way down.
    • Use a soft-bristle brush or microfiber dampened with sauna cleaner to wipe down walls and benches.
    • Pay special attention to any stains or spots. Stubborn stains may require a bit of gentle scrubbing.
    • Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.
  • Flooring:
    • Sweep the floor to get rid of any loose dirt or debris.
    • Mop the floor with a solution of sauna cleaner and warm water. Ensure the mop is damp.
    • Thoroughly rinse the sauna’s floor with clean water to remove any residue.
    • Dry the floor completely to prevent moisture-related issues.
  • Ceiling:
    • Use an extendable duster or a cloth on a long-handled mop to reach the ceiling.
    • Wipe away dust and cobwebs gently.

Cleaning Sauna Stones (If Applicable)

Carefully take out the sauna stones from the stove or heater, and then:

  • Rinse the stones with warm water to get rid of any loose debris.
  • Place them in a bucket of water and sauna cleaner solution.
  • Scrub the stones gently with a soft brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly and let them air dry.

Cleaning Sauna Heaters and Vents

Wipe down the heater with a dry cloth to remove any dust. Ensure no cleaning solution or moisture comes into contact with the heating elements.

Next, use a soft brush or cloth to clean any vents or openings in the sauna. Remove dust and debris for better air circulation.

Cleaning the Sauna Door and Handles

Sauna doors and handles often carry bacteria and germs. You need to wipe down the sauna door and handles with a damp cloth and sauna cleaner, and then dry them thoroughly. 

Wrapping Up

Cleanliness isn't just about aesthetics; it's the foundation of a healthy and enduring sauna experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you've learned how to preserve the sanctuary that your sauna represents.

Remember, whether you own a traditional wood-burning sauna, a cutting-edge infrared model, or any other type, the principles of cleanliness apply universally. 


Regular cleaning not only ensures your safety by preventing bacteria and germs but also extends the lifespan of your sauna, saving you from costly repairs.