How to Clean a Sauna? Tips for Keeping Your Sauna Clean and Which Products to Use to Clean It

cleaning a sauna

Saunas are a great way to relax, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold if they are not cleaned properly. Here are some tips on how to clean a sauna and which products to use to keep it clean.

The best tips for keeping your sauna clean are to take a shower before entering the sauna and use a seat cover. Keep the heater on for a while after the sauna session, so that the sauna dries well. It is also a good idea to vacuum the sauna floor regularly when vacuuming other rooms in the house.

Next, I’ll walk you through the steps to properly clean your sauna and my best tips for keeping the sauna clean without much effort. Read on!

Tip: See my recommendations for the best sauna cleaners and wood treatment

How to Clean a Sauna

Whether you have a traditional Finnish-style sauna, an infrared sauna, a barrel sauna, or a portable sauna, the steps for cleaning your sauna are the same.

You can keep your sauna clean by taking a shower before going in and using a seat cover to catch the sweat and other dirt. You can also simply rinse the seats with water after you are done with your sauna session.

A thorough cleaning is needed once or twice a year.

Steps for Thorough Sauna Cleaning

Important tips before getting started

1. Avoid cleaning agents containing chlorine. Chlorine can be absorbed into the wood and can be released into the air when the sauna is heated.

2. Don’t pour detergents directly on the wooden surfaces. Instead, mix the detergents in a bucket of warm water according to the packaging instructions.

Here are the steps for cleaning a sauna:

  1. Do not clean the sauna when it’s hot so that the detergents do not dry too quickly on the surfaces.
  2. Check the condition of the stones in the stove and replace the damaged stones with new ones. (see more tips about replacing the stones below)
  3. Move loose furniture out of the way to make it easier to reach under the seats.
  4. Vacuum or brush dust and lose debris from floors and seats. A long-handled brush works best for the task.
  5. Also, brush the ceiling and walls if you can see dust or cobwebs.
  6. Wet the wood surfaces with warm water to open the pores of the wood. Plain water can be enough, but once or twice a year you should use an all-purpose cleaner suitable for wood or you can buy a specific sauna cleaner for $10-$100.
  7. When washing wooden surfaces, brush along the grain of the wood. A soft brush is the best tool for this job.
  8. If you need to wash the walls of the sauna as well, use warm water and detergent suitable for wooden surfaces. Work your way from the top toward the floor. Rinse the walls with cold water to wash away detergent residues.
  9. Also, clean the floor drain. Hair, dust, and debris might get into the drain and cause a bad odor or cause blockage.
  10. Wash, rinse, and dry the floor.
  11. Wash the seat covers, pillow, and towels that you use in the sauna.
  12. After cleaning, you can keep the sauna on for a short while so that the sauna dries.

Now it’s time to enjoy your clean sauna!

Safety tip

Do not dry laundry in the sauna. It is a fire safety risk.

Best Product for Keeping Your Sauna Clean

You don’t need any special equipment for keeping your sauna clean.

You can do most of the cleaning with:

  • A vacuum cleaner or a brush
  • A soft brush for cleaning the wooden surfaces
  • An all-purpose cleaner suitable for wood
  • A bucket for water

There are also many sauna cleaners availableOpens in a new tab. that are specifically meant for cleaning the wooden surfaces in a sauna that often leave your sauna smelling amazing.

Inspect the Sauna Rocks Once Per Year

Using the right stones heats the sauna efficiently and thus saves energy. However, the sauna rocks wear out or break over time, and inspecting the stones is part of cleaning the sauna.

If you see some crumbles of rocks underneath the sauna heater, or you notice the heat and steam in your sauna are getting weaker, these are signs that it’s time to inspect the sauna stones.

  1. The sauna heater stones should be inspected annually and broken, fragile stones should be replaced with new ones. 
  2. Remove the cold stones from the stove into a large bucket or basket.
  3. Take another container next to you, and go through the stones one by one.
  4. Check the sauna rocks by gently tapping them together. Remove the crumbling or cracked stones.
  5. Buy suitable sauna stoves from a hardware store, online from AmazonOpens in a new tab., or from a sauna supplier. Don’t use river rocks or other natural rocks, because river rocks have a small chance of exploding because some water might be locked inside the rocks. Natural stones can also be more brittle and store less heat, which raises the sauna’s electricity costs. Some types of rocks can even cause the sauna heater to rust.
  6. Rinse the stones from the stone dust before putting them back on the sauna heater.
  7. Put the rocks back on the heater leaving some gaps in between the stones. You should not stack them too tightly so that air and water can flow through.
  8. The stones must completely cover the heating elements. But don’t create an unnecessarily high pile of rocks either.
  9. In rare cases, new rocks might cause bad smells when heated for the first time. Turn the sauna on after changing the stones to avoid nasty smells when you want to go to the sauna to relax.

Recycle the Old Stones

Don’t just dumb your old sauna stoves in nature.

Individual brittle rocks unsuitable for the stove can be disposed of with mixed waste.

If there are a lot of stones to be disposed of, they must be taken to the recycling station.

Old stove stones can be used to build a flower or herb bed or for other decorations in your garden.


Keeping your sauna clean is pretty easy.

If you take a shower before entering the sauna (to avoid sweat and dirt from your skin dripping on the seat) and using a seat cover to catch your sweat are the easiest ways to keep your sauna clean. You can also rinse the seats regularly with warms water.

A thorough cleaning is needed once or twice a year, and then you can vacuum the sauna and wash the surfaces with a suitable detergent.

Let me know in the comments if you found this article helpful! If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them below.

Jussi Yli-Korhonen

Jussi is an online marketing expert, an entrepreneur, and the founder of Jussi is a sauna-loving guy from Finland, the birthplace of saunas. The traditional wood-fired saunas are his favorite but he's visited dozens of different types of saunas in over 20 countries.

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