Do Saunas Require a Lot of Maintenance? (Complete Guide)

sauna maintenance

Saunas generally require minimal maintenance. Regularly cleaning the sauna and using the sauna properly mean less maintenance work in the future.

Sauna maintenance includes mainly cleaning the sauna, inspecting the heater and sauna stones, and replacing any wooden parts that may need to be replaced.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your sauna and keeping your sauna in good condition with minimal effort.

#1 – Keep the Sauna Clean

Wipe down the interior and exterior of the sauna regularly with a damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as these can damage the wood or other materials.

Read my complete guide about how to clean a sauna for more info!

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

#2 – Air Out the Sauna After Use

The sauna is a wet and humid environment, which can be a breeding ground for mold. If you leave your sauna wet for long periods of time, the wooden structures can start to turn dark or even begin to rot.

Always dry out your sauna after use. The easiest way to do it is to wipe down excess moisture, open the windows or the door and let the steam air out.

The residual heat is usually enough to dry out the sauna, but depending on the type of sauna you have, it might be a good idea to keep the sauna heater on for 10-15 extra minutes after a sauna session to let the residual heat dry out the sauna room.

Make sure the sauna’s ventilation system is functioning correctly. This will help to keep the air fresh and prevent the buildup of excess moisture.

#3 – Check the Heater and Stones

Check the heater for any signs of damage and check if the stones need to be replaced.

It’s good to inspect the heater at least once per year.

Electric sauna:

  • Make sure the wires and electric parts are covered and protected
  • Take out the stones to inspect the heating elements
  • Use a sauna heater cleaner suitable for stainless steel to clean the heater

Wood-burning heater:

  • Empty out the ashtray
  • Inspect the heater for any rust or holes in the metal parts
  • Check for rust or holes in the chimney
  • Use a sauna heater cleaner suitable for stainless steel to clean the heater

Infrared sauna:

  • Make sure the wires and electric parts are covered and protected
  • Use a sauna heater cleaner suitable for stainless steel to clean the heater

Sauna stones:

#4 – Maintain the Wooden Surfaces

Humidity can cause wooden parts to swell, darken, or even rot. Caring for the wooden surfaces is an essential part of sauna maintenance.

If taken care of well, the wooden surfaces and structures can last about 10 years without any need to replace the wooden parts.

Things to look for in the wooden parts:

  • Check for wood that has gone dark or is starting to rot, and replace those parts
  • Make sure there are no loose nails or screws where people can scratch themselves on
  • The humidity may cause wooden parts to swell, so check if the door and windows need to be adjusted

Deciduous wood, like cedar, aspen, and basswood is the best choice for the sauna seats because of the look and feel of the wood. For the structural parts, you can opt for the cheaper coniferous woods like pine and spruce, which typically handle the humidity better.

#5 – Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions (But Use Common Sense)

The manufacturer of your sauna will likely provide specific instructions for maintaining and caring for your sauna. Follow these instructions to ensure the sauna is functioning properly and safely.

Some manufacturers do try to upsell their own cleaning products or sauna accessories. Special sauna cleaners may often be unnecessary since basically any non-toxic cleaner for wooden surfaces will work just fine. Manufacturers’ own brands are also often more expensive.

Check my recommendations for sauna wood treatment products.

#6 – Other Miscellaneous Sauna Maintenance Tips

Here are a few more things you may need to maintain in the sauna, and some extra tips!

  • Some essential sauna accessories, like the water bucket and seat covers, may need replacing
  • Sauna lights and light bulbs need to be changed when broken
  • The exterior of the sauna needs to be maintained as well. For example, the roof or porch may need some fixes

How Much Does Sauna Maintenance Cost?

If your sauna needs more extensive repairs, or if you simply would like an expert to come and look at your sauna, it will cost you anywhere from $50 – $150 per hour to have a technician come and inspect your sauna.

The cost of running a home sauna is between $150 and $500 per year.

Was this article helpful or do you have more questions? Let me know in the comments!

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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