Naked, Just a Towel, or Clothed? The Complete Guide on What to Wear in a Sauna (2024)

what to wear in sauna

If you ask a Finn what to wear in a sauna, they will tell you to just go naked. In fact, many Finnish people bathe naked even in public saunas. But some spas or gyms don’t allow going in the sauna without proper sauna attire.

What to wear in a sauna or a steam room, if you can’t or don’t want to go naked?

Check the sauna rules before going in the sauna naked. The best options to wear in a sauna are a clean bathing suit or a sauna towel. If you want to wear something more, a clean cotton t-shirt or a bathrobe can be good options to wear in a sauna. Rubber slippers or shower sandals are also acceptable to keep your feet clean.

In this article, I will guide you through the best options to what to wear to a sauna, what to avoid, and other helpful tips!

What Do You Wear in a Sauna? Options for Home and Public Saunas

Before going into the sauna!

Proper sauna etiquette says you should always shower or rinse off before going in the sauna. Wearing clean clothes is also a key thing.

The best sauna outfits are:

1. Swimsuit

Yes, you can wear a swimsuit in the sauna.

In fact, a swimsuit is my personal favorite choice to wear to a sauna if I need to or feel like wearing something.

Just make sure your swimsuit is clean.

Some bathing suits might be made from a material that is uncomfortable in the sauna. Especially some women’s bathing suits might contain metal parts that heat up and can hurt your skin (but not enough to cause burns).

Bathing suits made from synthetic materials can also be uncomfortable if the material doesn’t let your skin breathe.

Note: batching suits made from PVC or Spandex materials are generally recommended to be avoided.

While almost any bathing suit is an okay choice to wear in a sauna, the best option is to get a loose-fitting swimsuit made of natural fibers, like cotton.

2. Towel

A clean towel is an obvious choice to wear in a sauna.

You can simply wrap a towel around your body. Towels made from cotton are again the best option.

The towel will also catch your sweat and help you keep the sauna clean.

Tip: Even if you are wearing something else, using a towel as a seat cover is always a good idea. This protects your behind if the seat is super hot. There are also specific sauna seat covers available.

Check my recommendations for sauna towels

3. Cotton and Linen Clothing

Loose-fitting cotton t-shirts, bathrobes, and other clothing made of cotton are the best materials for sauna clothes.

Linen is another very common material used in the sauna. Especially in Finland, all the sauna seat covers and towels are made from linen or a mix of linen and cotton.

These natural fibers don’t trap heat and moisture and they let your skin breathe.

4. Footwear

Should I Wear Shoes to a Sauna? The answer to this question may depend on the specific sauna you’re visiting.

If you’re concerned about hygiene, you can bring along a pair of rubber flip-flops or shower sandals to wear in the sauna.

But in general, it’s best to leave your shoes at the door when entering a sauna. The heat and moisture inside a sauna can make for a breeding ground for bacteria, and shoes can track in dirt and other contaminants from outside.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your feet are clean before going barefoot in a public space.

Should I Go to Sauna Naked or with Clothes?

The sauna is a great place to relax and unwind, but what do you wear in a sauna? Is it better to go naked or with clothes?

In Finland, where I grew up, the most popular option is to go to the sauna naked. Even in most public saunas. Saunas are a sacred place for Finnish people (and other nationals), and nudity is never sexualized in the sauna.

However, not all cultures accept nudity in the same way. The gym or spa rules might also strictly forbid you from going in the sauna without proper sauna clothes.

There are pros and cons to both options.

Going naked allows you to fully experience the heat of the sauna. Wearing clothes can protect your skin from direct heat and can also make you feel more comfortable if you’re self-conscious about your body or the rules of the sauna require wearing clothes.

Ultimately, the decision of what to wear in a sauna is up to you. If you’re comfortable going naked, then go for it! If you prefer to wear clothes, that’s fine too.

What to Wear in a Steam Room?

The best options to wear in a steam room are:

  • Clean towel
  • Loose-fitting cotton or linen clothing
  • Bathrobe

You can also go in the steam room naked if the spa or sauna rules allow that.

What to Wear in an Infrared Sauna?

While going to the infrared sauna naked can be an option, some saunas and spas prohibit this.

The best clothes to wear in an infrared sauna are loose-fitting cotton t-shirts or bathrobes.

A towel wrapped around your body is another great option. A towel will soak up any sweat and it will keep the seat cleaner.

What Not to Wear in a Sauna and Things to Avoid

We covered how to dress for sauna, but are there things you should avoid from wearing?

The worst things to wear in a sauna are:

1. Workout Clothes

Are you planning on going to the sauna right after your workout? Well, take a shower and change into something clean first!

2. Other Sweaty or Dirty Clothes

Dirty or dusty clothes will make for an uncomfortable sauna experience. Dirty or already sweaty clothes are to be avoided.

3. Sauna Suits, Sauna Belts

Contrary to the name, sauna suits and sauna belts are not to be worn inside the sauna.

Sauna suits, or rubber suits, are usually made from a waterproof material that traps heat and sweat. They are meant to be worn as workout garments to make you sweat more. Don’t wear one in the sauna!

4. Jewelry and Watches

Metal heats up in the sauna and can hurt you. Although, it’s usually not going to cause burns, wearing jewelry in the sauna can be uncomfortable.

Wearing a watch in a sauna can also cause it to heat and hurt your skin, and if your watch is not waterproof, the steam and humidity in the sauna can cause it to break.

5. AirPods, Phones, and Other Electronics

Wearing Airpods in a sauna can cause them to overheat or drain the battery faster.

Taking a phone in the sauna can likewise cause it to overheat or break.

It’s best to leave all your electronics in the locker room.

6. Creams, Lotions, Oils

It’s best to put on lotions and creams on your skin after the sauna.

Moisturizers and oils on your skin might clog up your pores.

Also, wearing creams while sweating in the sauna can be uncomfortable and leave lotion stains on the seats, which is can be a bit gross for the people using the sauna after you.

Conclusion: Choose Sauna Clothes Based on Your Preference and the Sauna Rules

Going naked is something to try out in your private home sauna or if the public sauna rules allow it.

If going naked is not an option for you, you can always wear a bathing suit or loose-fitting cotton clothing.

What’s your preference to wear in the sauna? Let me know in the comments if you have questions or feedback about how to dress for the sauna!

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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