what to wear in a sauna

What to Wear in a Sauna for Maximum Comfort and Safety

Stepping into a sauna means exposing yourself to intense dry heat ranging from 160-200°F. With such high temperatures, it’s important to wear the right sauna attire for both comfort and safety.

What To Wear In A Sauna For Maximum Comfort

The key is choosing breathable, lightweight fabrics that won’t cause you to overheat, while providing coverage as needed based on the sauna type and rules. Read on for a full guide on What to Wear in a Sauna and how to dress appropriately for your next sauna session.

Should You Wear Clothing in a Sauna?

In a private sauna, clothing is optional. However, public saunas and health clubs require you to wear swimsuits or towels. Infrared saunas also necessitate clothing for safety. When it comes to enjoying the benefits of a sauna, understanding the optimal sauna duration is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned sauna enthusiast or a newcomer, finding the right balance between heat exposure and relaxation time is key.

The benefits of wearing lightweight garments in a sauna include:

  • Allows the skin to breathe and sweat more efficiently
  • Prevents burns from intense heat or wood benches
  • Provides coverage around other sauna-goers
  • Keeps the sauna clean and hygienic for all users

So wearing something in a public sauna is both comfortable and courteous. Just choose the right fabrics as we’ll explain.

Choose Lightweight, Breathable Fabrics

The cardinal rule is avoiding anything that could cause overheating or skin irritation. Stick to:

  • Lightweight cottons
  • Breathable linens
  • Bathing suits
  • Swim trunks
  • Towels

These airy, moisture-wicking materials allow ample airflow to your skin to cool and ventilate.

Avoid non-breathables like:

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Spandex
  • PVC
  • Rubber

Synthetic fabrics or plastic materials trap heat close to your body, risking sweat rashes, burns, and overheating.

Why Wear a Towel or Swimsuit?

For public saunas, a towel or swimsuit are your best bets. Towels absorb sweat, stay secure when moving, and keep the wood benches dry.

Swimsuits also check the boxes for breathable and quick-drying performance. Some public saunas even mandate swimwear.

Benefits of these options:

  • Made for water, sweat, and heat
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Provide coverage for comfort
  • Easy to wash after saunas
  • Prevent contact burns on wood benches

A towel or swimsuit offers protection and absorption without sacrificing air circulation.

What About Infrared Saunas?

Infrared saunas don’t get as hot (usually 120-140°F), but you still perspire at lower temps. Most experts recommend wearing at least a swimsuit or shorts and tee in infrared saunas.

Benefits include:

  • Prevent excessive sweating on the infrared panels
  • Absorb sweat instead of it pooling below you
  • Provide coverage alongside other sauna users
  • Avoid skin irritation from direct infrared rays

So while a towel or swimsuit is optional in a private infrared sauna, it’s recommended for comfort, hygiene and safety.

Other Sauna Clothing Tips

  • Choose darker towels and swimsuits – lighter colors show sweat more visibly
  • Wear shoes or sandals to avoid foot burns and prevent fungi
  • Don’t wear jewelry – it can heat up and burn skin
  • Put long hair in a bun to avoid excessive sweating on your neck
  • Shower before and after sauna sessions

By dressing appropriately and taking other precautions, you’ll stay comfortable and safe in the extreme sauna heat.

Enjoy Sauna Benefits with Proper Attire

A sauna’s intense dry heat offers relaxation, skin purification, sore muscle relief, and other benefits. To enjoy your sauna session fully:

  • Stick to breathable fabrics like cottons and linens
  • Wear swimsuits or towels in public/infrared saunas
  • Avoid non-breathable synthetics that trap heat
  • Use shoes, hair ties, and other accessories cautiously

Following sauna attire best practices enhances comfort, safety, and the overall wellness benefits. With the right lightweight and airy clothing choices, you can make the most of your therapeutic sauna time.


1. What is the difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna?
A traditional sauna uses heat to warm the air around you, leading to high temperatures that make you sweat. An infrared sauna, on the other hand, uses infrared rays to warm your body directly.

2. Are there any benefits of using an infrared sauna over a traditional sauna?
Yes, many claim that infrared saunas offer unique health benefits, including deeper penetration into the skin, potentially aiding in detoxification and muscle relaxation.

3. I have a home sauna. How can I ensure maximum comfort and safety?
Ensure you have a thermometer to monitor the high temperatures. Wear minimal clothing, ideally something breathable like cotton clothes, and keep a cotton towel handy. Avoid tight clothes, and ensure the sauna is clean before each use.

4. Is there a specific sauna etiquette when visiting a public sauna?
Sauna etiquette can vary by region. In some places, it’s customary to go to the sauna naked, while in others, wearing a swimsuit or wrapping in a towel is preferred. Always check with the establishment before using a public sauna.

5. What should I wear in an infrared sauna?
Choose to wear as little clothing as possible to allow the infrared rays to effectively penetrate your skin. If you’re not comfortable being naked in a sauna, you can wear a bathing suit, preferably made of breathable material, or a loose cotton clothing.

6. Are there any sauna accessories that can enhance my sauna experience?
Certainly! Accessories like a sauna hat can protect your head from the heat, while specialized sauna benches provide comfort. Some also find that certain essential oils enhance their sauna experience.

7. What should I avoid wearing in the sauna?
It’s best to avoid wearing clothing items made of PVC or tight clothes that don’t let your skin breathe. Clothing like synthetic swimsuits or underwear might become uncomfortable due to the heat.

8. Can I wear a towel in the sauna?
Absolutely. Many choose to wear a towel wrapped around them for hygiene and comfort. It’s especially useful if you’re not comfortable wearing swimwear in the sauna or going sauna naked.

9. Are steam rooms and saunas the same?
While both promote sweating, they’re different. Saunas provide dry heat, often using wood or electric heaters. Steam rooms, on the other hand, generate moist heat.

10. What are the health benefits of the sauna?
Regular sauna bathing has been associated with numerous benefits, including improved circulation, relief from muscle aches, better skin health, and even potential cardiovascular benefits.

11. Do I need to keep the sauna at a specific temperature for best benefits?
While the optimal temperature can vary based on personal comfort, most traditional saunas are kept between 150°F and 195°F. Infrared saunas typically operate at a slightly lower temperature.

Closing Thoughts: Best Practices for a Relaxing Sauna Session

Ultimately, the best clothing for a sauna session is what makes you most comfortable while ensuring safety. Whether you prefer a swimsuit, cotton clothes, or going nude, the main thing is to wear something that allows your skin to breathe and helps you enjoy the full benefits of your sauna session.

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