What to Wear in The Sauna: For Comfort & Better Results

Looking to hop in the sauna but not sure what to wear?

I feel you.

Deciding what to wear in a sauna can be confusing. Especially when you want to reap all the benefits of the sauna, but aren’t sure what is good, bad, or even acceptable!

But don’t sweat it (pun intended)! In this article, I’ll guide you on exactly what to wear (and not wear) in the sauna.

From swimsuits to sauna suits, I’ve got you covered on the best sauna attire for men, women, and everyone in between.

By the time you are done reading this article, you’ll know exactly what to wear.

Let’s get into it!

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on breathable, lightweight fabrics (cotton, bamboo, etc). You'll want clothes that don't cause overheating or chafing when things get sweaty.
  • Steer clear of synthetics and tight clothes (spandex, polyester,etc.) Stick to loose natural fabrics and practical pieces to avoid discomfort.
  • Avoid jewelry, tight underwear, makeup, and creams.
  • Accessories enhance the experience. Use hats, towels, robes and more for optimal comfort.
  • Avoid clothes that won't work with sweat. Heavy fabrics that trap moisture create an unpleasant sauna situation.

What Should You Wear in The Sauna?

Clothes llayed out on a bed

Firstly, the material of whatever you wear should be a lightweight and breathable material. It should also be able to absorb moisture well so it can dry quickly. 

When it comes to saunas, choosing what to wear comes down to three main factors:

1. Comfort

2. Practicality

3. Safety

You want breathable, lightweight fabrics that won’t cause you to overheat or chafe.

Your best bets are loose, flowing garments like cotton shirts, natural fiber swimsuits, towels, robes, sauna suits, and sandals.

Avoid anything tight or restrictive. Also steer clear of jewelry, synthetic fabrics, lotions, and heavy perfumes. The sauna heat can react poorly with those.

Public saunas may have  specific rules about attire, so check their guidelines before going full birthday suit on them.

But in general, you can’t go wrong with natural, light fabrics that give your skin room to breathe. A swimsuit or towel alone does the trick for many. Others prefer a loose tee with shorts. 

With the right sauna-friendly clothes, you can fully relax and reap all those soothing, detoxifying benefits. The last thing you want is discomfort from what you’re wearing.

So, once again, focus on loose, natural fabrics and practical pieces that make sweating a pleasure, not a pain.

What Should Women Wear in The Sauna?

girl in sauna
  • Loose T-shirt/ Tank made with natural materials/fibers
  • Swimsuit from natural materials/fibers
  • A towel wrapped under armpits
  • Cotton Kimono/ Loose dress
  • Sauna Suit 
  • Spa gown

First, it depends on the sauna.

If you’re using a public sauna, make sure you adhere to their rules and guidelines. They’ll usually clarify what they consider appropriate attire. So whether they require clothing or not, follow the rules and be respectful.

That being said, if it’s a home sauna or a more casual public one, you’ve got options.

You can go au naturel and wear your birthday suit. Or rock some lightweight, breathable clothing if you prefer a little coverage.

You can also opt for a towel alone or a swimsuit. When it comes to a towel, use one that covers all of the areas that will be exposed to the wood – you don’t want to burn your skin!

If you choose to wear a swimsuit, make sure the material fits the criteria we previously discussed. Make sure it’s not PVC material – PVC will restrict your body, secrete toxins, and may even melt. Natural fibers like cotton and bamboo are always safe bets. If you choose to wear a two-piece, bring a towel to sit on!

Now, if you want to wear a more “normal” fit, you can go ahead and just use a loose cotton tee or tank and pair it with some cotton shorts!

Ladies, be sure to avoid any tight underwear! And if you decide to go into the sauna with a bra (personally don’t recommend), be sure there is no underwire – it will burn.

Some girls also opt for sauna suits! You don’t have to worry about material with those. Sauna suits can help you sweat more, making you feel more refreshed afterward. They are also a very optimized piece of clothing for the sauna.

What Should Men Wear in The Sauna?

  • Loose T-shirt/ Tank made with natural materials/fibers
  • Swimsuit/ Gym shorts made from natural materials/fibers
  • Wear just a towel wrapped around the waist
  • Sauna Kilt
  • Sauna Suit 

Again, make sure you adhere to the specific sauna rules depending on the sauna you are going to. 

I cannot emphasize it enough. Make sure the material absorbs moisture and is breathable. 

You can use a towel wrapped around your waist, be careful with your back though as sauna benches can be hot. 

Also, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, it can be super uncomfortable and make you feel claustrophobic. If you don’t feel comfortable using a towel or swimsuit alone, You can use a loose-fitting cotton T-shirt and loose shorts. 

On the other hand, if you go with the swimming trunks, make sure they are not spandex, polyester, or nylon. These can get extremely wet, heavy, and uncomfortable, and will restrict blood flow.

Again, most people opt out of underwear due to yo the impracticality and discomfort of them in the sauna.

Sauna suits for men are also a very common sauna attire.

What To Avoid Wearing In A Sauna

We’ve covered all the appropriate sauna attire, now let’s look at what to avoid wearing for maximum comfort and safety when using the sauna.

Don’t Wear:

  • Jewelry: This can be uncomfortable, restrict blood flow, ruin the jewelry, and burn your skin.
  • Tight Underwear/Bra: This can be unhygienic, uncomfortable, and also restrict your blood flow.
  • Lotion/Makeup/Creams: These can have adverse reactions to the sweat and heat causing allergic reactions, clogging your pores, and causing breakouts.
  • Dirty gym clothes /Tight clothing: This is super unhygienic and bad for your health. Also bad sauna etiquette. 
  • PVC-material clothing/ Anything with synthetic fibers: These can melt, secrete toxins, doesn’t allow your skin to breathe, and are extremely uncomfortable.
  • Shoes: Dirty: Shoes in a sauna are just plain uncomfortable and not proper sauna etiquette.
  • Strong Perfume: Due to the heat and sweat, the alcohol in the perfume may have a negative reaction causing allergic reactions. The perfume can also intensify, ruin your sauna experience, and make it hard for others to stay in the sauna as well.

Best Sauna Accessories for Improved Comfort & Results:

inside a sauna

When it comes to saunas, it’s important to know what to wear, and what to bring bring with you to maximize the benefits. We covered everything when it comes to what to wear in the sauna.

Now, let’s cover the right accessories that can help you relax, unwind, and make the most of your sauna session.

Sauna suits: Sauna suits help induce more sweating, reduce water weight, and aid greater detoxification.

Sauna hats: Bring a sauna hat to protect your head and hair from the intense dry heat.

Essential oils: Essential oils, especially eucalyptus, can enhance breathing and provide aromatherapy benefits.

Seat cushion/ Mat: This can help with hard seating, prevent bad posture, and improve overall comfort.

Extra Towel: Pack a towel or two to sit/lie on and wipe sweat off periodically.

Sandals: Non-slip or wooden sandals are perfect for walking around the sauna area comfortably.

Hair tie/ Clip/ Headband: This is pretty self-explanatory. It can help remove hair from the face and be overall more comfortable.

Water bottle: Stay hydrated with a water bottle and electrolyte beverages while in the sauna. This is super important as you lose a ton of water through sweat! 

Reading materials: Reading materials like books or magazines can provide distraction and entertainment during the sauna.

Robe: Having a lightweight robe to put on after your sauna session can help you stay warm.

Long Story Short

Visiting a sauna can be an amazing and therapeutic experience. But to really enjoy your sauna experience, you gotta learn what to wear. As seasoned sauna users know, the best things to wear are loose, breathable, natural fabrics. Avoid anything tight or synthetic that could lead to discomfort.

It’s best to wear flowy cotton, linens, swimsuits, robes, sauna suits and the like. Keep it simple and practical. Check the rules of public saunas and lean towards minimalism. The heat will have you sweating up a storm, so wear pieces that work with that, not against it.

At the end of the steamy day, dressing for sauna success is about two things – practicality and comfort.

Don’t overthink it.

Stick to light, natural fabrics that let your skin breathe easily. Then you can relax and unwind! 

What to Wear In The Sauna: FAQ

What should I wear in an infrared sauna?

You can wear something comfortable like cotton clothes or a bathing suit. It’s up to your personal preference. It’s really the sam attire that you would use in a classic (Finnish) sauna.

Can I bring my phone into the sauna?

It’s not recommended to bring your phone into the sauna. High heat and humidity can damage electronic devices.

Is it necessary to wear a towel in the sauna?

While wearing a towel in the sauna is not necessary, it is a common practice for comfort and hygiene. The towel can be used to sit on or cover yourself between sauna sessions. It can also prevent burning from the hot wood.

Are sauna hats necessary?

Sauna hats are not necessary, but they can be beneficial. They help protect your head and hair from excessive heat and can enhance your sauna experience.

What are the benefits of using a sauna?

Using a sauna can bring various benefits, including relaxation, improved circulation, detoxification, stress relief, and glowing skin.

Can I go to the sauna naked?

It depends on the type of sauna and the specific rules of the establishment. In some traditional saunas, it is common to go naked, while in public saunas, swimwear is typically required.

About the Author, Sophia Victoria
About the Author, Sophia Victoria

Sophi is a health, wellness, and lifestyle blogger who uses, research, and tests products and theories to help others improve their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. With her own eating disorder journey, regulating her hormones, and working with 10+ nutritionists, she deeply understands the health and wellness. Sophi is also well-knowledged in self-development and committed to sharing her knowledge, experience, and expertise with her readers.

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