How To Clean A Sauna: A Comprehensive Guide

A serene sauna setup with fresh towels and a wooden ladle, inviting a relaxing experience after thorough cleaning.

Did you know? Regular cleaning not only keeps your sauna looking great but also extends its lifespan and ensures it remains a hygienic space for relaxation.

Hi there, I’m a long-time sauna enthusiast and expert with years dedicated to exploring saunas. Drawing from my experience, this guide cuts through the confusion to deliver straightforward strategies for keeping your sauna in top shape.

This article will give you practical tips and insights, on how to clean a sauna, you won’t find elsewhere.

Read on for simple solutions that make a big difference. Keep reading—you’ll be glad you did!

Key Takeaways

  • Wipe down the sauna with a towel after each use to prevent moisture build-up and stop mold and bacteria from growing.
  • Clean the benches, walls, and floor with a mix of warm water and mild detergent, avoiding harsh chemicals to protect the wood.
  • Dry your sauna thoroughly after cleaning by wiping down all surfaces and letting fresh air flow through by opening doors and windows.
  • Avoid using wood treatments like paint or varnish as they can trap moisture; instead, clean stubborn stains with gentle sanding or specialized cleaners.
  • Use natural disinfectants like vinegar or tea tree oil mixed with water for an effective clean that doesn’t harm the sauna’s wood.
  • Advanced eco-friendly sauna cleaning methods options like steam cleaners, UV light systems, and probiotic cleaners are also available.

Proper Cleaning After Sauna Use

After each sauna session, a little effort goes a long way in keeping your space fresh and inviting. Grabbing a towel to wipe down the benches and floors can prevent buildup and ensure the wood stays in top-notch condition for years to come.

Wipe and Brush the Sauna

Keeping your sauna spotless starts with a simple wipe and brush after each use. Grab a soft cloth or towel to remove moisture from wooden surfaces, helping prevent mold and bacteria growth.

This step is crucial, especially considering that saunas are perfect breeding grounds for germs at high temperatures. Using a hand brush, gently sweep away loose particles like sand or dust from benches and floors.

Vacuuming is also a great option to pick up any dirt or dust from the floor.

Next up, focus on cleaning those hard-to-reach spots and tackling stubborn dirt on seating areas.

Clean with Soap and Water

Mix warm water with a mild dish detergent to create a gentle cleaning solution. This mix is perfect for tackling dirt and stains without harming your sauna’s wood. Use a soft cloth soaked in this soapy water to gently scrub the benches, walls, and floor of your sauna.

It’s crucial not to use harsh chemicals as they can damage the wood over time.

Wipe all surfaces with a damp cloth, making sure no soap residue remains. Soap left on the wood can attract more dirt or affect the sauna’s natural scent. Focus on areas that see frequent contact, like seating surfaces, to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.

Afterward, dry these areas well to prepare for the next step: drying the sauna thoroughly.

Sauna in need of some serious cleaning, showing stained wood and dirt buildup on benches.

Dry the Sauna Thoroughly

After cleaning, it’s crucial to dry your sauna thoroughly. Moisture left behind can lead to mold and bacteria growth, which is the last thing you want. Use clean towels to wipe down all surfaces until they’re bone dry.

Make sure to lift and set the duckboards aside, allowing them to dry out properly. Open doors and windows to let fresh air flow through, speeding up the drying process. This step ensures a healthy environment for your next sauna session.

Next comes taking care of the exterior of your sauna, an often overlooked aspect that keeps it looking great year-round.

Sauna Exterior Cleaning

If you have an outdoor sauna, then keeping the outside of your sauna clean is just as crucial as maintaining the inside. Dirt, leaves, and weather can wear down its exterior over time.

Once in a while, you can use a pressure washer or a hose to clean the exterior. Make sure not to use high pressure that might damage the wood.

Simple steps like these keep your sauna looking great and functioning properly for years to come.

Regular Maintenance of Your Sauna

Keeping your sauna in top shape requires some smart upkeep habits. Think about it – you get to prolong those relaxing moments without any unexpected hiccups.

Avoiding Wood Treatments

You might think that treating the wood in your sauna with paint or varnish will make it last longer, but this can actually do more harm than good. Saunas thrive on natural airflow and heat distribution.

  • Applying treatments to the wood can trap moisture, leading to mold and mildew. Just let it breathe to release its humidity, and age gracefully.
  • Moreover, while you are enjoying the warmth of the sauna, the paint or varnish might release toxic fumes, which can pose serious health risks.

This approach keeps your sauna looking pristine while ensuring its longevity—and all without relying on chemical treatments that can alter the sauna’s ambiance and effectiveness.

Dealing with Heavy Dirt and Stains

Heavy dirt and stains in your sauna can feel like uninvited guests at a peaceful retreat. Don’t let them overstay their welcome.

  • Gently scrub the affected areas with a solution of water and mild dish detergent but this time using a soft brush instead of a cloth.
  • For more persistent stains, consider using a specialized sauna cleaner designed to tackle tough spots without harming the wood’s integrity. Apply according to the instructions.
  • Always follow up with a rinse of clean water to remove any residual cleaner.
  • Even more stubborn stains? A gentle sanding works wonders without compromising the integrity of the wood. Always use fine-grit sandpaper to avoid scratching the surface.

Regular attention to these problem areas prevents build-up and keeps your sauna looking its best—ensuring each session is as fresh as the first.

Using Natural Disinfectants

For a healthier way to keep your sauna clean, turn to natural disinfectants. Vinegar and tea tree oil are great options that fight bacteria without harsh chemicals. Mix these with water for an effective cleaning solution.

Spray it on surfaces, leave for around half an hour, and wipe it down with a cloth afterward. This method not only keeps the wood in top shape but also ensures a safe environment for everyone.

Next, think about the little things that make a big difference in maintaining your sauna’s longevity—like tips for long-term care.

Super clean interior of a sauna with spotless wood benches and a bright atmosphere, perfect for showing someone how to clean a sauna properly.

Tips for Maintenance and Long-Term Sauna Care

Taking care of your sauna means more than just cleaning it regularly. Extend its lifespan with some savvy maintenance practices and usage tips.

  1. Want to spend less time cleaning the sauna? Make sure to use a super absorbent towel on the bench you are sitting on, and under your feet on the floor. This is going to greatly reduce the stains caused by sweat, perspiration and dirt.
  2. Never clean a sauna while it’s in operation. Always remember, it’s not a place to put yourself under any strain but a place to relax. Moreover, if you are using chemicals for cleaning, they might react with the heat to produce toxic fumes.
  3. Always inspect the heater and stones annually to ensure they are in top shape for optimal airflow and heat distribution.
  4. Ensure proper ventilation to keep moisture, heat, and odors at bay. A well-ventilated sauna stays fresh longer.
  5. Try not to enter the with your footwear on to avoid any external dirt inside and wash your feet before entering to keep the interior clean. Follow these etiquettes and reduce the time you spend cleaning the sauna.
  6. Avoid using hard water: Hard water is going to create a lime build-up on wet surfaces which not only looks bad but can be very difficult to get rid of. Soft or distilled water prevents mineral buildup, keeping your sauna running smoothly.
  7. I know I have asked you not to use paint or varnish on the wood, but I recommend that for an outdoor sauna, use a wood sealant on the exterior, be it on the wood, door or the handles as its always exposed to nature including sunlight, dirt, rain or snow.

These steps not only promote hygiene but also enhance your sauna experience.

Also Read: How to Properly Use a Sauna

Advanced Sauna Cleaning Methods

Sauna owners, now, have access to a variety of advanced cleaning methods that are not only efficient but also eco-friendly. These methods include steam cleaners, UV light systems, and probiotic cleaners.

  1. Steam cleaners are chemical-free and offer a deep clean for saunas. They are easy to use and can be a part of regular maintenance, ensuring a clean and hygienic environment.
  2. UV light systems, such as the EOS UV-Clean, can eliminate bacteria, viruses, and yeasts up to 99.9% efficiency. These systems can be installed in the air supply area of the sauna, providing continuous, chemical-free disinfection.
  3. Probiotic cleaners, like the High Maintenance Cleaner from HigherDOSE, introduce beneficial bacteria to maintain a balanced microflora inside the sauna. This approach promotes a healthy environment and supports the natural ecosystem within the sauna.

These advanced cleaning methods offer a glimpse into the future of sauna maintenance, providing efficient and eco-friendly solutions for maintaining a clean and healthy sauna environment.


Cleaning and maintaining your sauna isn’t as hard as you might think. Our guide showed you the basics—wiping down surfaces, using soap and water, ensuring everything’s dry, and keeping an eye on the exterior, too.

We’ve also covered why skipping wood treatments helps and how natural disinfectants and advanced eco-friendly cleaning methods like the UV light systems can be a game-changer. Remember, tackling heavy dirt or stains early keeps your sauna looking new.

These steps aren’t just easy; they make a big difference in extending your sauna’s life. Your efforts keep the space welcoming and mold-free—essential for any sauna lover’s peace of mind.

So, grab your cleaning supplies and give your sauna a little TLC. Trust me, the next time you’re lounging in there, feeling all kinds of zen, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for it.

Have you tried any of these cleaning methods, or do you have secrets of your own to share? Drop your thoughts and stories in the comments below — let’s keep the conversation going and learn from each other’s successes!

FAQs about How To Clean A Sauna

1. How often should I clean my sauna?

You need to clean your sauna every few weeks to keep it in top shape. After each use, a quick wipe-down will help prevent sweat stains and maintain cleanliness.

2. What’s the best way to treat the wood inside my sauna?

Use natural wood care products designed for saunas. Avoid harsh chemicals or artificial finishes, like paints or varnish, that can damage the cedar or other woods used in your sauna’s interior.

3. Can I use bleach to clean my sauna?

No, you shouldn’t use bleach. It can harm the wood and leave fumes behind. Instead, opt for mild detergents or special sauna cleaning products that are safe for wood surfaces.

4. How do I keep mold from growing in my sauna?

Good ventilation is key—leave the door open after use to let moisture out and mop up any standing water on the floor or benches. Regularly using a deodorizing cleaner also helps prevent mold.

5. Is it okay to wash the benches with soap and water?

Yes, but make sure you rinse them well so there’s no soap residue left behind. Soap can be used sparingly as part of your regular maintenance routine.

6. What tips can help extend my sauna’s lifespan?

Regular cleaning, proper wood treatment, ensuring good ventilation, and using towels on benches during sessions all contribute to extending your sauna’s lifespan by keeping it dry and free from damaging substances like sweat and body oils.

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