a person spraying a window in a sauna

How to Clean a Sauna

Imagine stepping into a sauna, expecting a refreshing and rejuvenating experience, only to find it dirty and unkempt. Not a pleasant thought, right? That’s why knowing How to Clean a Sauna is not just a good skill to have; it’s essential for your health and well-being. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a sauna at home or you’re in charge of maintaining one at a gym, keeping it clean is the key to making the most out of each session.

Cleaning your sauna is like giving it a mini-spa day. Not only does it make the sauna look better, but it also ensures a hygienic environment where you can truly relax. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps and tips you need to make your sauna sparkle and shine. Grab your cleaning supplies and let’s dive in!

Materials Needed

  • Non-abrasive cleaners
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Buckets
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Hose or another source of water
  • Protective gloves
  • Optional: natural cleaning agents like vinegar or baking soda

Precautions: The Safety Guide on How to Clean a Sauna

Before you dive into cleaning your sauna, it’s crucial to take some safety precautions. Think of these as the “warm-up” before the actual exercise. Remember, cleaning is essential, but your safety is priority number one. Here’s what you need to know about the safety measures to ensure a hazard-free cleaning process.

Unplug and Power Down: Safety Comes First

The first thing you need to do is to turn off the sauna and unplug any electrical components. Whether it’s an electric heater or any other gadget you might have in there, it’s crucial to ensure they are off to avoid any accidents. Electrical components and water are not a good mix and can lead to dangerous situations.

Why It’s Important to Turn Off the Sauna

Turning off the sauna ensures that you are not exposed to any electrical hazards while cleaning. Water and electricity can lead to severe injuries or even fatal accidents. Plus, you wouldn’t want to clean a hot sauna surface, as the heat might react with cleaning agents and produce harmful fumes.

Wait for the Sauna to Cool Down

After switching off the sauna, don’t just rush in with your cleaning supplies. Give it some time to cool down. The wood and rocks can retain heat for a significant amount of time, and cleaning them while they’re hot can cause burns or produce toxic fumes from cleaning agents.

How Long Should You Wait?

The cooling time depends on how long the sauna has been running. As a general rule, waiting for at least 30 minutes to an hour should be sufficient. Feel the surfaces with the back of your hand to check if they are cool enough to start the cleaning process.

Suit Up with Protective Gear

Wearing appropriate protective gear is not something to overlook when you’re figuring out how to clean a sauna. A pair of gloves can protect your skin from both the grime and the cleaning chemicals. You might also consider wearing goggles if you’re going to use any liquid cleaning agents to prevent any accidental splashes into your eyes.

Types of Protective Gear

  • Gloves: Opt for water-resistant gloves that provide a good grip.
  • Goggles: If using strong cleaning agents, safety goggles can protect your eyes from splashes.
  • Face Mask: While not always necessary, wearing a mask can protect you from inhaling any strong cleaning fumes.

By following these precautions, you’re setting yourself up for a successful and safe cleaning process. Once you’ve checked all these boxes, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the nitty-gritty of how to clean a sauna. Always remember, a safe cleaning experience leads to a more enjoyable and hygienic sauna session!

Pre-Cleaning Tasks: Setting the Stage for How to Clean a Sauna

Before you grab that sponge and start scrubbing away, there are some pre-cleaning tasks that need your attention. These are the opening acts before the main event, and trust us, they’re just as important. Properly preparing the area will make the cleaning process easier and more effective. Here’s a simple guide to get your sauna ready for its cleaning day.

Clear the Stage: Remove Accessories, Seats, and Cushions

Start by emptying out the sauna. Take out all accessories like buckets, ladles, thermometers, and anything else you might have in there. Don’t forget to remove the seats and cushions too.

Why Is This Step Important?

Emptying the sauna gives you a clear field to work on. Accessories and seats can hide dust, grime, or even mildew, and you won’t get a thorough clean if you’re just working around these items. Plus, it’s much easier to clean these items separately.

Be a Sauna Detective: Check for Damages

The next step in our “How to Clean a Sauna” guide is to perform a quick but thorough assessment of your sauna. Look out for any signs of damage like cracks in the wood, malfunctioning electrical components, or worn-out seats.

What Should You Do If You Find Damage?

If you find any damaged areas, it’s important to address them before cleaning. Wood cracks might need to be filled, and malfunctioning electrical components should be replaced or repaired. Cleaning a damaged sauna might exacerbate the issue and turn a small problem into a big one.

Let It Breathe: Open Doors and Windows for Ventilation

Before you begin with the cleaning, make sure to open all doors and windows of the sauna for proper ventilation. This will help in airing out any odors and will also make it easier to dry the sauna later.

The Benefits of Ventilation

Good ventilation serves multiple purposes:

  • It airs out the sauna, making it easier for you to breathe, especially if you’re using cleaning agents.
  • It helps to dry the wood faster after you’re done cleaning.
  • It can help disperse any fumes or odors that might be lingering in the sauna.

By following these pre-cleaning tasks, you’re setting yourself up for an efficient and effective cleaning session. Now, you’ve prepared the stage, and you’re all set to deep dive into the main act of how to clean a sauna!

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean a Sauna Like a Pro

Alright, you’ve taken all the precautions and completed the pre-cleaning tasks. Now it’s time for the main event: cleaning your sauna. Follow this step-by-step guide to make your sauna as good as new.

Step 1: Vacuuming and Dusting—Kick the Dust Out

Begin your cleaning adventure by vacuuming and dusting the interior of the sauna. Use a handheld vacuum cleaner to suck up any dirt, dust, or debris.

Don’t Forget the Corners and Benches

Corners, benches, and spaces under the seats often become the secret hideouts for dirt. Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to get into these tricky spots. Once the vacuuming is done, wipe these areas with a dry cloth to make sure they are entirely dust-free.

Step 2: Surface Cleaning—Time to Shine

The next phase in our “How to Clean a Sauna” mission is wiping down all the surfaces. Use a damp cloth and a non-abrasive cleaner to scrub away any grime or residue.

Choose the Right Cleaner

For most types of wood used in saunas, a non-abrasive cleaner will do the trick. However, if you’re interested in going natural, a vinegar-water mixture can be quite effective too. Always test a small hidden area first to make sure the cleaner won’t damage the wood.

Special Tips for Different Types of Wood

If your sauna is made of a particular type of wood like cedar or hemlock, make sure to follow any manufacturer guidelines on cleaning procedures to keep it in the best condition.

Step 3: Deep Cleaning the Floor—The Foundation Matters

The floor takes the most beating in a sauna, so give it some extra attention. Scrub it thoroughly with a brush and a non-abrasive cleaner.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve scrubbed the floor, make sure to rinse it thoroughly. Any leftover cleaner can become slippery and dangerous.

Step 4: Cleaning the Heater and Rocks—Hot Spots Need Love Too

Whether you have an electric or wood-burning heater, it needs a good cleaning too. Turn it off, let it cool, and then wipe it down. The rocks should also be cleaned or replaced if they are cracking or disintegrating.

Safety Note for Cleaning Heaters

Remember, you’re dealing with an electrical component. Make sure the heater is off and completely cool before attempting to clean it.

Step 5: Windows and Doors—Your Sauna’s First Impression

If your sauna has glass windows, clean them with a mixture of water and a little dish soap to avoid streaks. Wooden doors and handles can be wiped down with a damp cloth and a bit of cleaner.

Streak-Free Glass Cleaning Tip

Use a squeegee to wipe down the glass for a streak-free finish. Trust us, it makes a difference!

Step 6: Accessory Cleaning—The Finishing Touches

Last but not least, don’t forget to clean any accessories like buckets, ladles, and thermometers. These can usually be cleaned with warm, soapy water.

Disinfecting Accessories

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also disinfect these accessories by soaking them in a mild bleach solution for a few minutes. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly before putting them back in the sauna.

By following these steps, you’ll know exactly how to clean a sauna, making it a sanctuary of cleanliness and relaxation. Happy sauna-ing!

Post-Cleaning Steps: Wrapping Up How to Clean a Sauna

Congratulations! You’ve scrubbed, wiped, and polished, turning your sauna into a clean haven. But before you rush in for a well-deserved steam session, there are a few post-cleaning steps to complete the process. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to wrap up your sauna cleaning mission.

Drying the Sauna—The Final Frontier

First and foremost, make sure to dry the sauna thoroughly. Leaving it damp could lead to mold growth, which is definitely something you want to avoid. Use a dry cloth to wipe down all surfaces, including the floor, benches, and walls.

How to Ensure Complete Dryness

If you want to be extra sure that the sauna is dry, consider using a portable fan to circulate air and speed up the drying process. Place the fan at the entrance and let it run for a while.

Replacing Accessories—The Homecoming

Once you’re sure that the sauna is completely dry, it’s time to replace all the accessories you removed earlier. Place the seats, cushions, ladles, buckets, and thermometers back in their respective spots.

Double-Check the Accessories

As you replace the accessories, give them a final check to ensure they are also completely dry. This is especially important for items like cushions, which can become breeding grounds for bacteria if left damp.

Optional: Heat Things Up for Extra Assurance

Some people like to turn on the sauna heater for a short period after cleaning to ensure that every nook and cranny is bone-dry. This step is optional but can be a good idea, especially during humid weather.

How Long Should You Heat the Sauna?

If you choose to heat the sauna, running it for about 15-30 minutes should do the trick. Make sure to keep the door and any windows closed to maximize the effectiveness of this step.

By following these post-cleaning steps, you’re adding the finishing touches to your “How to Clean a Sauna” project. Now, all that’s left is to step into your freshly cleaned sauna and enjoy a truly refreshing experience. Ahh, doesn’t that feel good?

Maintenance Tips: Keeping the Sparkle Between ‘How to Clean a Sauna’ Days

So, you’ve mastered the art of how to clean a sauna, but what about keeping it clean day-to-day? Regular maintenance is like the cool-down after a workout; it might not seem as important as the main event, but it makes all the difference in the long run. Here are some handy maintenance tips to keep your sauna shining between those deep cleaning sessions.

Regular Tasks: Your Sauna’s Daily Vitamins

Just like you wouldn’t wait until you’re sick to start taking vitamins, don’t wait until your sauna is dirty to start cleaning. There are small tasks you can do regularly to keep things in top shape.

Daily and Weekly Quick Fixes

  • Daily: After each use, take a few moments to wipe down the benches and other surfaces with a dry cloth to remove any sweat or moisture.
  • Weekly: Vacuum the floor and corners to get rid of any dust or debris.
Monthly Check-Ups

Once a month, give your sauna a quick inspection. Look for any wear and tear on the wood, check the electrical components, and give the heater and rocks a cursory cleaning.

Warning Signs: Your Sauna’s SOS Signals

Knowing how to clean a sauna is crucial, but recognizing when it needs cleaning is just as important. Here are some warning signs that your sauna might be sending out an SOS.

What to Look Out For

  • Odor: If your sauna starts to smell musty or off, it’s probably time for a deep clean.
  • Visible Dirt or Grime: This one is pretty obvious; if you can see it, clean it.
  • Changes in Heating: If the heater isn’t working as well as it used to, it might need a clean or even a replacement.
  • Mold Spots: Any sign of mold is a major red flag that you need to deep clean immediately.

By regularly performing these maintenance tasks and being alert to warning signs, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your sauna in tip-top shape between deep cleaning sessions. Remember, a well-maintained sauna is not just a clean sauna, but also a safe and enjoyable one!

Conclusion: Mastering the Art of Sauna Maintenance

There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to clean a sauna. From pre-cleaning tasks to deep cleaning steps, and even maintaining your sauna in between, you’re now equipped with all the knowledge you need to make your sauna a true sanctuary of cleanliness and relaxation.

A clean sauna is not just a point of pride; it’s a health investment, ensuring you get the most benefits out of each steamy session. By being proactive with regular maintenance and aware of warning signs, you extend the life of your sauna, saving you both time and money in the long run.

Now that you know the steps for how to clean a sauna, all that’s left is to put your knowledge into action. Trust us, the first time you step into your freshly cleaned and well-maintained sauna, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that only adds to the relaxation. So, happy cleaning, and even happier sauna-ing!


The frequency of deep cleaning your sauna can depend on usage. If it’s heavily used, like in a gym setting, it might need a deep clean every couple of weeks. For home saunas that are less frequently used, a monthly deep clean should suffice.

It’s generally not recommended to use bleach on the wood inside a sauna. Bleach can be too harsh, potentially damaging the wood and altering its color. Non-abrasive cleaners or natural alternatives like a vinegar-water mixture are usually the best choices.

The best way to prevent mold is to ensure that your sauna is adequately ventilated and completely dry after each use. Following deep cleaning, use a fan or heat the sauna briefly to make sure it’s dry. Mold thrives in damp environments, so keeping moisture at bay is crucial.

A strange or musty odor is often a sign that your sauna needs a deep clean. It could be caused by mold, mildew, or built-up grime. If you notice an odor, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and give your sauna a comprehensive cleaning.

While you can generally use regular household glass cleaners on sauna windows, make sure to wipe them down thoroughly to avoid any residue. Residue could turn into fumes when the sauna heats up, so a mixture of water and a little dish soap is often the safer option.

The need to replace sauna rocks depends on their condition. If the rocks are cracking or disintegrating, it’s time for a replacement. Under normal conditions, sauna rocks can last for several years.

Most accessories like ladles and buckets can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. If you want to disinfect them, you can soak them in a mild bleach solution for a few minutes. Make sure to rinse thoroughly before putting them back in the sauna.

While hiring a professional is always an option, most sauna cleaning tasks can be done yourself with the right tools and a bit of time. Our guide on how to clean a sauna should equip you with all the information you need to do it yourself.