Essential Sauna Etiquette Tips
A sauna can be a wonderful way to relax your muscles after a good workout. Although etiquette details can be different from one country to the next, there are some behaviors that are appropriate no matter where you go. If you are using one for the first time, be sure to look for a posted list of rules near the entrance door. Each facility will have its own specific rules and they will expect you to be aware of them.
Always Keep a Towel Between you and the Bench
Whether or not nudity is allowed, you should always carry a towel in with you. Place the towel between you and the bench while you sit and enjoy the warmth. Most benches are made from wood, which soaks up sweat and germs easily. The towel protects the next person from having to sit on a bench that is soaked with your sweat, and it protects you from sitting in sweat from another person. Many saunas require the use of towels, especially if patrons are nude. As far as nudity is concerned, you should follow the local customs and your own comfort level. In most places a single towel draped casually across your lap is perfectly acceptable.
Shower or Rinse off Before Entering
Steam rooms are close, damp, warm places. If you neglect to rinse yourself off or take a shower after you exercise and before you enter the room, there is a good chance your body odor will quickly fill the small wooden space. It is good manners to thoroughly rinse your sweat off first. You will generate more sweat when you are inside the sauna, but it will be less offensive if you were clean when you first came in.
Maintain the Quiet Atmosphere
A sauna is meant to be a relaxing place to ease tension and enjoy the warmth of the air. While you are inside the room, keep your voice low and try to keep conversations to a minimum. Some people may like to do gentle stretches, but it is good form to avoid vigorous exercise. Slow, easy motions will help everyone maintain the quiet and calm. Exercise can be especially distracting and distasteful in a small space because you will not be able to avoid flinging sweat on other patrons. Avoid physical contact with anyone else in the room so that you keep your sweat to yourself.
Enter and Exit Quickly
When you are ready to enter or exit the steam room, remember that the warm air escapes with every second the door is open. Go in and out quickly and make sure the door closes firmly behind you. Once you enter the room, stay there for a while before exiting. It is a good idea to prepare everything you need before you approach the door. Some saunas only allow the door to be opened at certain intervals. It is up to you to learn when it is appropriate to go inside and when you should wait.