Sauna Etiquette: Learn the Rules of the Rocks

A warming house out in the snowy woods

Sweat nothing but the impurities with three simple tips for proper sauna behavior

The Finns invented the sauna well over 1,000 years ago. Today, most Finns take a sauna once a week. While the health benefits may be in doubt, the relaxation and well-being provided by a deep sweat session have made the sauna one Finnish export that has found firm footing in Minnesota.

You know another thing that has found firm footing in Minnesota? Etiquette. Blame that fabled Minnesota Nice, but we’re hard-pressed to ever ruin another person’s good time. So, if you’re stuck between a sauna rock and an etiquette place, here’s a few general rules to keep in mind while you sweat it out.

The Buff Buffer

While wearing a swimsuit is the most modest sauna attire option, it’s also the one that can be the most uncomfortable once things heat up. Sure, the Finns have a habit of hitting the sauna in their birthday suit, but you might not be willing to go that far the other way, either — especially not in a communal sauna full of strangers. So plan on using three towels: one as a cover-up, one to sit on and one to dry off with after.

Door Do’s and Don’ts

The point of a sauna is a lot of dry heat. Flinging open the door, then leaving it open while you dart back for that drink or towel you forgot is bad form. Rather, take a peek through the pane of glass to get the lay of the land, slide in quick and quiet, shut that door firm behind you, and move right to your spot on the bench.

Team Steam

Unless you’ve found yourself in an empty sauna, don’t just pour water on the rocks whenever you feel like it. Check with your partners in sweat before you raise the temp. The last thing you want is to make a bunch of hot and sweaty people mad when they’re trying to relax.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’re guaranteed to have a swell time getting your sweat on.