Sauna Guide

How To Clean a Sauna

how to clean a sauna

Maintaining a clean sauna ensures a pleasant experience every time and extends your sauna’s life. Here’s a simple guide to help you keep your sauna in top shape.

Remember, a clean sauna is not just about aesthetics, it’s about maintaining a healthy and enjoyable environment. And once all the cleaning is done, there’s nothing like the reward of a relaxing visit to a well-maintained, clean sauna.

The first ‘How To Clean a Sauna’ guide is the more traditional and safe approach for public saunas, hotel saunas, and gym saunas.


Total Time: 30 minutes

Empty The Sauna

Start by removing all accessories from the sauna like towels, slippers, and sauna hats. This will give you room to clean every nook and corner.


Sweep the floor to get rid of any dust or debris. Remember, cleanliness is key to a good sauna experience.

Use Gentle Cleaners

When cleaning the wooden surfaces in a sauna, avoid harsh chemicals. They can damage the wood and potentially cause health issues when heated. A mild baking soda and water solution is a safe and effective cleaner.  Specialized sauna cleaners that are safe for wood provide peace of mind.  We recommend this one.  

Scrub the Benches and Walls

Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the benches and walls. Pay special attention to areas that come into direct contact with skin.

Rinse and Dry

Rinse off any residue of the cleaning solution with warm water. It’s essential to dry the interior of the sauna thoroughly after cleaning to prevent mold and mildew.

Clean The Sauna Stones

The stones in your sauna also need regular cleaning to remove any buildup. Simply remove them, rinse with water, and let them dry before replacing them.

Ventilate The Sauna

Proper ventilation is crucial in a sauna. After cleaning, leave the door open to allow fresh air to circulate and speed up the drying process.

Preserve The Sauna

Use sauna paraffin oil to maintain the wood surface and make it easier to clean next time.  We recommend the stuff made by Harvia.

How to Clean a Sauna (Checklist)

  1. Empty the Sauna
    • Remove all accessories from the sauna (towels, slippers, caps, etc.)
  2. Sweep
    • Sweep the floor to remove dust and debris
  3. Use Gentle Cleaners
    • Prepare a mild baking soda and water solution
    • Avoid using harsh chemicals on the wooden surfaces
  4. Scrub the Benches and Walls
    • Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the benches and walls
    • Pay special attention to areas with direct skin contact
  5. Rinse and Dry
    • Rinse off any cleaning solution residue with warm water
    • Dry the interior of the sauna thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew
  6. Clean the Sauna Stones
    • Remove the stones from the sauna
    • Rinse them with water and allow them to dry
    • Replace the stones after they are dry
  7. Ventilate the Sauna
    • Leave the sauna door open after cleaning
    • Allow fresh air to circulate and speed up the drying process

Alternative: The Bake and Burn Method of Sauna Cleaning

Another method requires no cleaning or scrubbing and is perfect for home saunas, especially wood-fired. This method is known as the “bake and breathe” method, or “leipoa ja hengittää” in Finnish. It’s endorsed by Glenn at

The first part of the method is the “bake”. After you’re done with a sauna session, ensure there’s still some good heat left in your sauna stove. Then, exit the hot room and leave the door closed for the night. The reason behind this is simple – a hot sauna will dry out after a session, and germs cannot survive in this heat. This way, your sauna stays dry and germ-free.

By following these tips and the “bake and breathe” method, you can ensure your home sauna stays clean, dry, and germ-free. 

Additional Sauna Maintenance and Cleaning

For deeper stains and soiling, gently clean the bench using a fine sandpaper before treating the sanded surface with a sauna-appropriate wood preservative. Avoid using unsuitable cleaning agents for saunas – for example, disinfectants bleach the wood and can spoil its surface.

To maintain the beautiful appearance of your Sauna heater, remove water stains by wiping with a damp cloth occasionally. Sauna Heaters require no special maintenance when properly installed by a qualified electrical contractor. 

Clean water should always be used in Sauna buckets and dumped out after every use. Scour buckets and dippers occasionally when film collects from usage. For wood sauna buckets, use a plastic bucket liner in the bucket to prevent water leakage.

Inspect the fastenings on the benches and supports, tightening any screws if necessary; they may loosen over time due to changes in the wood caused by heat and humidity.