Whether you’ve got a cube sauna nestled in your garden, or an infrared sauna in your living space, it’s important to keep you and your sauna safe and secure. We’ll take you through the basics of sauna safety, including maintenance advice and cleaning routines, so you can fully relax with peace of mind. Let’s get started.
Sauna health advice
1. Doctor’s orders
First and foremost, before immersing yourself in the soothing world of a sauna, talk with your doctor. This is particularly important if you are pregnant, or have pre-existing health conditions like high blood pressure, skin issues and heart concerns. Your health should always be your top priority. Find more advice on saunas and your health in our guide.
2. Hydrate to stay safe
Maintaining proper hydration is crucial. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session, to minimise risk of dehydration. Steer clear of drinks that include alcohol and caffeine, as they can exacerbate dehydration. Barrel saunas have built in exterior benches that make a perfect spot for a break and a drink.
3. Short and sweet sessions
Gradual acclimatisation is key. Start with shorter sauna sessions, around 10-15 minutes, especially if you are new to saunas. Allow your body chance to adapt over time.
4. Cool down
After your sauna session, make time for a gradual cool-down. For every 15 minutes you spend in a sauna your body temperature rises 1.5c, so it’s important to spend as much time cooling down as you did in the sauna. A glass of water, gentle walk in the fresh air, and cool shower can help. If you’re feeling brave and want to really focus on your temperature tolerance, look into the benefits of an ice bath for cold water therapy.
Hygienic haven in your sauna
1. It’s all in the prep
Proper hygiene allows for ultimate relaxation. Shower and wash your feet before you enter your sauna, and make sure you’re wearing clean clothes or swimsuits, and fresh bathrobes and towels. Cover the bench with your towel to create a barrier, and consider rugs, headrests and footrests to keep your sauna sparkling. Cure your sauna before you enter by letting it heat up for 45 minutes, then add some water to the rocks at the start of your session, to keep them clean and steamy.
2. Keep it clean
After your session, wipe down benches and surfaces to prevent the buildup of bacteria or mould. Use mild soap diluted with water, or sauna-friendly cleaning products that are suitable for wood. Once a month do a deep clean - sweep out any dirt, get in any nooks and crannies with a handheld hoover, and mop the floor, you may find a pressure washer on a low setting does the job. Make sure you do this when the sauna is turned off, as it’s dangerous to do strenuous cleaning in high temperatures and with exposure to heated chemicals. For stubborn stains that won’t budge, gently use a sandpaper on the wood.
3. Let it breathe
Ensure your sauna is ventilated during and after sauna sessions, which is easier to vent in an outdoor sauna than an sauja at home. After you’ve finished, open the door and vents while you wipe down the benches. Adequate ventilation not only improves air quality but also minimises mould within your sauna. A well vented sauna will feel warmer than a poorly vented one, as warm air easily circulates around the body.
4. Wood maintenance
Wood in saunas, especially in gardens, requires regular inspection and treatment to prevent deterioration. This is crucial for preserving both the look of the wood and the structural integrity of the sauna. Towels and rugs will also prevent sweat from staining the wood. Use mild diluted soaps to keep the wood clean, and try not to use hard water if possible, which can cause lime buildup. Avoid using varnishes or paints in the interior, as the wood needs to absorb and release the moisture in your sauna. However, if you need to spruce up your garden sauna, use an oil on the exterior wood.
5. Heater hygiene
If your home sauna uses an electric heater, meticulous attention to heater cleanliness is essential. Regularly check for dust buildup, as it can impact performance and pose a potential fire hazard. Check the sauna stones every month or so for signs of wear and tear, if you use your sauna a few times a week, the stones should last a year before they need replacing.
Electrical sauna safety
1. Inspect to protect
Periodically inspect wiring, outlets, and heating elements for any signs of wear or damage. Fix any issues as soon as possible to mitigate the risk of electrical hazards.
2. Expert installation
Ensure your sauna is installed by a qualified professional in adherence to safety standards. Proper grounding is critical to prevent electrical shocks and to ensure a safe sauna environment.
3. Manufacturer manuals
Make sure you adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines for electrical usage. Avoid overloading circuits and using incompatible accessories, as this can compromise safety and performance.
Wood fire sauna safety
1. Ventilation vigilance
Proper ventilation through the chimney and vents is essential to release smoke and prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. A wood burning sauna heater requires plenty of oxygen to keep it going.
2. Dry wood
Opt for dry, seasoned wood exclusively for your sauna stove. This minimises the risk of excessive smoke, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable sauna experience.
3. Fire extinguisher
Keep a fire extinguisher within close reach. While the likelihood of a fire incident is small, having this safety measure readily available adds an extra layer of protection.
4. Chimney care
Conduct regular inspections for any blockages or signs of wear. Making sure the chimney is in optimal condition not only makes it safer, but more efficient.
Sauna safety for the whole family
If your sauna is accessible to your kids, install safety locks to prevent them accessing it unsupervised.
Always supervise children in and around the sauna area. Never allow unsupervised access, ensuring their safety and preventing accidents.
3. Pet protection
If you have pets, do let them in your home sauna, and ensure they are not left unattended near it. The high temperatures can be harmful to them, and they may damage sauna components.
4. Educate your family
Teach your family members, especially kids, about the importance of sauna safety. This includes following guidelines, sticking to time limits, and being careful in the sauna itself.
Sauna safety steps after a prolonged break
1. Rain check
If you have a barrel sauna, you’ll find it naturally sheds water and snow, but if you have a cube sauna, make sure you remove build up of snow and debris from the roof.
2. Inspect and clean
Before using your sauna after a long break, inspect the interior and exterior for any signs of damage or mould. Clean the surfaces thoroughly, ensuring a fresh and hygienic environment.
3. Heat gradually
Start with lower temperatures and shorter sessions, gradually increasing both as your body readjusts. This approach helps avoid intolerance and allows you to ease back into your sauna routine.
4. Check for pests
If your sauna is located outdoors, check for any signs of pest intrusions. Ensure there are no nests or damages that could compromise safety.
Sauna safety FAQs: answering your burning questions
How long does a sauna last?
A well maintained sauna should last for 20 to 30 years. Consider it an investment for life and treat it as such.
How much does it cost to maintain a sauna?
If you use your sauna for 90 minutes twice a week at typical settings, the electricity usage would be approximately 8kWh. With March 2023 electricity rates at about 34p per kWh, the weekly cost for your sauna would be around £2.72.
How long can you stay in a sauna?
Sauna sessions should last between 10 to 15 minutes for beginners, gradually extending as your body acclimates. Listen to your body and avoid prolonged sessions.
Are saunas safe for children?
Saunas can be safe for children when proper precautions are taken. Always supervise your kids, limit their time in the sauna, and educate them about safety.
Can I bring my pet into the sauna?
No, pets should not be brought into a sauna. High temperatures can be harmful to animals, and they may pose a risk to sauna components.
What's the ideal sauna temperature?
Sauna temperatures typically range from 65°C to 90°C. The ideal temperature varies based on your personal preference and health.
How often should I clean my sauna?
Regular sauna cleaning is essential. Wipe down surfaces after each use and do a more thorough cleaning at least once a month to prevent mould and bacteria buildup.
And there you have it. These tips ensure your experience is both as safe as it is serene. Now you can embrace the heat with peace of mind, letting the worries of the day melt away in the comfort of your own home sauna sanctuary.