Is the Finnish type of sauna a dry sauna? 

A Traditional Finnish Sauna can be used “wet or dry.” It is the only bath in the world where the user controls both temperature and humidity. For example, in a Turkish steam bath, the user controls temperature but not humidity; likewise in infrared rooms. In a Finnish sauna, the user controls humidity by ladling water on the rocks. This steam experience, to most sauna enthusiasts, is an essential and a much enjoyed part of the sauna experience. A “dry” sauna is simply a Traditional Finnish Sauna with no water ladled onto the rocks.

Should I sprinkle or pour water on the rocks in the heater? 

It’s completely up to your preferences. As previously noted, most Finnish Sauna enthusiasts enjoy the steam and higher humidity levels. The worldwide trend in sauna bathing is toward “lower temperatures and higher humidity,” which makes water an even more essential part of the sauna experience.

Are saunas expensive?

Costs for a high-quality Traditional Finnish Sauna manufactured by a reputable company will run in the same range as for other leisure products like hot tubs and gazebos. Price depends on the size, type and features of the sauna, and averages $3,000 and up.

Do Electric Saunas Consume a lot of Energy?

Most sauna users say they don’t even notice a change in their electric bills after their sauna is built. 

The cost to operate a sauna can easily be calculated. For example, a three-or four-person sauna, used twice a week, will cost less than $5 per month to operate. To calculate a specific monthly usage, simply multiple the kilowatt size of the heater (e.g., 6 kW for a 6x6’ sauna) x the electrical rate in your area (e.g., $.08/kWh) x the number of hours used in a month.

Is sauna bathing dangerous for your health?

No. As proven by the extensive sauna medical research as well as centuries of user experience, sauna bathing is not harmful; in fact, its effects are known to improve one’s health and wellbeing! However, if you have any medical conditions, consult with your physician before using a sauna.

Can children use Traditional Finnish Saunas?

Yes, most children can and do use Finnish saunas. Since young children to not have well-developed perspiration systems, children should not stay in the sauna as long as adults.

Should I remove all clothing when going to sauna, or can I use swimwear?

In saunas, most users bathe with no clothes on, as that is most comfortable. However, in some situations where modesty is necessary, it is certainly acceptable to sauna bathe in swimwear.

Do I need to have drainage in the sauna?

A drain is nice to have—particularly for cleaning purposes—but is not essential. In new construction, adding a drain in the middle of the sauna floor is easy to do and quite inexpensive. However, in a remodeling situation or when adding a modular sauna to an existing area of a home, it is sometimes difficult-and expensive-to add a drain. Check with your sauna manufacturer.

The shower is always separate from the sauna room; the only water in your sauna is what you ladle onto the rocks. Whatever water spills on the floor will dry by itself at the end of the sauna session as the rocks cool. However, if you prefer, wet-mop the floor to wipe up any water and/or to maintain floor cleanliness.

Can a humid space like a sauna cause damage to my house?

This is a common myth about sauna. A sauna, well-designed and properly used, will not cause any damage to your home. Even in saunas where users like a lot of steam, the sauna will still be a relatively dry place when compared to normal household humidity levels. 

If you use no water on the rocks, the humidity level can be less than 10%. A typical Finnish sauna humidity level, with a fair amount of water put on the rocks, is 25-35%. For those having the newer-style heaters with massive amounts of rocks—and lower air temperatures—the humidity level can reach more than 50%. The adjacent shower will typically add more humidity to the sauna area than the humidity added by the sauna itself. 

Your sauna manufacturer will most likely recommend having a bathroom-style exhaust fan in the area near the sauna and shower.

How do I clean and maintain my sauna?

Maintenance requirements for a sauna are minimal and depend mostly on how often it’s used. Simple scrubbing of the bench and wet-mopping the floor on a weekly (or less if used less) basis is typical. 

A simple tip: if sauna users get in the habit of doing a quick 30-second scrub after each sauna session, using a scrub brush dipped in the sauna water bucket, the benches will remain looking like new for many years.

What’s the lifespan of the sauna heater?

Your sauna’s heater longevity depends on the type of heater, how often it’s used, and if your water is unusually salty or acidic, which may accelerate deterioration. 

In general, a sauna heater should last anywhere from 5 to 20 years. (Sauna heaters in commercial saunas are subject to much more vigorous use. One year of commercial use is comparable to 50 years of normal home use.)

How many times a week do people usually use the sauna?

On average, people use their saunas two to three times a week. Many people use them every day, as it becomes part of their daily wellness program. Others use them more sporadically. It’s totally up to your preferences and lifestyle.

How can I find good public or hotel Traditional Finnish Saunas in the United States?

Many hotels and health clubs have saunas. When traveling, you can inquire in advance of your stay if your hotel or health club offers a sauna (if possible, visit your health club sauna in advance to see what condition it’s in). 

Public saunas—where the sauna can be “rented out” by individuals—are becoming quite rare and are only found in a few places in the U.S.

What sauna accessories are available?

There are many sauna accessories that can enhance your sauna experience. The basic essentials include a

  • water bucket (usually a wooden bucket lined with plastic or stainless steel)
  • ladle
  • light
  • thermometer

Beyond the basics, there are many types of (optional) textile accessories such as

  • towels
  • robes
  • slippers
  • back scrubbers
  • bathmats
  • loofahs

Other popular (optional) accessories include

  • clothes hooks
  • thermometers/hygrometers
  • hourglass timers
  • upgraded lighting systems
  • fragrances to add to the sauna water (for aromatherapy)
  • faux “birch” branch bouquet body whisks
  • soaps
  • wooden pillows

The list goes on and on. Visit your local sauna provider to learn more.