Are Saunas Full of Bacteria? (Debunking Common Sauna Myths)

Saunas are a popular way to relax and unwind, but many people wonder whether they are also full of bacteria.

In this article, we will explore the truth behind this common myth and provide you with tips on how to stay safe and healthy while enjoying the benefits of a sauna.

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What is a Sauna?

Before we delve into the topic, let’s first define what a sauna is.

A sauna is a small room or building designed to provide dry or wet heat sessions that induce perspiration and promote relaxation.

The heat in a sauna typically ranges from 150-195°F, with humidity levels ranging from 5-30%.

Myth 1: Saunas are Full of Bacteria

One common misconception is that saunas are full of bacteria due to the high temperatures and humidity levels.

While it is true that bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, saunas are not inherently dirty or unsanitary.

Reality: Saunas Are Generally Safe and Sanitary

In fact, saunas are usually very clean and well-maintained.

Most saunas are regularly cleaned and disinfected, and many require patrons to shower before entering.

Additionally, the high temperatures in saunas can actually kill bacteria and other germs, making them a relatively safe and hygienic environment.

Myth 2: Saunas Can Make You Sick

Another common myth is that saunas can make you sick by exposing you to harmful bacteria or viruses.

While it is true that saunas can cause dehydration and other health problems if not used properly, there is no evidence to suggest that they are a significant source of illness.

Reality: Saunas Can Be Beneficial for Your Health

In fact, saunas may actually have several health benefits, including reducing stress, improving cardiovascular health, and relieving muscle and joint pain.

Saunas can also help boost your immune system by increasing circulation and promoting the production of white blood cells.

Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy in the Sauna

To ensure that you stay safe and healthy while enjoying a sauna, follow these tips:

  1. Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration.
  2. Limit your time in the sauna to 15-20 minutes to avoid overheating.
  3. Avoid using the sauna if you are pregnant, have a heart condition, or are taking certain medications.
  4. Shower before entering the sauna to help keep it clean and hygienic.
  5. Use a towel or mat to sit on to help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.


In conclusion, saunas are generally safe and hygienic environments that can provide numerous health benefits.

While it is important to take precautions to avoid dehydration and other health problems, there is no need to worry about bacteria or other germs in the sauna.

By following these tips and using common sense, you can safely and comfortably enjoy the many benefits of sauna therapy.


  1. Can saunas help with weight loss? While saunas may help you lose water weight temporarily, they are not a substitute for regular exercise and a healthy diet.

  2. How often should I use a sauna? It is generally safe to use a sauna once or twice a week, but it is important to listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

  3. Can saunas help with skin health? Saunas can help improve skin health by promoting circulation and increasing sweat production, which can help flush out toxins and unclog pores. However, it’s important to avoid using the sauna if you have any skin conditions or are prone to irritation.

  1. Are public saunas safe? Public saunas can be safe as long as they are properly cleaned and maintained. It’s important to choose a reputable establishment and follow proper hygiene protocols, such as showering before entering the sauna and using a towel or mat to sit on.

More From the Sauna Blog:

Is it OK to go from sauna to cold shower? 
Are outdoor saunas a fire hazard? 

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