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2017.12.15 - How to behave in the sauna – The 5 most important rules

How to behave in the sauna – The 5 most important rules

Having a sauna is more and more trendy in Hungary as well, but it can still happen that we aren’t sure about what to do and what not to do in a sauna, or what are the things we have to do beforehand so that we can say we are professional sauna-goers. The situation is a bit awkward because in public saunas complete strangers are sitting very close to each other. How to behave and how not to behave in a sauna if we want to have a good time without disturbing others? 

1) Calmness

The sauna isn’t just for refreshing the body but also for achieving a peace of mind, so the most important rule is not to disturb others in their relaxation with unnecessary activity. When we enter the sauna, we can say hello in a low voice and we can say goodbye when we leave, but while inside we should chat neither with strangers nor with friends. Let’s find a place for ourselves and stay put, because physical activity can even be dangerous, as staying inside in the heat and sweating is already hard work for the body.  


2) Cleanness

We can’t only disturb others by being unnecessarily active. The sauna is a place that we visit to sweat and not to feel the sweat of others on our body. This is the reason why we should always take a bath towel with us, on which we can sit and what we can wrap around our legs – if we are sitting higher than others, our feet will rest where others are sitting at another time. We must always take a shower before having a sauna, in order to wash off the day’s dirt. We must also take a shower right after we have left the sauna! Let’s not plunge into the cold pool with our sweat on. We must also shower even if we come from the swimming pool section before entering the sauna, because if we don’t do it, the chlorine on our skin will evaporate inside and others will be forced to breathe it in.

3) Opening the door

Sometimes one must open the door of the sauna, when they want to enter or leave, but there are some rules to keep in connection with this too. When someone pours water or essential oil fragrance on the stove, we mustn’t leave the sauna instantly because we let out a large part of the steam. Let’s wait a little and exit a bit later. When entering the sauna, it is best to wait outside until someone comes out and go in only then, so that it is enough to open the door once. It is needless to say that one shouldn’t stand outside waiting for minutes; if no one leaves the cabin then we should feel free to enter. On more modern cabins there is a light above the door, which goes green or red to indicate whether the moment is right to enter or not. The system knows this because it monitors or even manages the steam level automatically. 

4) Steam

From time to time water is poured on the hot rocks in the sauna, to increase the humidity level. In those cabins where this isn’t done automatically or there is no sauna master around, it is the visitors who take care of the steam. It is a fundamental rule to ask the people inside how they feel about a bit more humidity before pouring anything on the heater. We can pour clean water or essential oil fragrance on the stove; the best is if we use the liquid that the staff has placed next to the heater. It isn’t a good idea to pour our own liquid on the stove even if we feel that we know what we are doing. If there is nothing next to the heater, let’s ask a member of the staff what we are allowed to do and what is forbidden. It is bad manners to pour something on the stove and leave the cabin, making others inhale what we thought would be a good idea.  

Pad szauna 

5) Nudity

Never wear flip-flops in a sauna! What about other pieces of clothes? One is supposed to have a sauna naked, because the parts of the skin which are covered can’t release vapour. However, being nude in public very often feels awkward, so the spas where saunas are operated oblige visitors to cover their private parts. Before going to a sauna, we must always gather information whether it is a sauna where nudity is allowed or not, and dress or undress accordingly. We shouldn’t try to be smarter than the sauna’s operator: if it is a clothes-on sauna, we mustn’t get naked talking about the old traditions. Having a sauna either naked or with some clothes on, it is a fundamental rule not to sit too close to one another, let’s keep some distance and mind our own business.     

Szauna törölköző

+1) About minding our own business

There is another important sauna usage rule, perhaps it is the most important one. It is true that we shouldn’t stare at others while in the sauna, but it is almost just as important to pay attention to others, so that we can notice if they don’t feel well – then we can talk to them, call a member of the staff to help or we can help the person to leave the sauna. Because it is a great thing to have a sauna and it is good for our health, but it has its dangers. Our body and heart must work harder, and it can happen that it becomes too much for someone and they end up in danger. Let’s take care of each other! And of course let’s take care of ourselves too. We shouldn’t stay longer in the cabin just because we are afraid what the others would think if we leave too early and open the door unnecessarily. Health is more important than etiquette!