Textile sauna or textile-free sauna? Why do you enter the sauna without clothes?


The issue of what to wear (or rather, what not to wear) in the sauna is a subject that raises many questions and is often the cause of misunderstandings, and sometimes even unease. Should we maintain modesty by wearing a swimsuit, or is it better to opt for textile-free sauna, using only a towel? Let’s analyze this.

Textile sauna vs non-textile sauna: what does it mean?

When we talk about a textile sauna and a non-textile sauna, we’re not talking about two different types of saunas. Rather, we’re talking about two different approaches to what we should (or should not) wear during a visit to a classic Finnish sauna. Textile sauna means that you maintain some kind of clothing during sauna use, such as a bathing suit. Non-textile sauna means that the person using the sauna does not wear any clothing, but instead uses a towel that covers the body or serves as a pad for the sauna bench.

Benefits of non-textile sauna

There are some benefits of non-textile sauna that are worth considering. First of all, remember that many bathing suits are made from synthetic materials, which under the influence of high temperatures can emit harmful substances. Moreover, the skin is our largest organ and plays a crucial role in the excretion of toxins through sweat during sauna use. Wearing a bathing suit can inhibit this process.

Rules of attire in the sauna

In an ideal scenario, we should use the sauna in the most natural way – that is, naked. But of course, this is not always possible, due to various cultural norms or rules in a specific place. Therefore, it is recommended to use a towel, a kilt for men, and a pareo for women, which allow the skin to breathe freely and at the same time maintain our privacy. A towel is also necessary to lay on the bench in the sauna, protecting our skin from hot wood. Also to protect the wood from our sweat. For example, aspen wood benches absorb human sweat and turn yellow.

Dispelling myths and fears

One of the frequently encountered myths that deter some people from using a sauna is the belief that sauna use must be completely naked. Although non-textile sauna is practiced, it should be noted that “non-textile” does not necessarily mean the need for complete nudity. In reality, the vast majority of people using saunas choose the option of using a towel, pareo, or kilt, which cover the body and simultaneously protect the sauna benches.
A common misunderstanding is thinking that obligatory nudity is the rule in saunas. A sign with a crossed-out bathing suit, which can be seen at the entrance to many saunas, is often misinterpreted. For many people, this is a signal that they must be naked, which can cause embarrassment. However, in reality, this sign aims to inform that bathing suits, especially those made from synthetic materials, are dangerous during sauna use due to high temperatures.

Textile sauna or textile-free sauna? Why do you enter the sauna without clothes?
A towel, kilt, or pareo is not only decency but also safety. During sauna use, your bathing suit can emit harmful substances under the influence of high temperature. That’s why a towel is an integral element of sauna use – it provides protection for your body, ensures hygiene, and allows the skin to breathe freely.

So remember, you don’t have to be naked to enjoy the benefits of the sauna. Choose what’s most comfortable for you, always remembering about your safety.

Can you also be in a steam sauna with a towel?

No. If you’re going to a steam sauna, you don’t need to take a towel with you, you need to be naked. The material will quickly absorb water, so it will only be in the way.
By the way, in Finland, people of all ages go naked to both the dry and steam saunas, and are not ashamed by anyone.

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Since 2011 I have had my own business selling sauna building materials, sauna cookers and sauna accessories. I know all about building a quality sauna!