After investing in your own outdoor sauna, often the next question that comes to mind, after tossing some water on the rocks and feeling great, is how do I care and maintain my new health and wellness backyard retreat?
Well, here are some of the most common questions and answers about outdoor sauna care and maintenance:
Do you need to clean a sauna after a session?
A properly built sauna is well ventilated. Not only is good ventilation critical for a good sauna experience, but good ventilation helps keep our sauna hot rooms dry and relieves moisture. For many, the bake and breathe method is a simple way to keep our saunas dry, germ-free, and clean.
The bake and breathe method is as easy as allowing your hot room to continue heating for an extra half hour after a sauna session (bake). Then, next morning, prop open your hot room door and allow your hot room to air out (breathe) until your next sauna session.
How do you get sweat stains out of a sauna?
Sweat stains happen mainly on the walls of saunas, yet typically these stains only occur when a sauna is too cool to evaporate moisture off the wood. Prolonged wetness on wood paneling is what creates stains.
The bake and breathe method is often all you’ll need to get sweat stains out of your sauna, as the wood dries fast and naturally. However, many choose to use either free-standing backrests or fixed backrests to the wall. These backrest systems keep the wall dry from sweat.
How do you disinfect a wooden sauna?
The other benefit for “baking” your sauna hot room after a sauna session is that you generally don’t need any disinfectant. Several reputable studies have proven that germs and viruses cannot live at temperatures starting at and above 140°f. Therefore, chemicals and disinfectants are not necessary for keeping saunas germ-free.
Are saunas hard to maintain?
No, unlike hot tubs or cars older than your dog or cat, saunas are easy to maintain. As noted above, unlike with a hot tub, saunas don’t require chemicals and elaborate cleaning agents. And unlike your dog or cat, saunas don’t require constant feeding. Sauna is ready for action when you are.
How much does it cost to maintain a sauna?
There is little cost to maintain a sauna. There are some commercial products available to dilute in warm water and use to wash sauna benches and walls. Many sauna enthusiasts will give their saunas a good scrub a few times a year. Oxi clean, specifically is a potion used by some sauna enthusiasts.
Yet keep in mind, like tossing water on the sauna rocks, you only need a little to get good effect.
Do you treat sauna wood?
Another important aspect for maintaining sauna is to not treat sauna wood. Natural is best. Sauna cladding/paneling will dry naturally, and doesn’t need oils, treatments, stains, or any treatments.
Protecting your sauna wood is as easy as letting it dry naturally. If you stain your sauna wood, you are setting yourself up for problems. Treating sauna wood introduces chemicals into your sauna environment. At worst, your pure clean sauna will now be a place of off-gassing, akin to a paint factory. Not good!
So, best to let your sauna hot room breathe naturally. Enjoy the natural composition and performance of your wood paneling.
Leave it as is.
How Can You Protect Outdoor Saunas from Extreme Weather?
The outside of your sauna is a different matter entirely. Depending on the wood species, a good stain every few years may be all you need to maintain a long life for your sauna exterior. A good wood stain will also help your sauna keep a fresh look.
Best to check with your local lumber yard or building supply store to match the best stain for your specific wood species.
A well-built sauna will last decades. Maintaining your sauna is best with a “less is more” approach. Fewer chemicals, more natural methods of keeping your hot room dry, germ-free, and protecting it from extreme weather.