What To Wear In A Steam Room?

What To Wear In A Steam Room?

Deciding what to wear in a steam room can be confusing. Many people wonder about the right choice for comfort and hygiene.

In some parts of the world, like the chill realms of Finland and other Nordic countries, the answer is pretty straightforward: nothing at all. Yes, believe it or not, in these sauna-loving lands, it's totally normal for people to enjoy a steamy sit-down in the buff, even in mixed company.

America is a melting pot of cultures. The debate on whether to don a towel or go au naturel in a public steam room is much more diverse. This has led to a variety of guidelines rather than a one-size-fits-all rule.

If you're unsure about steam room etiquette, this piece has got you covered!

What is Steam Room Etiquette?

What is Steam Room Etiquette

Steam room etiquette is about keeping a polite and respectful atmosphere in the steam room. It's about making sure your comfort and others' comfort are both ensured. It involves picking the right attire, like a towel or swimsuit. You pick based on the location's culture and rules.

This etiquette also respects individual preferences regarding nudity and personal space. To ensure everyone's experience is both relaxing and enjoyable, it’s crucial to be mindful of your noise level and avoid using offensive language.

Additionally, each public steam room may have its own specific set of rules and guidelines. For this reason, it's good to learn these policies before entering. This will help you add to the steam room community.

Following these unwritten rules makes things more comfortable. It also adds to the enjoyment of the retreat for everyone.

What Should You Wear in a Steam Room?

What Should You Wear in a Steam Room

Choosing the right outfit for a steam room is key to your comfort and safety. Stick to moisture-wicking fabrics that handle sweat well.


Towels are essential for anyone heading to a steam room. You'll need three: one to wrap around yourself, another to sit or lie on, and a third to dry off after your session. Wrapping yourself in a towel offers comfort and coverage.

It's easy to remove if you want more direct steam exposure. Make sure the towels are cotton because cotton absorbs moisture well without holding onto heat.


Swimsuits offer a great way to enjoy steam rooms while staying covered. Choosing one made of breathable materials, like cotton, helps your skin breathe properly and is better than PVC bathing suits.

This choice increases the health benefits you get from the steam room experience. For those worried about modesty or feeling uncomfortable being bare, swimsuits provide a perfect balance. They let you relax without feeling exposed.

Avoid swimsuits with spandex in steam rooms; they can trap heat and moisture against your skin. Instead, go for bikinis or other light attire that allows airflow. Such garments ensure comfort and hygiene during your session.

Always pick a suit that feels comfortable and fits well so it doesn't distract you from relaxing and enjoying the steam room benefits.



Choosing appropriate footwear for the steam room is as crucial as selecting the right attire. It's essential to understand that regular shoes, which are worn outside, should never be worn inside a steam room.

Research has revealed that more than 420,000 bacteria can be found on the exterior of shoes, with an additional 2,887 bacteria lurking inside. This is a clear indication of the potential health risks involved in wearing outdoor shoes in a steam room, where the warm, moist environment can facilitate the spread of germs and bacteria.

Instead, opt for specific footwear such as slip-ons, sandals, or crocs that are dedicated solely for use in the steam room. This helps maintain a sanitary environment for you and others. Flip flops, although popular, are not recommended if they have been worn outside for the same reasons. The goal is to ensure that the steam room remains a clean and healthy space for everyone to enjoy.

Accessories to Consider and Avoid

Accessories in a steam room can become a problem. High temperatures make it unsafe to wear rings, earrings, bracelets, or necklaces. These items can trap bacteria and cause discomfort due to heat expansion. It's best to leave them out of the sauna.

Hats should also be avoided as they can harbor germs and prevent your body from cooling properly. Stick to essentials like towels or appropriate footwear instead of accessorizing too much. This keeps your steam room experience both safe and enjoyable.

What Not to Wear in a Steam Room

When it comes to ensuring a comfortable and safe steam room experience, what you choose to wear (and not wear) matters greatly. Here are some crucial pointers:

  • Avoid materials like nylon or polyester; they trap heat and hinder your skin's ability to breathe.
  • Stay away from tight clothing, which can restrict circulation and movement. Opt for loose-fitting attire.
  • Leave all jewelry at home since metals heat up rapidly in the steam room, potentially causing burns.
  • Keep electronic devices outside. Their functionality can be compromised by heat and moisture, presenting a safety hazard.

Choosing the right materials and avoiding certain items can significantly enhance your steam room experience. Cotton clothing, for instance, improves your body's cooling process, making your time both comfortable and refreshing. Keeping electronics and jewelry out safeguards you and your belongings, letting you relax without worry.

Gender-Specific Attire Considerations

Gender-Specific Attire Considerations

Men and women may choose different clothes for steam rooms, keeping comfort in mind.

Men’s Steam Room Attire

In steam rooms, men often wear towels or swimsuits. This choice follows etiquette and ensures comfort due to the humid environment. Towels are popular because they absorb sweat and can easily wrap around the waist.

Swimsuits provide more coverage but should be made of breathable materials like microfiber to keep you cool.

Footwear is also important for men in steam rooms. By choosing to wear flip-flops or water shoes helps prevent slipping and protects feet from germs on the floor. Accessories such as watches, rings, or any electronic devices should stay outside the steam room to avoid damage from moisture and heat.

Comfort and hygiene guide what men should wear in a sauna, focusing on lightweight, breathable fabrics for a better experience.

Women’s Steam Room Attire

Just like men, women also need to consider what they wear in the steam room for both comfort and etiquette. Loose, lightweight, breathable clothing works best for women to stay comfortable and ensure proper ventilation.

A swimsuit is a great choice, offering both modesty and comfort. It's important to pick attire that feels good but also adheres to the spa or wellness center's specific rules.

Athletic shoes might be required by some facilities, so always check their guidelines first. However, many places allow women to go barefoot in the steam room. Remember, there are no strict dress codes, but keeping personal comfort, hygiene, and establishment regulations in mind is key.

Choosing minimal and breathable options will often serve you well if you're unsure about what to wear for your next visit.

The Importance of Cotton Clothing in Steam Rooms

Cotton clothing is essential for anyone heading to a steam room. This natural fabric absorbs excess heat waves, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. It also lets your skin breathe, which helps prevent excessive sweating. Loose-fitting cotton or linen clothes are best because they don't bind or cause discomfort.

Choosing lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen makes a big difference in how you feel during a sauna session. These materials protect the skin while allowing air to circulate, reducing the risk of feeling overheated or restricted.

For a pleasant steam room experience, always opt for cotton attire that fits loosely around your body.

Hygiene Considerations in Steam Rooms

Hygiene Considerations in Steam Rooms

Steam rooms are warm and moist, making them perfect places for germs to grow. To stay safe, bring your own towels. Use one towel to cover yourself, another to sit or lay on, and a third one to dry off after your session. This keeps you clean and protects the space for others, too.

Wearing sandals in the steam room is also smart. They protect your feet from germs on the floor. Always shower before entering to wash away sweat or dirt. This way, everyone helps keep the steam room hygienic and enjoyable for all who use it.

Are You Going Nude in Steam Rooms?

Going in a steam room naked is an option thanks to "clothing optional" rules. This means you can decide if you want to wear a swimsuit or not. Some people enjoy the freedom of being nude, while others prefer the comfort of a towel or bathing suit. If you choose nudity, use a sauna towel to sit on for hygiene reasons.

Make sure to check the policy of the steam room before going nude. Different places have different rules about nudity and clothing options. Always respect others' choices and privacy whether you're wearing something or not.

In some cultures, wearing swimsuits in steam rooms is advised against, so using a sauna towel might be the best choice for everyone's comfort.


Enjoying the benefits of a steam room comes with the responsibility of adhering to the specific rules and etiquette of each facility. Adhering to these guidelines ensures not only your comfort but also the well-being of others sharing the space. For instance, wearing the right attire, such as lightweight, breathable fabrics, and bringing a towel to sit on are fundamental practices.

Respect for others is crucial; this means being mindful of personal space, not occupying the steam room for excessively long durations, and acknowledging that comfort levels vary from person to person.

But, purchasing a personal sauna offers an excellent alternative if you don't want to bother with the nuances of public steam rooms. CalmSpas provides a range of high-quality saunas that allow you to enjoy all the relaxing and health benefits of steam therapy in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Whether you're looking for traditional or infrared saunas, CalmSpas has options to suit every need and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Wear a Hoodie in a Steam Room?

Wearing a hoodie in a steam room is not advisable due to the excessive heat and humidity, which can make heavy clothing uncomfortable and unhygienic. Instead, opt for loose, breathable fabrics like cotton that allow your skin to breathe and are more suited to the environment.

Is a Swimsuit Hygienic in a Steam Room?

Wearing a swimsuit in a steam room is generally considered hygienic, especially if it is made of quick-drying and breathable materials. However, it's important to ensure the swimsuit is clean and dry before entering to maintain personal and communal hygiene.

Should You Cover Your Hair in a Steam Room?

Covering your hair in a steam room can help protect it from the heat and moisture, which may otherwise cause dryness or frizz. Many people choose to wear a cotton or microfiber head wrap or cap to maintain their hair's health and style.

Can I wear a swimsuit in a steam room?

Yes, wearing a swimsuit in a steam room is perfectly acceptable and common practice in many facilities. It provides a comfortable level of modesty and is suitable for steamy conditions as long as it's made of appropriate, quick-drying fabric.

Is it okay to go into a steam room without any clothes?

Going into a steam room without any clothes is acceptable in certain cultures and facilities that have a clothing-optional policy. Always check the specific guidelines of the steam room you're visiting and respect other users' comfort levels and preferences.

Should I wear jewelry in the steam room?

Wearing jewelry in a steam room is generally discouraged as the heat and moisture can cause damage to many types of metals and stones. It's best to leave your valuables in a safe place before entering to protect them and ensure your comfort during the session.

What type of towel should I bring to sit on in the steam room?

Bringing a large, absorbent towel made of cotton or microfiber is advisable when visiting a steam room. This type of towel will provide comfort, maintain hygiene, and prevent direct contact with the steam room surfaces.