Unusual Odors in Saunas: Causes and Solutions

Adam Hood Adam Hood
Unusual Odors in Saunas: Causes and Solutions

Infrared saunas have become more famous over the past few years, and many people are enjoying the health benefits of them. An infrared sauna can help your body get rid of toxins, lower your stress, and make your health and well-being better in general. 

Infrared saunas, like any other piece of equipment, need to be cleaned and serviced on a regular basis to make sure they keep working right.

The process of cleaning an infrared sauna is pretty easy, but you should take the time to do it right. A lot of infrared saunas are made of wood, which can get ruined by too much water or harsh chemicals. A light soap and a soft cloth are the best ways to clean an infrared sauna. 

Do not use rough materials or harsh chemicals that could hurt the wood or the infrared lights. To keep an infrared sauna in good shape, it's also important to do regular maintenance.

This could mean getting new infrared heaters, checking the connections and wires, and making sure the sauna has enough airflow. People who clean and take care of their infrared saunas can enjoy all of its health benefits for many years to come.

Causes of Unusual Odors In Sauna

Strange smells in saunas can ruin the relaxing atmosphere and make the whole experience less enjoyable. Figuring out the different reasons for these smells is important for getting rid of them and keeping the sauna clean and pleasant.

We will look into all the usual reasons why saunas may give off bad smells in this in-depth article.

bad smells in sauna

Bacteria and Mold Growth

One of the main reasons saunas smell funny is that germs and mold are growing everywhere. The warm and damp conditions in saunas make them perfect places for these microorganisms to grow. When it's damp, bacteria and mold grow quickly, and their presence can make the sauna smell musty and mildewed.

Sweat and Body Odor

The purpose of saunas is to make you sweat so that you can rest and get rid of toxins. On the other hand, body odor can build up in the sauna because of all the sweat. 

Natural oils and chemicals in sweat can give off bad smells when they come into contact with heat. The smell can also be affected by the fact that there are many people in the sauna at the same time, especially if good cleanliness is not followed.

Chemical Reactions

Some sauna materials or cleaning tools may give off smells when they get hot. For instance, if chemicals that aren't safe for saunas are used to treat sauna chairs or accessories, they might give off smelly or toxic fumes when heated. 

In the same way, using strong cleaning products in the sauna can leave behind residue that smells bad when exposed to the high temperatures of the sauna.

Poor Ventilation

Another common reason for strange smells in saunas is that they don't have enough airflow. If the sauna doesn't have enough airflow, smells can get stuck inside and get stronger over time. Not enough airflow not only lets smells build up but also lowers the quality of the air, which can make sauna users uncomfortable or cause breathing problems.

Residual Cleaning Products

If you don't clean properly or use strong chemicals, you might leave behind residue that makes saunas smell bad. Chemical leftovers that aren't fully rinsed and dried after cleaning may stay on sauna surfaces, and they may give off smells when heated. 

Also, cleaning products that aren't made for saunas can add smells that aren't natural to the sauna atmosphere.

Effective Solutions to Eliminate Odors

bad smells in sauna

Now, let's explore practical solutions to address each of these issues:

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

To keep germs, mold, and sweat from building up, it's important to clean well and often. Soft cleaners that are safe for saunas should be used to clean the walls, chairs, and surfaces. 

Specialized care should be taken in places where water tends to gather, like corners and gaps. Also, clean sauna accessories like wooden buckets and ladles to stop germs that cause smells from growing.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Good airflow is necessary to let fresh air flow and keep smells from sticking around. Put in vents or fans to help airflow and get rid of stale air in the sauna. Check ventilation systems often to make sure they are working properly, and open windows or doors every so often to let natural air flow in. Equinox Infrared Saunas by Sun Home Saunas are one of the best saunas you can find with an efficient ventilation system.

Use Sauna-Safe Fragrances

You can use smells that are safe for saunas or essential oils that kill germs, like eucalyptus or tea tree oil. While making the sauna smell nice, these natural oils also help stop the growth of bugs and mold. Just mix a few drops with water and sprinkle them on sauna rocks or pour them into a fragrance device.

Monitor and Control Humidity Levels

Keeping the humidity level in the sauna at the right level is important to stop mold from growing and keep musty smells to a minimum. Use a hygrometer to keep an eye on the humidity level and make changes as needed. You might want to put in a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture in the air and make the sauna more comfortable.

Conduct Regular Maintenance Checks

Check sauna heaters, heating elements, and electrical parts often to make sure they are clean and working right. Get rid of any buildup or waste that could be causing the smell, and quickly replace any parts that are worn out or broken. Regular maintenance checks can help keep sauna equipment from smelling bad and make it last longer. Make sauna users smarter.

Lastly, teach people who use saunas how to behave and keep themselves clean. Users should be told to take a shower before going into the sauna to cut down on body odor and sweat. 


By using these all-around solutions, sauna owners can get rid of smells and make the sauna a clean, relaxing, and fun place for everyone to be. Sauna companies should give clear directions on how to use sauna equipment and facilities cleanly to lower the risk of germs and bad smells.

Don’t Miss Out!

Get the latest special deals & wellness tips!