How to Treat Sauna Wood

Written by constance barker
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How to Treat Sauna Wood
Clean sauna wood with mild detergent and water. (sauna image by Mikhail Olykainen from

Saunas are made from soft woods such as cedar or Nordic white spruce. Soft woods allow the absorption of steam, handling the swelling better than hardwoods. Since the wood has a soft, porous surface, abrasive tools can scratch the delicate timber. Harsh chemicals also penetrate the wood, damaging the integrity of the sauna. Use carefully selected tools and cleaners to treat the wood properly and avoid damaging the sauna.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Bucket
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Clean cloths
  • Newspapers
  • Light-grade sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Mix 1 tbsp mild liquid detergent into a bucket of warm water.

  2. 2

    Dip a soft-bristle brush into the soapy water. Rub the brush gently over the walls, benches and floor of the sauna. Continually rinse the brush in the soapy water as you clean the sauna wood.

  3. 3

    Rinse soap residue from the sauna with clean, warm water in the bucket and a clean cloth. Wipe down the entire area of the sauna.

  4. 4

    Leave the sauna door open to allow the wood to dry completely.

  1. 1

    Place newspapers around and under the sauna benches.

  2. 2

    Applying light pressure, gently sand the benches with a light-grade sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Wipe residue from the benches with a clean cloth after sanding.

Tips and warnings

  • Sand benches annually if desired.
  • Never varnish, paint or stain sauna wood, as the timber must absorb and release liquid and heat in the sauna.

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