Steam Room Risks

Updated February 21, 2017

A steam room can be a great place to relax and ease sore muscles. It can also be a great place for germs to grow, and thus, you should be aware of the risks. Fortunately, there are precautions that you can take to avoid becoming a victim of the germs that are present in a steam bath.

Crowded Steam Rooms

The steam rooms that are most susceptible to germ-spreading are the ones that are most frequently used and least frequently cleaned. This combination can almost assure you of picking up some type of bacteria. Steam rooms with a lot of traffic will be full of germs because so many people use it. If the steam room is crowded, then germs will be transferred from people's mouths and bodies. You should check to see how busy the room is before you go in, and you should find out how often the room is cleaned.


The floor can be one of the dirtiest spots on a steam room. Because many people will go to the steam bath directly from a workout, their feet will likely have been sweating during the course of their workout. Coupled with the dirty shoes or socks that they were just wearing, this situation can increase germ exposure.

Wet and Hot

Because bacteria are formed more easily when there is moisture and when there is heat, a steam bath is a perfect location for cultivating the kinds of germs that will make you sick. The heat encourages the germs to grow and they are easily transferred in the air and on the surfaces of the bath due to their dampness. If you suffer any bad reactions to an experience with a steam room, you should check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for repeated use.

Other Precautions

Because of the many germs in the steam bath, there are a variety of common sense precautions that you should take when you use one. There are often a lot of germs on the benches and seats in the bath because of the number of people that sit here. You should make sure that there is as little skin as possible touching these surfaces by placing a towel between you and the seat, and avoid leaving any open wounds uncovered. If sanitising wipes or spray are provided, you should wipe the surface clear of germs with them. Alternatively, use a paper towel or towel before you sit down, and then extend the next person the same courtesy by wiping again after you leave the steam room.

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About the Author

Jean Asta has been a freelance writer for domestic and international clients since 2005. She also acts as a training consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the southeast United States. Asta holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, both from the University of Georgia.