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How to Treat Sauna Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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

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

  5. Place newspapers around and under the sauna benches.

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

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

  8. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Constance Barker

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.

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