Sauna suits are a great piece of fitness garment whether you use them for your workouts or to lose water weight for an event like a powerlifting competition.
The problem is what you do with the sauna suit after you have used it, as it is certain you will end up with a sauna suit that is drenched in sweat. You will definitely need to wash it!
So how do you wash a sauna suit? You should first turn the sauna suit inside out and pat it dry if you are not going to wash it immediately. You should wash with colder water and with garments of similar colors and avoid aggressive detergents. Do not tumble dry, dry clean, iron, or even bleach the sauna suit.
In this article, I will go through the various common materials that sauna suits are made of, best practices on cleaning and drying those materials, and care instructions you should pay attention to.
Different Sauna Suit Materials
Not all sauna suits are made of the same materials. It is very important to make sure you know what materials your sauna suit is made from, as washing it incorrectly can ruin it.
You should always carefully read the instructions on the label of the sauna suit, as these instructions should supersede the guidance in this article.
Here is a list of common materials that sauna suits are made of:
- Silver Heat REG
Polyester is a category of synthetic fabrics that are derived from oil/petroleum. It's strong, durable, and wrinkle-resistant, making it a popular choice for clothing.
Polyester is also non-absorbent, meaning it doesn't hold onto moisture like natural fabrics like cotton does, making it ideal for sportswear and other garments that need to stay dry.
Most polyesters can be machined to wash in warm water, but a high temperature is not recommended to fully clean polyester pieces. To avoid wrinkles, remove the garments from the machine while slightly damp.
Silver Heat REG
Silver Heat REG is a patented series of wear-resistant tech fabrics that are owned by HOTSUIT, a sports company that sells sauna suits.
They are normally layered on top of polyester to produce a water and sweat-proof coating. Different versions of the Silver Heat REG provide different qualities that include wind resistance, lightness, elasticity, stretch, and strength.
With sauna suits containing Silver Heat REG materials, do not machine wash or tumble dry at all. You should only wash them by hand in cold water.
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is another synthetic material. It is a type of plastic, similar to polyester, that is derived from oil and salt.
It is commonly known to be the material used in pipes but is also known to be used in clothing.
With PVC clothing, you should avoid aggressive detergents with perfume additives or fabric softeners. You can hand wash PVC clothing with a mild shampoo or shower gel. PVC clothing does not tolerate machine washing and is unsuitable for the tumble dryer.
Neoprene is another synthetic material that is very common in protective garments for aquatic activities such as surfing and rowing. It is also a common material in knee sleeves.
Neoprene fabrics generally have good oil and water resistance qualities, which make them useful for something like a sauna suit, where you produce natural oils and water when you sweat.
It is important that you rinse neoprene garments as soon as possible, as they can build up a smell if left moist. You should hand wash neoprene with lukewarm water (under 104 degrees Fahrenheit/40 degrees Celsius) with a mild detergent.
Nylon is another popular synthetic fabric that is used in clothing, including sports garments like sauna suits.
It is resilient, damage-resistant to many oils and chemicals, waterproof, and easy to dry.
Nylon is generally a machine-washable material, but if washed in a washing machine, you should use colder water and use a setting that treats it as a delicate item. Regular all-purpose washing detergents are generally suitable for nylon, but you should always check the label.
Spandex is another common sports clothing material famous for its ability to stretch well without tearing. It can usually be stretched to 500% of its resting length without breaking.
Garments containing spandex are usually made partially from spandex rather than exclusively from spandex.
Spandex should be hand washed with lukewarm water at no more than 30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit. Machine washing can cause the spandex to overly stretch. Avoid washing detergents that contain bleach or fabric softener, as they will destroy the quality of your spandex.
Why You Need to Clean a Sauna Suit Regularly
Sauna suits, even after a single use, can hold a large amount of sweat that contains humidity and oils from your skin. This humidity allows bacteria and fungi to thrive and spread across your garment. If you were to wear your sauna suit again, you risk infections on your skin and wear the pungent smell that comes with it.
Once a sauna suit is allowed to smell, it can be incredibly difficult to wash off the bacteria and smell without resorting to a harsher way of washing it, which can ultimately damage your sauna suit. For this reason, you need to clean your sauna suit regularly.
If you’re storing your sauna suit in your gym bag and want to prevent your bag from also smelling, check out these gym bag odor eliminators.
How To Wash a Sauna Suit
Depending on the model of sauna suit you have purchased, you may have the option of hand-washing it or machine-washing it. You may be required to use only one of these methods with some sauna suits.
Here is a general guide to washing your sauna suit:
- First, turn your sauna suit inside out and pat dry immediately after use. This minimizes the chance of your sauna suit from growing bacteria and fungus across it.
- Leave it to dry in the open air if you are not going to wash it immediately, and avoid leaving it packed inside a backpack if possible.
- Leave it to soak in a bucket or bathtub with warm water around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius/68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add a mild detergent such as a mild hair shampoo or shower gel to the warm water.
- Create a lather in the water to ensure the detergent has fully spread evenly across the water.
- Leave the sauna suit to soak for 15 minutes.
- Pour the water away and rinse the sauna suit in clean cold water.
- Hang up your sauna suit to let it air dry, and wait until it is completely dry before wearing it again.
- Read the label on the sauna suit to follow the instructions if there are any.
- Put the sauna suit into the washing machine and use a gentle all-purpose laundry detergent that is free from any type of bleach, perfume, or fabric softener.
- Set the machine to use cold water (20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and use a delicate garment or gentle cycle on the washing machine setting.
- Do not run it on a spin cycle or add an extra spin cycle to the sauna suit, as this will damage the garment.
- Do not tumble dry, dry clean, or iron your garment.
- Ensure that you wash the sauna suit with other garments that are of a similar color.
- Hang up your sauna suit to air dry, and wait until it is completely dry before wearing it again.
How Do You Dry a Sauna Suit?
You should naturally let your sauna suit dry on a drying rack. Do not put your sauna suit in a dryer as this will heat the synthetic materials like plastic and rubber and melt them. Not only will this damage your sauna suit permanently, but this will also damage your tumble dryer or washing machine.
Put the sauna suit on a drying rack that is in a room with a consistent temperature. You want it at a consistent temperature because if it suddenly gets too cold, your sauna suit might spend too much time being damp, which will cause your garment to smell.
You also should not put your sauna suit in direct sunlight. If you experience very hot weather, the heat may actually damage your sauna suit if it contains rubber-type materials.
How Often Should You Wash a Sauna Suit?
If you do not use the sauna suit too often, such as only once per week, you should wash it after every use. If the sweat is left unwashed for a week, there is a strong chance that bacteria and fungus will flourish on your garment.
However, if you use your sauna suit regularly or on back-to-back training days, it may be impractical to wash it after every use. In this case, you would wash it after every two uses.
In between washes, you should immediately flip your sauna suit inside out and pat it dry after the workout. Hang it on a coat hanger in a warm and well-lit room.
Preventing Odors From Building Up in Your Sauna Suit
If you follow a proper cleaning regimen, odors should not build up in your sauna suit. But here is a list of essential tips for preventing odor from building up:
- Always flip your sauna suit inside out after use.
- Pat your sauna suit dry immediately after use.
- Do not let your sauna suit fester under a pile of dirty laundry for more than 2 days.
- Do not let your sauna suit sit in a smelly room.
- Ventilate the room you dry your sauna suit in.
- Do not leave your sauna suit sitting in your backpack for more than a day.
- Properly hand-spread your garment when drying it on a drying rack.
Additional Sauna Suit Resources
- Are Sauna Suits Good For Losing Fat? What the Science Says
- Sauna Suit Results (Here’s How Much Weight I Lost)
- 7 Sauna Suit Benefits & Are They Worth It?
- 7 Best Sauna Suits (Tried & Tested)
- How To Use a Sauna Suit To Cut Weight (Step By Step)
About The Author: Norman Cheung ASCC, British Powerlifting Team Coach
Norman Cheung is a powerlifting, and accredited strength and conditioning coach under the UKSCA. He has been coaching powerlifting since 2012 and has been an IPF Team GB coach since 2016. He has experience coaching various lifters, from novices to international medallists and international university teams. Alongside coaching, he takes interest in helping powerlifters take their first step into coaching. He currently runs his coaching services at strongambitionscoaching.com