An Open Letter to the People Wearing Sweaty Gym Clothes in the Sauna

Dear Sweaty Gym Clothes Wear-er,

I get it. You’re tired after your workout. Your sweaty and you want to relax for a little bit in the sauna. Who doesn’t? It’s completely understandable.

But please… do me, yourself, and everyone else who wants to spend some relaxing and healing time in the sauna a favor. And take off your goddamn sweaty gym clothes.

If you don’t have a towel and are not comfortable being naked in the sauna, I’ll give you a break. You can leave on your undergarments. I won’t like it, but I’ll tolerate it.

But for the love of God, take off your sweaty gym shoes.

Here’s the thing. The sauna, in case you haven’t noticed because you were staring at your iPhone the entire time, is a small enclosed box. It’s very hot. And that dry heat gets circulated into the opened pores of everyone who’s also sitting in this enclosed box. So when you sit in this box with all your dirty clothes and grimey shoes, that gunk goes into the air and gets into your pores, my pores, and the pores of the nice old Korean lady sitting between us. And it’s doing none of us a favor. In fact, it’s negating the good that could be coming of this sauna experience. So take three minutes and strip your ass down before you join me and my sweet old Korean lady sitting quietly.

And for the love of all that is holy- don’t bring in your phone. Just… don’t. Phones give off energy (that’s why the screen is bright while you text emoji’s to your BFF) and use energy. And it changes the energy in small enclosed spaces when you bring it in. Sauna is for detoxing. Phone is for retoxing. They don’t work together.

So look up and make eye contact the sweet old Korean lady next to you. She won’t mind. She’s at least 60 lbs overweight and naked. You think she cares what you think? Or stare at the wall for ten minutes and breathe without having to think or talk or do anything. Just enjoy the dry heat. And relax. Or talk to yourself. Or take a quick nap. I don’t care.

All I care about is that you stop ruining the sauna with your gross, sweaty gym shoes and clothes.

Thank you.



12 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the People Wearing Sweaty Gym Clothes in the Sauna

  1. Those “hot boxes” are not saunas, though, and “detoxing” is not the point of having one. (It doesn’t work like that anyway.) And the “gunk” doesn’t get into anyone’s pores, it just stinks.

  2. You got it thank you right on my friend I run 6 or 7 miles shower and end up in a sauna with unshowered people in gym clothes staring at smartphones . So annoying to no end these peole don’t care at all so inconsiderate and very gross . Great post

    1. thank you so much for your article. I am in the midst of writing a second letter to my LAFitness club asking them to put up a sign outside the sauna saying…do not hang sweat filled clothes in the sauna…I see such crap going on there….the guys just don’t get it….or don’t care…and I agree it’s a real health hazard for every one else in the sauna…
      so wish me luck…..the board of health told the club that the sauna isn’t their domain…they just check out he spa and pool.the water places…..but we know that sweat is toxic and I say. GOD Show me what to do next here to get some signs up. The Club doesn’t want to put themselves in a position to be liable if anyone does get sick and they have said by sign that that can happen so they would rather not put up any signs. My wish solution..GOD MAKE US RICH ENOUGH TO HAVE OUR OWN AND WE WILL TAKE REALLY GOOD CARE OF IT TOO..

      Thanks again Briana and many blessings for you and your wonderful family..AND HAPPY CLEAN SAUNAING!

      Dan Reismanm
      aka Artist Christoher


  3. Dear Stranger, I’ll wear whatever I damn well please in a public place thank you very much. And my sweat isn’t anymore or less toxic than the sweet Asian lady that made he entire sauna smell like stir fry. Or the Indian woman who made the sauna smell like curry. Welcome to the earth. A place where other people exist and behave independent and outside of your likenesses and tastes.

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  5. What is the difference between going into the sauna with sweaty workout clothes than going into the sauna with non sweaty clothes? You sweat the same regardless and its the same damn sweat, don’t be silly!

  6. Mr. Blow, good point, and I have an easy answer:
    European sauna culture expects that people shower before using the sauna, so their sweat is clean. Sweat from working out on the unsanitary machines, plus everything that person brought to the gym from the day outside, is rather dirty. Now, I’ll admit that if the usual etiquette in American saunas is to just go in workout clothes, and it’s the same for everybody, then that could be ok–but the point of etiquette is to have a system that works for every body.

    I was informed the usual thing in America is to shower before the sauna, wash thoroughly with soap, but keep a swimsuit on (I had to get used to that, it’s ok now, in the beginning I found it gross).

    Most saunas are mostly wood. The wood doesn’t do well with dirty sweat, and in general sweat on the wood should be avoided, that’s why we use big sauna towels that completely cover the wood before we sit or lie down.

    At my LA Fitness, the manager was happy that I want to bring some information that they can keep at the front desk, and make a sticker for the door. We’ll see how that goes.

    What I find even more annoying than the clothes is that most of the people who come in with leggings and sneakers also bring other stuff with them–like phones. Of course those heat up, so they leave after a few minutes. They have no health benefit, AND they keep opening the door, so the whole thing hardly gets over 140 degrees, and the rest of us has little benefit either.

  7. This concern was brought to me as I am someone who refuses to wear a towel or strip down at the gym.

    First of all… find another hobbie, don’t ruin someone’s relaxing time by bitching at them.

    Second. There is literally zero scientific or medical data to back this claim. I have searched with doctors and searched online to ensure I wasn’t just being a stubborn jerk. But this whole claim is a myth.

    The only reason they “SUGGEST” you wear a swim suit or towel to to not overheat… newsflash… you are paying to attend an establishment in which the sole purpose is to SWEAT. And the steam room causes an increase amount of sweat… how is my sweat different from yours besides being contained inside my clothes rather than on a soaking wet bench?

    These claims are irrational, unfounded and plain petty… please before you ruins someone’s day… educate yourself.

    Maybe if you brought your phone you would find something better to do with your time then boss people around with lies and false claims

  8. I mean I don’t want to touch all the grimy wood with my skin soo I’ll continue to wear my gym clothes

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