Does Infrared Sauna Go Through Clothes? (Comparing Materials)

We all know specific rules regarding what to wear to the sauna. But since infrared saunas work differently than other saunas, does that change what kinds of clothing you should wear?

Infrared heat does go through clothes. Infrared saunas heat your body from the inside out rather than heating the air around you. However, to do this, the rays need to penetrate through your clothes first. Different kinds of fabric allow more or less infrared heat to reach your body. Cotton is ideal.

Keep reading to learn about the fascinating workings of infrared heat and clothing!

Does infrared heat go through clothes?

How does infrared heat reach your body if it doesn’t heat the air around you?

Infrared saunas work differently than other saunas because they heat your body from the inside out rather than heating the air around you. Still, the infrared rays need to penetrate through your clothes to reach your body. Fabrics such as cotton allow more infrared heat through.

Infrared heat goes through different fabrics in different amounts. The fabric’s color also makes a difference, although not as large as the difference between fabrics.

The study first began by experimenting with layers of paper. As you might suspect, the more layers of paper used, the less penetration was present.

This indicated that heavier clothing would result in less infrared penetration. The weaves of the fabric also made a difference- for example, a looser weave resulted in more penetration.

Again, the more layers of clothing they added, there was less penetration of infrared heat.

To demonstrate how effective certain materials were at letting through infrared rays- rays going through denim could no longer be detected after three layers. In comparison, cotton could still be detected after 12 layers!

Even more fascinating, infrared heat penetrates fabric differently depending on if the fabric is wet or not. This means that the more you sweat, the more infrared heat penetrates your clothing.

All of this being said, it is clear that cotton, which has accumulated sweat, will let through the most infrared rays of all fabrics.

Now onto some of the health benefits of infrared saunas!

Infrared saunas can help you:

  • Recover from exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Detox heavy metals
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Reduce stress
  • And more!

How should I dress in the infrared sauna?

There are pretty specific guidelines on how to dress in the sauna. Infrared saunas are no exception!

You may think you want to wear extra clothes in an infrared sauna to trap in the infrared rays, but the sauna is designed to be at the optimal temperature, and there’s no need to try to make it hotter. It will only be uncomfortable and unsafe. Wear loose-fitting clothing, so your body has room to sweat and breathe.

Here are some good options of clothes to wear in an infrared sauna:

  • Bathing suit. Gives you lots of ability to sweat and breathe and leaves you exposed to the heat.
  • Clean gym clothes. Gym clothes can be a great option if they aren’t tight-fitting.
  • Towels. Wrapping yourself in a cotton towel is a comfortable, breathable option.

Now let’s go over some not-so-good options:

  • Dirty gym clothes. Will smell, creating an unpleasant and unsanitary experience for yourself and others.
  • Synthetic material. Can melt in the heat of the sauna.
  • Wearable electronics. Will overheat.

Lastly, here’s a rundown of general types of attire and how they’ll affect you inside a sauna.

  • Loose-fitting materials. Allow you to sweat and breathe.
  • Tight materials. Too restrictive and can make you overheat.
  • Jewelry and smartwatches. Can burn you or break.