Why Does My Sauna Smell? (10 Most Common Reasons – Both New & Old)

Your sauna may smell for many reasons including mold, sweat, bacteria, dirt, burning wires, expired essential oils, wearing your day clothes, or improper ventilation.

10 Reasons why a sauna smells or has a bad odor

Foul odors should always be addressed because some of them can represent health risks (mold and chemicals) or even danger (burning wires). 


Saunas develop mold because they are warm and moist. Mold is dangerous for humans to breathe in and needs to be taken care of right away.  


Sweat can make your sauna smell bad if it builds up on the seats. Other people’s sweat will also cause a sauna to smell. 

Bacteria will definitely cause your sauna to smell. The wooden benches in saunas hold onto germs and dirt, which cause microorganisms to multiply. 



While dirt itself will not cause a sauna to smell, it can harbor mold and bacteria that will make your sauna smell bad. The dirtier your sauna is, the more likely it is that it will smell. 

Expired essential oils

Expired essential oils can smell stale or rancid. Essential oils in their purest form can spoil without smelling bad, but when they are in a carrier oil, the expired carrier oils can create an unpleasant odor. 

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