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A good sauna smells good

My friend Clint sure has a loud voice, and he contributes some interesting info:

Saunas actually smell wonderful!

Cedar, the smell of hoppy beverages (recommended), and even some essential oils on the sauna rocks make for a splendid odoriferous experience.  But, isn’t sweat stinky?  The answer is yes, some sweat is stinky.

Two types of sweat glands.

Apocrine glands are responsible for stinky sweat and are located in your armpits and around the groin area. This is the sweat that contains hormones, can foster bacteria growth (stink), and serve several different evolutionary purposes (different topic altogether!). They do not react to heat.

Merocrine glands are far more numerous on the body and are used for thermoregulation. And… they don’t smell. It’s just water with a little bit of salt in it. You have about 3 million of these glands. This is why saunas stay naturally sterilized and smell fresh year around.

Clean your sauna.

Yes, you should do a good spring cleaning each year, but for the most part, thanks to merocrine glands, saunas require almost no maintenance or gas mask.

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3 Comments on This Post

  1. We used cedar in our sauna and it smells terribly when hot. Having to remove and will use northern white pine. Would not recommend cedar.

  2. Steve, after building 10 or so of my own saunas, and helping 325 other people build their own saunas, we have all used cedar paneling in our hot room with awesome effect. This is the first i’ve heard of cedar smelling terrible when hot.

    Were you sold a different bill of goods?

    Tell me that you didn’t use that Eastern Cedar that they use to line closets or shave for hamster cages. Also, careful with Pine. Ouch to touch, when hot.

  3. Glenn,
    I guess that is what it is as it is grown and milled here in Maine. White cedar. Nice cedar smell when cut but smells like sauerkraut when heated. Had a pine sauna for years and other than hot knots it held up fine.

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