Why Traditional Finnish Sauna Textiles are Made From Linen

Why Traditional Finnish Sauna Textiles are Made From Linen


Linen, obtained from flax, was quite widespread and traditional in 19th century Europe. Since the plant is frugal and requires little water but a maritime climate, it was widespread as far as the Arctic Circle. Thus, it was also found in the south and southwest of Finland. The plant was used for the production of linen yarn, from which textiles were eventually made.

With the introduction of cotton from the North American continent and the advent of synthetic fibers, linen as a material has faded into the background. However, especially in Finland, linen and linen blends still enjoy great popularity to this day, and there are understandable reasons for this.


Even though the production process is very costly and time-consuming, linen has decisive advantages over cotton or synthetic fibers.

There are several environmental aspects that make flax a better choice than its competitors:

  • Flax is easier to care for and thus requires significantly less water than i.e.  cotton.
  • The cultivation of flax also has a significantly better CO2 balance.
  • One hectare of flax, for example, can absorb up to 3.7 tons of CO2 and significantly fewer greenhouse gases are needed to ensure cultivation and harvesting.
  • Significantly fewer pesticides are used




Linen and blended fabrics made of linen have on the one hand the already mentioned advantages for our planet, but also the properties of the finished product predestine it for use in the sauna.

Due to the way of weaving and its properties, linen is very smooth, thus little water and moisture is trapped, which does not provide a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria. Discoloration from dirt and debris is also much less likely to occur with linen than with other fabrics. In addition, linen is particularly good at neutralizing odors - this makes sense especially in the sauna and kitchen.

For those trying linen for the first time, the fabric will probably feel a little rough at first, however, the skin gets used to it very quickly and the linen becomes more snug with each use.

Linen hardly fluffs at all, and because of this and the fact that eco-linen does not need to be treated with pesticides and other chemicals, it is particularly suitable for allergy sufferers.

However, the most obvious properties of linen that make it so popular for use in the sauna is its ability to absorb up to three times more moisture than cotton without itself becoming damp. This means it is drying faster and the fabric does not get as damp in the sauna as other materials. In addition, linen dries very quickly. Last but not least, towels and sauna textiles are also particularly space-saving compared to similar materials made of cotton or synthetic fabrics. This leaves more space in your bag for other things.



Caring for your linen products is rather straightforward and not as hard as commonly suggested:

  • Wash linen products separately from other washing (wash dark and light colours separately)
  • Completely soak the textiles before washing, especially linen terry (this is to ensure that the water in the machine is not absorbed into the textiles but instead used for washing and rinsing off the loose fibres)
  • Regularly check the machine’s lint filter, especially before and after washing a product for the first time
  • 60° C wash, “mild” spin-drying, half-full loading
  • Straighten and smooth out the textiles and hang on washing line to dry
  • Flat-woven textiles must be mangled when damp


Browse through our assortment with brands like Jokipiin Pellava and Finkonia, which besides sauna and bath towels also offers sauna cushions, sauna seat pads, sauna hats and more made of linen and linen terry.