My dad’s family is from Estonia and over there, everyone sauna’s weekly. Even tiny little bachelor apartments have a closet-sized, stand up sauna. This is a wise practice. Using a sauna or steam room regularly is said to help with muscle pain relief, detoxification, and sleep improvement. Due to the Coronavirus, public saunas and steam rooms are no longer an option. For some people, this is a real problem, myself included. I love going to the sauna as it restores my body, mind, and spirit. Without it, I felt my sanity slowly slip away, until I got a crazy idea; make one at home! Surprisingly, it went well. From a ‘Thai Style’ set up to a steam room in a grow tent, here are the do’s and don’t of making an at-home steam room. 

What you need to make your home steam room

Creating steam room at home is surprisingly easy, you just need to think a little outside the box. The following items are going to be basic needs but from there, use your imagination. As long as you follow certain guidelines, you can create your own steam room in a safe way, without screwing up your house.

Steam building tool

A small enclosed space – must be easy to vent in case it’s too hot

A spot to sit – whether it’s the floor or a small chair, plan where you are going to park it.

Light – a small enclosed space can get pretty dark so make sure that light is accounted for. If something goes wrong with your steam set up, you need to be able to see what’s going on. If it’s a small flashlight or lantern, make sure it can handle the environment.

Steam – You can buy a small appliance online designed for Personal Steam rooms but making steam isn’t hard. I used a Crock-Pot filled with water and a handheld steam cleaner. In order to heat up my personal set up, the Crock-Pot went in first. Then, I came in and once I was comfortable, I used the steam cleaner. Pointing the nozzle away from myself, I held down the trigger to release the steam. It was incredibly effective.

DO NOT try heating up rocks to make a dry sauna.

Dry Sauna

If you have your own ideas for a dry sauna setup, I congratulate you. However, do not cheap out on the stove! You can’t just heat up any rock because it may explode. Avoiding that depends on the makeup and moisture content inside. Unless you’re a geologist, leave this one to the professionals and buy a sauna stove. A hot exploding rock is not relaxing.

DO consider your venting options

Before you even begin, you need to think about where you are going to end up. If you don’t have a way to let out all the steam from the room, you can end up doing serious damage or creating mould. If it’s big enough, the best place to create your indoor, at-home steam room is the bathroom. Not only is it already prepped for a hot steamy shower, but you can also clear the air by turning on the fan.

DO consider outdoor locations

A lot of these setups can easily be created outdoors; the only thing you need is power. If you have a backyard and extension cord, look for flat spaces to situate a tent and chair. Using the ‘Thai Style’ tent? Look for a tree branch that you can attach it to. 

In outdoors

Set up option #1 – Thai Style Steam Tent

This option is really easy to make and it works so much better than it sounds. The inspiration comes from Thai Herbal Steam spas. To make your own, you need:

  • An umbrella with a hook at the top or an umbrella hat
  • 1-2 thick sheets or clean shower curtains
  • A small chair or stool
  • Steam – small crockpot under chair or handheld steam cleaner 
  • A handful of clothesline clips or something similar
Thai style tent

To create a steam tent:

1, Open your umbrella

2, Drape the sheets over the top of the umbrella, creating your enclosure.

3, Secure sheets with clips.

4, Hang up your new homemade, personal steam tent by the umbrella hook.

Hot tip – if you are using your bathroom to create your personal Shangri-la, hang the umbrella hook off the shower curtain rod.

5, Set up your chair and place your slow cooker underneath.

You can also sit on the ledge of your bathtub and position your Crock-Pot against it.

6, Pre-heat it! Turn on the slow cooker and give your steam room a few minutes to blossom before you jump in. 

Set up variations

While an umbrella setup might seem a bit kooky, the clean up is easy, especially when you can wash the sheets. If that’s still not going to work for you, consider these options:

  • Use a small tent to create your enclosure but be aware, the bigger it is, the more steam you will need.

Hot tip – use a grow tent to build your sauna

The all-time hands-down best success I had was using an empty grow tent. Not only was it set up be vented outside, but the inside is also lined with reflective material, maximizing your heat and humidity. Plus, grow tents have expandable holes to allow for easy electric cord paths; making access to power, easy and convenient.

Grow tent

Getting to be in a steam room again took me straight to a place of personal paradise. Instantly, I felt the benefits that my body was craving and that made the whole thing incredibly worth it. It might seem a bit ridiculous but believe me, its bliss. You just need to follow the do’s and don’t of making an at-home steam room.