*Disclaimer: The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases.
The claims in the article are backed by 9 scientific references. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
Let me give you some background:
During my life, I had the great fortune to spend time in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. The Greek islands I recently spent time in come to mind.
All of these places are hot places! And I've learned a quick lesson there: if I ever spend enough time on the beach with my phone, the phone eventually shuts down...
And yet, as the CEO of Clearlight Infrared Saunas®, I get the question about phone use all the time: "Johannes, I really like my phone. Can you take a phone in an infrared sauna without damaging it?" Or instead: "Can I use my phone in an infrared sauna and, if so, minimise the damage while doing so?"
I can tell you right now the answer is "no". And yet, many people want an explanation. For that reason, I decided to write a blog post and break my answer down into more detail:
Answering The Question: "Can I Take My Phone Into An Infrared Sauna?"
Let me explain why my long answer is "no" too...
For instance, let's explore some of the temperatures at the hottest places on this planet. These are the places you don't wish your worst enemy to spend too much time! Three straightforward options come to mind:
- Death Valley in California has an all-time maximum temperature of 56 degrees Celsius.
- El Azizia, next up, in the Libyan Sahara 58 degrees max.
- Lastly, Wadi Halfa, Sudan, hit 52 degrees.
- Average temperatures are much lower than their all-time highs though. To be more precise, average summer top temperatures range between 46 and 49 degrees Celsius in these locations (1; 2).
These places are off the charts smoking hot and are probably 5-10 degrees Celsius colder than many of the more exotic places on this planet during the summertime!
In other words, my beach in Greece only hits a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius at the very maximum! And even at those temperatures my phone quickly shuts down
But let's explore this topic more:
In my blog post, "How Hot Is A Sauna?", I explained to you my perspective of the heat levels of different types of saunas. The problem with your cell phone in relation to the heat, according to my previous work? Here it is:
The most common infrared sauna temperatures are around 45 - 60 degrees Celsius (3; 4).
(Those Celsius numbers translate to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (F) to a maximum of 140 F!).
I hope you're getting my point:
If your smartphone doesn't survive hot weather in normal circumstances - such as my Greek beach - don't try to use the device in an infrared sauna! In fact, your infrared sauna gets hotter than the hottest places on Earth, like Death Valley in California!
What's more, don't use your phone in a Finnish sauna or steam room, because of the additional risk involved there! Traditional saunas achieve a much higher air temperature than infrared saunas.
And here's the problem with that outcome:
Heating does not just shut your phone off, it can damage your phone permanently (5; 6)!
Your phone is made from many different transition metals (otherwise the electro-magnetic principles of the phone wouldn't work), and also glass. Both materials heat up very well in sunlight, let alone infrared light. Infrared light can heat up objects much quicker than air, depending on circumstances.
In fact, there's a direct relationship between infrared light and heat (7; 8; 9). The more infrared light that's exposed to your phone, the higher the temperature will become from the inside out.
So in general, except for special physics circumstances, the more infrared light you expose an object to, the greater the damage because of the heat will be. Hence, an infrared sauna is the ultimate way to damage different parts of your phone - perhaps permanently!
Let's explore what happens when your phone overheats in more detail though:
Signs You're Overheating Your Phone
At first, you'll get some warning messages that your phone is overheating. Your touch screen might not work as well as it otherwise would have. Also, the glass and other materials making up the touch screen of your phone will feel heated!
Now here's the kicker: smartphone companies aren't stupid. A smartphone company has no benefit to promoting the use of phones over and above a certain temperature threshold.
That threshold is 95F (35 degrees Celsius) in most cases (remember my Greek beach?).
After your phone is heated to that temperature, it automatically shuts down to prevent damage.
And, even though your phone is smart enough to shut down to prevent further damage, don't think that keeping it in a sauna is safe. The longer the room temperature stays above 35 degrees Celsius, the more (permanent) damage will be done.
Also, remember that infrared saunas achieve heat intensities of 45-60 degrees Celsius (113 - 140 F). With those temperatures, you'll be killing your phone over time.
And yet, I get it...
You want a solution. You want to listen to music or hear a podcast, right? So let's explore your options in the next section:
Changing Your Mindset: Indirectly Using Your Phone In An Infrared Sauna With Clearlight Bluetooth
Let's take a detour first:
The Problem Of EMFs
At Clearlight, we always try to minimise your Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMF) exposure. We've even written a very extensive article about EMFs and how our saunas do better in that department.
So, we don't recommend this exposure - especially if you're hypersensitive to EMF - but we know that some people want convenience and pleasure over health. That principle holds true in many situations!
Why BlueTooth Uplifts Your Experience
We have included BlueTooth in our saunas! The BlueTooth is connected to the speakers inside the sauna.
The BlueTooth is removed as far away from your body as possible but still allows you to listen to your favourite music or podcast.
How to use that option? Connect your phone or tablet to BlueTooth and play your favourite podcast or music in your sauna while not risking the durability of your smartphone.
Here's another question I frequently get: would I recommend that option if you're hypersensitive to EMFs?
The answer is "usually not".
My recommendation is to check how you feel after a session...
But, would I recommend the option if relaxation and maximum enjoyment are your goals?
Nobody can perfect their health choices. If you want to steer completely free from all EMF, all air pollution, noise pollution, and more, I'll recommend you never enter society again. In fact, you'll live in a Canadian or Scandinavian forest to minimise all toxin exposure. For almost anyone, that scenario is too wild and unrealistic. That consequence has a huge loss for you.
Hence, it's perfectly okay - depending on your health circumstances - to use the BlueTooth of your sauna.
If you really enjoy music or a podcast, go ahead and enjoy the good feelings. The benefits of having some fun outweigh the downsides of a small amount of EMF exposure for most people.
Just don't use your (smart)phone inside that infrared sauna! You'll kill your phone sooner rather than later.
At Clearlight, we have thus found the perfect balance between enjoyment on the one hand, and EMF exposure on the other hand. And the choice always remains yours - you don't have to expose yourself to EMF if you don't want to.
And, no, this option is not the easy way out: it chooses the livable way out...
So, let's consider in detail what happens to your phone at higher temperatures accidentally anyway:
What If You've Overheated Your Phone Anyway?
If you overheat your phone, the battery will be drained, your phone can be damaged. In fact, with more recent smartphones, some components inside the phone can even melt and cause permanent damage.
I don't want to say too much about it - you might even lose your ability to claim a warranty by overheating your phone or exposing it to excess humidity.
For that reason, many people are blaming their phone for having a bad battery even though they've simply left their phone inside a sauna or in the direct sun! Once again, never opt for overheating your phone!
And, what if you do accidentally overheat your phone?
In that case, put it in the shade, turn it off, and let it cool down for a few hours. Anecdotally, if a phone didn't work for quite some time (a day or so), putting it in the fridge for a few hours has worked wonders and is suggested as a last solution.
Hope that helps!
Lastly, let's hear my final thoughts:
Conclusion: Phones Dislike Heat
My conclusion can be short:
Don't even try to use your phone inside a sauna!
Don't leave your phone in the sun also, or in the rain, or in another dangerous area. It's not worth it. If you want to listen to music or a podcast, just use our BlueTooth function in our sauna! Clearlight Infrared Saunas® offers you the golden mean.