Taking care of your helmet is as important as buying the right one. If a high-end helmet has been handled poorly then it wouldn’t offer the same comfort or safety. Regular cleaning helps to keep your helmet fresh and comfortable for you, while proper handling helps to retain its safety mechanism.
- Use mild soaps like baby shampoo or mild laundry detergent to clean your helmet
- Cover the outer shell with a towel soaked in warm water for a few minutes to soak and loosen bug guts before wiping them away
- Always use soft, scratch free microfiber towels to clean your helmet
- Use minimum pressure when cleaning visors
- Clean vents and joints using cotton swabs
- Carry a pack of cleaning wet wipes on your ride to wipe stains like bug guts before they harden
- Always let your helmet air out overnight after a day of riding
- After washing, let the helmet dry out naturally or use a room fan to accelerate the process
- Scrub the shell or visor to remove tough stains
- Use any petroleum distillate or solvent-based cleaner on your helmet
- Use a glass cleaner or any ammonia-based cleaner on the visor
- Use harsh soaps or fabric softener to clean your inner liner
- Use kitchen spray, bike cleaner or bleach to remove tough stains on the outer shell
- Put your helmet liner in the dryer
- Put a wet helmet back into the cupboard
- Try to dry out your helmet with a hair dryer
Cleaning the inside
Helmets come with either a removable or a non-removable liner where the former is a lot easier to clean. Pull out the removable liner along with the cheek pads. They are attached to the helmet with Velcro or pop studs and a sharp tug should help you get them out.
Wash the liners by hand in a sink using a mild cleaner like a baby shampoo(Johnson’s Baby NMT Shampoo). Then rinse them well with water and hang them out to dry naturally. Alternatively, you can also put the liners in a net washing bag(Machine Wash Nylon Mesh Style Laundry Washing Bag) and then wash them in a washing machine choosing gentle/delicate cycle and using a regular laundry detergent. Once finished, hang them out to air dry. Do not put the liner pieces back into the helmet until they are fully dry. Before attaching the liner gently wipe the inside of your helmet with a damp cloth or unscented baby wipe.
A different approach is needed for cleaning helmets with non-removable liners. Take off the visor and other removable parts. Next, find a bucket or a plastic tub which is big enough to accommodate your helmet and fill it with lukewarm water and a mild cleaner. Create some froth in the water using your hands.
Rinse the helmet inside out under lukewarm water in the shower or under a tap to get the initial grime/dust off and then place it bottom down in the bucket. Let it soak for a few minutes and then turn the helmet upside down. Rub the soapy water into the liner gently removing the head dirt out of the liner. Rinse it thoroughly under the shower/tap.
Put the helmet on a flat surface and let it dry naturally.
Cleaning the outside
Remove the visor and outer plastic vents if possible and gently wipe the entire helmet with a damp, soapy microfiber cloth(3M Car Care Microfibre Cloth). Do not scratch the outer shell of your helmet. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently lift away dirt and grime from areas such as the mounting points of the visor. Wipe the entire helmet again using a fresh damp microfiber cloth and lukewarm water.
Soak a paper kitchen towel and place it on the helmet visor. Leave it for a few minutes and then remove. This will help remove the road grime and bug guts off your visor without having to scrub it. If the marks are really tough then leave the visor to soak for several minutes in a bucket with warm soapy water. Then gently wipe it with a microfiber cloth.
Keep the helmet and the other parts to dry naturally in a well ventilated area. Use a room/table fan to expedite the process.
Additionally you can use a good quality automotive wax on gloss finish helmets to make them shine but do not use the same for matt-finish helmets or else they would become shiny. Do check the manufacturer care instructions before applying the wax on glossy helmets.
It should take about 15-20 minutes to wash your helmet from both inside and outside and then several hours to let it dry. Once this process is complete your helmet would look a lot cleaner and smell better.
If you do not have time to wash your helmet fully then for a quick clean up you can use a spray like Motul 102992 M1 Helmet and Visor Clean to clean the outside fibre body and visor, and 3M Helmet Deodorizer for the inside.
- Store your helmet in a cool and dry place
- Keep it away from children and pets
- Carry your helmet correctly by putting on the chinstrap and carrying it like a hand bag
- When you take off your helmet, place it on a flat surface like on the ground, a rack or a shelf
- Carefully read the instructions if you desire to apply modifications to your helmets like painting, decorating, pinstrtiping or applying decals
- Wear a skullcap or bandana under your helmet. It helps prevent sweat and body oils from permeating the liner
- If you own a glossy helmet, then you can coat its outer liner with a quality automotive wax. It helps to prevent water spots, guts, and grime from sticking
- If your helmet suffers a major drop then get it tested
- If your helmet has suffered an impact during an accident then replace it immediately
- Replace your helmet every 5 years even if it has never been through an accident
- Make structural modifications to your helmet like drilling holes or cutting the liner or chinstrap
- Hang your helmet on the motorcycle’s mirrors, turn signals or backrest as it can cause damage to the inner liner
- Carry a spare helmet as the bumps and jarring from a normal ride can harm the spare
- Strap your helmet near hot engine parts or exhaust pipes
- Store your helmet near gasoline, cleaning fluids, exhaust fumes or excessive heat because, they can cause degradation of helmet materials internally
- Store your gloves in your helmet as it reduces the life span of your helmet liner
- Carry your helmet by the chin bar or it would get worn inside by the finger pressure