Tips for Cleaning Motorcycle Helmets
Got a motorcycle helmet that’s smelling funky on the inside or covered in dirt and bugs on the outside? It’s time to give your most important piece of safety gear a cleaning.
We don’t have to tell you how important a helmet is for protecting your head, but you need to return the favor every once in a while and protect it back. Here are some tips for cleaning a motorcycle helmet, inside and out.
NOTE: These are just general motorcycle helmet cleaning tips, but as with everything else, its best to consult the owner’s manual on how to properly clean your particular helmet so you don’t end up doing something that could void the warranty.
NOTE: Never use solvents or petroleum-based products to clean a motorcycle helmet. Baby shampoo is widely recommended as a non-abrasive cleaner for helmet cleaning.
Clean the Helmet Liner and Cheek Pads
The liner makes a helmet smell funky on the inside when it gets dirty, so you’ll want to remove and clean it, as well as the cheek pads and any other padding.
Helmet liners in particular can reek after getting soaked in sweat, breath and hair grease. For the liner and cheek pads, a simple wash in warm, soapy water and an air drying should do the trick. Don’t put either piece in the dryer, as the extreme heat may damage them. If your motorcycle helmet’s liner isn’t removable, simply submerge the helmet in a mix of warm water and soap, then dunk the helmet in and out of it for several minutes at a time. Use a microfiber cloth to gently scrub the helmet, then give it a thorough rinse and let it air dry.
Clean the Helmet’s Exterior
Soak a microfiber cloth in warm water and place it on top of your motorcycle helmet to loosen up any encrusted dirt and bugs.
Keep the cloth on for at least half an hour, then remove it and use a different damp microfiber cloth to gently wipe down the outside of the helmet. Next, use a clean soft-bristle toothbrush to take care of any hard-to-reach spots. Once the helmet is clean, give it a coat of wax for good measure.
Clean the Face Shield
Thoroughly washing the face shield of a helmet is perhaps the most important step, as this is the part of your helmet that protects your eyesight.
Both the face shield and the sun shield (or visor) are magnets for dirt and grime. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe them down without scratching them. If your helmet has a pinlock face shield, use extra care to clean it, as it can be easily damage. As helmet face shields are prone to fogging, use a little anti-fog spray on it, and on the sunshield (and goggles or glasses), even if these pieces are made from/labeled as anti-fogging. While you’re at it, make sure to clean your helmet’s vents as well. Use an air compressor and a cotton swab to clean and unclog the vents.
Reassemble the Helmet
All that’s left to do after cleaning a motorcycle helmet is to reassemble the parts you removed. Just make sure every nook and cranny of the helmet is completely dry before putting the pieces back together to avoid interior moisture buildup.
Additional Motorcycle Helmet Cleaning Tips
- Always give your helmet a quick wipe down after every ride to prevent dirt, bugs and grime from accumulating and hardening.
- Give your motorcycle helmet a thorough interior and exterior cleaning at least twice during the riding season.
- While baby shampoo is often recommended, you can’t go wrong with a dedicated motorcycle helmet cleaner.
- Never use window cleaner on face shields, visors or any part of the helmet.
- Don’t dry the interior helmet lining or any other protective padding with a hair dryer, as it could damage them. Use clean, dry cloths to absorb the water, then let them air dry.
- Sanitizing the inside of your motorcycle helmet is important, as it makes direct contact with your skin, so don’t cut corners by skipping the interior.
Finally, take advantage of the cleaning process to inspect your motorcycle helmet for cracks or other damage to any of its parts and accessories. Motorcycle helmets should be replaced after every 5 years of use, but if you find any cracks to the shell, buy a new helmet as soon as possible.