Helmet is the first safety gear that every rider acquires. It will most probably the most expensive among all riding gear you would own. And questions like "Can we wash helmet with water?" aren't uncommon. Of course, you can wash your helmet with water.
Before we talk about helmet cleaning & maintenance, first let us understand how a helmet is constructed:
Helmets are built of five basic elements
- A rigid outer shell
- A crushable liner
- Comfort padding / liners
- Chin straps or a retaining system
- A visor.
- The rigid outer shell, when present, adds a load-spreading capability, and prevents objects from penetrating the helmet.
- The liner, usually made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) or similar types of materials, absorbs the energy of an impact by collapsing.
- The chin strap when properly buckled and adjusted along with the fit padding/liners helps the helmet remain in position during a crash.
If you want to know more about helmets, head here to our Helmets & how to choose a perfect helmet
Learn how to care properly for your helmet and it will serve you for many years. Just follow these simple tips.
What you need for cleaning a helmet:
- Warm Water
- Microfibre cloth
- Soft tooth brush, Ear buds
- Mild Detergent / Baby shampoo
Caution: Do not use any solvent / bleach / alcohol for cleaning.
How to : Helmet Cleaning in 9 Easy Steps:
- Remove all accessories like action camera or communicators
- Remove all liners
- Prepare your helmet for cleaning
- Clean liners / comfort padding
- Clean exterior of helmet
- Clean visor
- Clean internal sun visor/shield (if present)
- Clean vents & Crushable liner/EPS
- Reassemble the helmet
1. Remove all accessories
Remove all accessories like action camera, Bluetooth communicator that are attached to the helmet. If you are using an off-road or dual sport helmet, remove the peak of the helmet.
2. Remove all liners
Most of the modern helmets have removable internal liners. It is just a matter of few press buttons and the liners are out (or in when you want to put them back). DO NOT try to remove the crushable liner / EPS that is fitted inside top of helmet
3. Prepare your helmet for cleaning
- Spray the outer shell with lukewarm water using mild detergent/ordinary hand/face soap. If the helmet has recently seen you riding off-road and now looks colour of mud, soak a microfiber cloth in warm water and drape it over the helmet.
- If you are using an off-road / dual sports helmet, use the same treatment for its removable peak.
- In case your helmet visor is too dirty, soak and wrap it in a microfiber cloth soaked in warm water+ mild detergent.
4. Clean liners / comfort padding
Liners are the ones who absorb all your sweat, hair oil and are the first to tell you that you need to wash your helmet.
- Fill a tub / bucket with warm water & mild detergent/baby shampoo.
- Dip the liners in lukewarm water. Hand clean/scrub/squeeze them. Repeat.
- Keep changing water till all dirt / traces of detergent are absent.
- Squeeze out the water.
- Let them dry slowly in shade. DO NOT use hair dryer.
5. Clean exterior of helmet
IF you have carried out the step 3 properly, all the dust/dirt patches on the helmet must be now ready to be easily removed. If you are using an off-road / dual sports helmet, then clean the removable peak in this step.
- Get another microfiber cloth
- Dip it in a tub/bucket of warm water and mild detergent/baby shampoo. (don’t try to use the dirty water from step 4)
- Keep cleaning the helmet exterior till it is clean.
- Use the soft tooth brush to clean hard to reach spots
- DO NOT use any solvents or cleaning material
6. Clean Helmet Visor
Visor is your window to the world…so to say so it is necessary to keep it clean all the time.
- Clean the visor with lukewarm soap water and a microfibre or soft cloth.
- Use mild liquid soap to clean out the dead bugs with microfiber or ear buds
- Do not scrub heavily. It is very easy to damage / scratch the visor. Be gentle. Warm water is cheaper than a new visor.
Most modern helmet visors have some sort of protective coating on inside layer so never ever, ever scrub inside of the visor.
7. Clean internal sun visor/shield
If your helmet comes equipped with internal sun shield, you should clean it also. The sun shield would rarely be dirty but would surely have dust on it. So easiest way to clean it is spray / sprinkle water on it and gentle clean with microfiber.
- There is no need to take it off completely from helmet. It is very difficult to put them back in.
- Also they are quite filmsy so you have to be extra gentle while cleaning internal sun shield.
8. Clean vents & Crushable liner/EPS
Sometimes dirt or some inset gets trapped inside the vent. So you can try to clean them using ear buds or simply blowing air from inside of helmet.
Do not use more water for cleaning EPS. You will damage it. This area rarely, if ever gets dirty so don’t worry too much.
9. Reassemble the helmet
Make sure that all the parts that you cleaned are dry and reassemble. You now have fresh smelling and feeling helmet
Remember – Soft and Gentle is the keyword when you are cleaning your riding gear.
Here are a few products that will help you in cleaning the helmet:
Helmet Cleaning Checklist:
Every Day: It may sound like too much but cleaning your motorcycle helmet every day is hugely important – especially your visor. A clean visor is essential. If the visor has dead flies or dirt on it, then your eyes will be drawn towards it all the time. After every ride, wet some soft paper napkins and leave them on your visor for a few minutes, then simply wipe off.
A scratched visor can cause dazzle from oncoming vehicle headlights. If your visor becomes scratched you should replace it immediately, as a scratched visor can cause dazzle from vehicle headlights.
Every Week: Motorcycle helmets come packed with vents and intakes, which will only work if kept open and clean. Spend a few minutes each week cleaning the vents, using a toothbrush or cotton bud to ensure they’re free of obstructions.
Every Month: Your motorcycle helmet can collect sweat, skin and would start smelling if kept unattended. So using the method mentioned above, clean the helmet thoroughly.
More tips to keep your helmet in top nick:
- When not riding for long time, make sure that you clean your helmet of dirt & sweat before storing. Otherwise it will become healthy environment for fungi.
- What to do when u discover fungi inside helmet after rainy season is over? Simply follow this cleaning guide. You might add some Dettol instead of other detergent.
- So you rode in the storm & rain and hence proved your mettle as a real rider. But what to do with the drenched helmet? Just dismantle everything apart and rinse in lukewarm water as guided above and let it dry in shade
- Never keep your helmet on motorcycle mirror. The hard edges impact the inner liners.
- Prefer to use a clear visor than a dark / mirrored visor. If you have a dark visor, you will need to keep it open while riding and then your eyes and face will be graveyard of insects.
Take care of your riding gear and enjoy it for long time to come.
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