Whether you’re a new or experienced rider, chances are you’re going to have a smelly/dirty helmet after all the motorcycle riding you’ve done. A lotta people ask how to clean lids inside and out, and although there are a lotta different methods and suggestions, I’ve compiled the most effective ways to do so and we have Motorcycle Helmet Cleaning Tips for you so please visit German Helmets.
If you own a helmet with a removable interior lining, then you pretty much have it made. You remove the lining and/or the cheek pads and throw them in the laundry machine at delicate cycle, while that is washing, you can clean the outside of the helmet with a soft cloth/towel/microfiber and mild detergent.
Moisten the soft cloth/towel/microfiber, put a few drops of mild detergent on it, and wipe the shell gently, the detergent will do its job with the grime/dirt/etc and after you’re done, you simply wipe off with water until the detergent is gone. You’ll be left with a shiny clean OIL-FREE shell.
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But for those of us with helmets that do NOT have a removable liner.. the job is a little trickier. Skin oil and sweat build-up and all the ” spray cleaners” just don’t quite cut it. I’ve tried helmet fresh and all it did was make it smell better, and I’ve tried Motorex Helmet Care Spray, which yielded the same results, all fragrance, minimal cleaning effect (on the lining).
How To Clean Your Motorcycle Helmet
Follow these steps if your helmet doesn’t have a removable liner and smells like poop.
Step 1: Motorcycle helmet cleaning materials
As with any production, getting things in order from the beginning will go a long way towards making the best use of your time while cleaning a motorcycle helmet. People tend to have their own preferences as to what works best, and there are certainly many viable alternatives, but there are a basic set of items that are always good to start with.
These are great for washing a motorcycle helmet, as well as cleaning a face shield. While they don’t always have to be new, you should always start with a clean rag. Any dirt particles trapped in the rag increase the risk that you will rough up the exterior finish on the helmet during the cleaning process.
This doesn’t need to be your state-of-the-art Sonicare tooth blaster. A cheap toothbrush with soft bristles is all you need to help clean nooks and crannies that the microfiber rags cannot reach. This can prove especially useful when cleaning around your motorcycle helmet face shield gaskets and vents.
The main thing that you want to keep in mind when looking for a cleaning agent is to ensure that it is not petroleum-based. Baby shampoo is an oft-used option, due to its gentle nature.
Whether it is a tub or a sink, warm water is your best friend when washing a motorcycle helmet as it allows you to gently loosen dirt and dead bugs without harming any of the helmet materials.
If you have access to an air compressor, dialing back the pressure and using a few strategic blasts is a great way to clean motorcycle helmet air vents. Be careful not to use air from an aerosol can, however, as that will erode the EPS liner in the helmet and degrade its protective capabilities.
Step 2: Remove any electronics and external accessories
It sounds incredibly basic (and it is), but this is a step that is all too often overlooked until it is too late. Before you wash a motorcycle helmet, you should be sure to remove any internal electronic accessories such as microphones, antennas, batteries, and the Bluetooth communicator units that they attach to. Additionally, if you’re working on a dual-sport or off-road helmet that has a peak, it is a lot easier to remove it and clean separately.
Step 3: Remove the helmet’s interior
While many manufacturers have slightly different designs, removing the internal liner and cheek pads rarely require more than a few strategic tugs. In most cases, comfort pads and liners attach with snaps, but some use hook-and-loop material or even magnets. For specifics, be sure to check your owner’s manual. Once you have removed the cheek pads and mainliner, place these to the side. We will get to washing them in Step 5.
Step 4: Prepare the helmet’s outer shell
To help loosen up caked-on dirt and bugs, soak a microfiber towel in warm water and then drape it over the helmet. This will work to gently soften and dislodge stuck-on gunk and reduces the effort needed to clean it later, as well as the likelihood that you will scratch the helmet or face shield during the process. Allow the wet microfiber rag to remain on the helmet while you move on to Step 5.
Step 5: Clean the interior lining
It’s often the interior of a motorcycle helmet that needs to wash the most. From face sweat to hair oil, the lining of your motorcycle helmet soaks up a lot of grime. When cleaning the lining of your motorcycle helmet, fill a sink, tub, or bucket with warm water and baby shampoo then dunk, scrub, and massage each piece of your helmet liner in the soapy water. Baby shampoo works well for this task as it is ultra-gentle, yet still designed specifically to clean away sweat and hair oil.
When complete, let your helmet liner and cheek pads air dry. It’s always best to do this at least the night before you plan on riding so as to allow enough time to dry thoroughly. A wet helmet liner, like a wet dog, tends to be something you don’t want to shove your face in.
Step 6: Clean the motorcycle helmet’s exterior
After removing the wet rag that you placed on the helmet in Step 4, take off the face shield and set it aside. Use a new, wet microfiber cloth to gently work your way around the exterior of the helmet and wipe away any leftover dirt. When cleaning your motorcycle helmet, always be sure to use warm water only. Certain solvents and cleaning solutions can damage the exterior of your helmet. The toothbrush will come in handy for hard-to-reach spots.
Step 7: Blow out the vents (if needed)
Sometimes, in the heat of riding hard, a dirt chunk or well-fed insect will get lodged in the vent channels of your helmet. A quick blast from an air compressor (not an aerosol can) works well to clear the pathways and let the air flow freely again.
Step 8: Clean the face shield
Most modern face shields have some sort of protective coating (mainly for UV protection and anti-fog). For that reason, and much like the exterior of your helmet itself, you should never use anything other than warm water when cleaning a motorcycle face shield. For care instructions specific to your face shield, be sure to check out the owner’s manual to ensure you do not void any manufacturer warranties.
In the end, the best way to wash a motorcycle Faceshield is simply to use a wet microfiber cloth and gently massage away any dirt, dust, or smudges. Also just like with the helmet exterior, leaving a wet rag draped over the face shield for several minutes softens up crusty bug remains and makes the job much easier.
A Note about Pinlock shields
When cleaning a Pinlock Faceshield, remove the inner lens from the outer face shield so you can clean both sides of each piece. Be especially careful not to damage the gasket on the inner lens as it is integral in the Pinlock system working correctly when you put them back together.
Step 9: Wipe down the internal sun shield
If your helmet has an internal sun shield, it is likely not very dirty. However, if the drop-down visor has gotten a bit dusty over time, a quick spritz of water and wipes down with a microfiber towel will do the trick. Unless you are adamant in your desire to remove the entire sun visor, it is easier to leave it in place while cleaning, as it can be a bear to get back into place once removed.
Step 10: Reassemble the helmet
Reassemble your helmet starting with the dry liner and cheek pads. Reattach your face shield and any other pieces that you removed prior to cleaning.
Washing a motorcycle helmet is about as easy as it gets on the Beard Scale of Difficulty. However, there are a few key pieces that are imperative to remember, such as the importance of not using solvents or petroleum-based cleaning solutions. While the time investment is as minimal as the physical exertion and technical know-how needed, knowing how to properly clean and maintain a motorcycle helmet is a foundational piece of an enjoyable ride.
Now, you can see this video:
For motorcycle helmets, padding is very exposed to the mud and must be cleaned more thoroughly. In these cases, it is, therefore, possible to clean them in the washing machine with a short, cold, and delicate program. And as always, do not let them dry directly in the sun and especially never put it in the dryer.
One last thing, remember that when reinstalling the helmet elements, we must do it in a specific order to leave no trace and that the cleaning is perfect.
It is necessary to start from the inside, then the collar and the external annexes of ventilation, and visor and to finish the cache nose and cache neck.
Now that you’ve put all the effort into scrubbing your helmet clean, you want to keep it that way, right? Here are a few tips to keep your helmet in tip-top shape in between washings. (Note: do these, and you’ll have to wash it a lot less often too.)
Wear a skullcap or bandana under your helmet. This is your first line of defense in preventing sweat and body oils from permeating your liner!
Put a coat of quality automotive wax on the shell of your helmet (gloss helmets only.) This will make bug guts and grime much easier to remove in the future.
Carry a pack of cleaning wipes with you on rides. To wipe down your helmet and clean bug guts before they harden.
Never, ever scrub your visor! Rubbing and scrubbing things off your visor is a surefire way to scratch it.
Let the cleaner and water do the work. Soak bug guts with cleaner, or even just a warm, wet towel before gently wiping them away.
Always let your helmet air out. After a day of riding, shoving your helmet into a bag will keep sweat from evaporating and make odors worse. Always let your helmet air out overnight after a ride.
When you store your helmet it is a good idea to keep it out of the main riding gear bag. Most MX riders and track day junkies tend to stick their helmet in the bag with their musky leathers, dirty socks, and sweaty gloves. In fact, I see folks stick their nasty gloves inside their helmet all the time.
This is a very bad idea because it will allow the funk permeate deep into the components of your helmet. Treat your lid as the valuable commodity it is. Store it on a shelf or at least in something like an OGIO Stealth helmet bag so it is not exposed to the rest of your nasty riding gear.
It may seem like most of this info is just common sense, but it’s always a good idea to be reminded how to do things the right way. When you do it right and perform even a wee-bit of regular maintenance on your helmet after each ride you will keep the funk from taking over. I hope a few of you might even go dig your crusty moto gloves out of your poor helmet right after you read this piece.
This way, you will always have a helmet in perfect condition! If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to share your comments in the box below.
See also >> Motorcycle Helmet Care Tips