For riders, next to the motorcycle itself, the helmet would probably be the next most important thing that most riders spend on. After all, it also does the job of protecting our heads and making sure we come home safely to our loved ones. Because of this, it also deserves just as much TLC as you would give your motorcycle. Knowing how to clean your helmet not only will it get rid of that funky smell you’ve been ignoring, and it could also extend your helmet’s lifespan. If you’ve never had any experience in cleaning your motorcycle helmet, or if you’ve neglected cleaning your lid in the past, fear not, we have done all the research for you and made our own mistakes during our own time trying it. In any case, be sure to take a look at your helmet’s owner’s manual to avoid voiding its warranty right before proceeding to clean it. Otherwise, we give you the 9 steps to cleaning your helmet.
Prepare your cleaning materials
First and foremost, just as a mechanic needs his tools to work his magic over your motorcycle, we only need a few ordinary household items to get started with cleaning your lid.
Chances are, you’ll end up using more than one cleaning cloth. So prepare at maybe at least 3 to 4 cleaning cloths, preferably a clean microfiber towel. You wouldn’t want to reuse a soiled and grimy one after making its first pass as this might end up scratching your helmet’s surfaces.
This will serve as your cleaning agent to soften up the dirt and grime trapped in your helmet’s lining and shell. While there may be some specialized cleaning shampoos available on the internet, a simple baby shampoo would suffice for its gentle nature.
A simple soft toothbrush will work just fine in reaching those little areas where your cleaning cloth just won’t do.
Well, we don’t really expect every household to have an air compressor at his disposal, but it would really help if you did, especially for cleaning your helmet’s air vents that could be really tricky to reach.
Once you’ve got your cleaning materials ready, the next thing you have to do is to dismantle all external and internal parts of your helmet. Start off with detaching your helmet’s face shield or visor. If you have communication devices attached to your helmet, make sure you uninstall those too. Detaching all the peripherals of your helmet would make it so much easier for you to reach all the areas that need cleaning. Once you’re done with your helmet’s accessories attached to its shell, go through your helmet’s internal components and slowly detach your helmet’s liner and cheek pads. Be sure to do this according to your helmet’s manual to avoid ripping or tearing. Set them all aside before proceeding to the next step.
After taking apart most of your helmet’s external and internal components, it’s time to prep your lid’s outer shell for the very first step in cleaning it. Soak up one of your cleaning cloths with warm water and then drape it over the helmet. This will help soften up and dislodge any gunk and grime that’s sitting on the surface. This will actually make it easier for you to clean it later and will also help reduce the likelihood of scratching up the surface as you go along.
Clean interior parts
More often than not, your helmet’s interior will need the most washing. It’s that part of the helmet that has the most contact with you and it tends to soak up all that sweat, oil and your helmet’s lining tends to soak up all of these things, hence that funky smell. Fill a sink, bucket, or small tub with some water, some shampoo, and dunk all the pieces of your helmet’s liner into the soapy water. If you see any visible sweat stains on your helmet’s liner, use the toothbrush to brush it off or otherwise rub it off. Allow all your helmet’s internal lining and cheek pads to remain soaked in the soap solution for a couple of minutes. After that, rinse everything up with fresh water and then let the liner, cheek pads, and other remaining internal parts air dry. If you’re planning to go on a ride the following day, it is best to do this in the evening to allow everything to dry up while you sleep.
Clean exterior parts
Now it’s time to go back to your helmet’s external shell. Take out the wet cloth that you draped over it. Continue wiping off any stubborn grime that still remains with another new soapy wet cloth. It is best to use warm water as it would be easier to soften up stubborn dirt and grime sticking on the surface. Work your way around the helmet’s shell and wipe away any remaining spots that are sticking on its surface. For those other hard to reach areas, again, the toothbrush becomes handy to clean those places.
If you happen to have an air compressor, use it to blow out your helmet’s vents for any stubborn dirt that remains lodged in between your helmet’s vent channels. A quick blow from a compressed air canister would do the job. In the absence of an air compressor, an old toothbrush or a toothpick for the even smaller openings, should again come in handy and do the job.
Clean the face shield
If your helmet’s internal liners make the most contact with your face, the helmet’s face shield and external shell make the most contact with the rest of the elements. Thus, you should more or less follow the same steps used with cleaning your face shield as those with your helmet’s outer shell. It is best to have started with putting a damp cloth over the face shield for a couple of minutes before proceeding to gently wipe away any remaining dirt, dust, watermarks, and smudges. Be gentle with wiping the face shield as any scratches that may be caused by abrasions from any fine particulate can affect your visibility especially when it gets hit by light beams from incoming vehicles from the opposite side, or from lamp posts.
Internal sun shield (if applicable)
Certain helmets come with an internal sun shield. Since most of the time, they sit within a small narrow cavity of the helmet’s shell, they rarely get really dirty. However, on those rare occasions that they do, a simple spritz of soapy water and a good old wipe down with a microfiber cloth would do the job of cleaning it up. If you feel like being more thorough and decide to dismantle its components, by all means, do so. Otherwise, just save yourself the trouble and keep it simple with a good old spritz and wipe.
Now that you’ve completed cleaning every nook and cranny of your helmet’s internal and external parts, there’s nothing left to do now but put everything back together. Make sure to reassemble the helmet according to your manufacturer’s instructions contained in your helmet’s manual. Reassembling your helmet shouldn’t be more complicated than dismantling it in the first place, but should anything feel out of place after wearing it, it could only mean two things. It’s either you omitted some instructions on your helmet’s manual, or you’re just not used to that fresh good smell anymore. Provided you’ve followed these instructions with care, you get a squeaky clean lid.