Your helmet is the most important and perhaps the most expensive motorcycle gear you own. It must protect your head from whatever you’re throwing at it – rain, wind, bugs, and most importantly, collisions.
Road regulations impose all riders to wear a helmet when riding a two- or three-wheeler. Learning how to clean your helmet, therefore, is essential if you don’t want to cover your face and head with a dank interior lining.
There are lots of great products on the market but here are two great picks to help you get your helmet fresh, bug-free and glistening.
Before starting, consult the manufacturer’s manual to learn how to disassemble your helmet. Then, follow the 10 easy steps below.
To clean your helmet, you’ll need:
If you’re an old-school rider who uses a simple, no-frills helmet, just skip this step. However, if you have a latest-generation helmet with microphones, Bluetooth unit, antennas, batteries, or other electronic components, remove them before you start cleaning.
It is also a good idea to remove any accessories, such as peaks, if you’re cleaning an off-road helmet.
Check the owner’s manual to see how to remove the comfort pads and liners from your helmet. Depending on the make, the liners and cheek pads may attach with snaps, magnets, or hook-and-loop materials.
Dirt and bugs can easily cake on your helmet; to speed up the cleaning process, soak a microfiber rag in warm water, and drape it over the helmet. Leave it there to soften and dislodge the grime while you’re dealing with the interior lining.
Sweat, sebum, oil (and if you’re a rocker, hair gel?!) on your hair soaks into the liner whenever you’re wearing the helmet. That’s why it needs a proper wash every now and then.
Fill your sink with warm water and pour some mild shampoo in it. A gentle liquid detergent could also work, but shampoo is less likely to give you allergic reactions.
Soak the lining and scrub it well, until you get all the grime out. Drain the dirty water, fill the sink with clean, warm water and rinse. Drain and rinse well under running water, then let it air dry.
By now, the wet rag you placed over the helmet’s outer shell has hopefully done the trick, so all you have to do is give it a little bit of elbow grease to clean all the dirt and grime thoroughly.
Remove the microfiber cloth and take off the visor. Take a new microfiber cloth, soak it in warm water, and clean any leftover dirt around where the visor was located.
Don’t use anything like white spirits or petrol to clean the outer shell, as these substances can damage it. If there are any hard-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush to get rid of all debris.
Once you’ve cleaned the exterior, check the vent channels and make sure there isn’t half a wasp or chunks of dirt stuck inside. If you find any debris, an air compressor could help you blow them out failing that, a party straw will do the job.
The visor is the most delicate component of the helmet; if you scratch it, your visibility might be compromised, especially during night time. For this reason, you should keep strong chemicals away from your visor. Soft cloths and warm water will do the job but a specialist visor cleaner will also work well.
Soak another clean microfiber rag in warm water and wipe away all dirt and debris from the shield. Pay particular attention to the pin lock area – if the shield has pin locks – and make sure to not damage the gasket as you’re cleaning.
Now, use a dry microfiber cloth to dry the visor. Otherwise, water drops might leave unwanted stains as they’re drying.
If your helmet has an internal sun visor use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off any dirt and debris. Dry it off with another microfiber cloth to prevent stains.
Lastly, put all the pieces back into their place. If you don’t know how to do it, consult the manufacturer’s manual. Make sure that everything fits in nicely before you hit the road. That’s it!
Cleaning a motorcycle helmet isn’t rocket science. Just remember to avoid solvents and harsh detergents and if you don’t use specialist helmet-cleaning products, only use a gentle shampoo to clean the interior lining.