How to Clean a Bike Helmet – Top Guide to Cleaning a Helmet

Everyone knows that if you look after your gear, the gear will last longer. It is likely that you clean your bike often, so it stays in working order, but what about your bike helmet? We have all the steps on how to clean a mountain bike helmet!

It is true that a bike has functioning parts, but a helmet is also made up of complex componentry that you want to keep in the best condition so you can have confidence in its ability to save your life.

Why Clean the Helmet?

Having excess dirt, dust, and chemicals (sunscreen etc.) from the helmet will lead to corrosion of the helmet over time. The EPS liner (foam layer that makes up the bulk of the helmet) is very susceptible to damage and is generally only protected by the outer polycarbonate (plastic) shell.

By cleaning the helmet regularly, it will increase the lifespan of the helmet and will ensure it keeps protecting your head for as long as possible. Continue reading for how to clean the bike helmet.

How to Clean the Helmet?

Everything you need for cleaning a helmet
Cleaning is easy, and you will already have everything you need at home!

Cleaning the helmet doesn’t have to be complicated. It is made to get wet, and it is strong enough to withstand a fair bit of force, so you can give it a good clean without being too worried about it breaking.

If you have a removable liner, remove it gently first. See notes for cleaning below.

If you do not have a removable liner, it is okay for it to get wet, so give it a quick rinse down with a bit of freshwater. Ensure you dry the liner properly after washing the helmet.

Now onto how to clean the mountain bike helmet!

With a soft, damp wipe or a soft sponge, clean the outer plastic shell of the helmet. Ensure that you clean in and around the vents, as well as around the edges of the helmet and the visor (if applicable).

Get rid of the dirt! - How to Clean a MTB Helmet
Give that mucky helmet a good clean!

For the inside of the helmet, again, use a damp cloth with mild soap to get rid of any dirt or chemicals. This will be easier if the inner liner can be removed, otherwise just work around the liner. The plastic retention system at the back of the helmet will also likely need a clean, so ensure you wipe this also.

Once you have done cleaning, make sure you DRY everything! Leave it outside for an hour or two to air dry, and do not store it until it has fully dried!

Note that cleaning the helmet will also be the same for a road helmet, the only difference will be the lack of a visor which makes it easier!

How to Clean Bike Helmet Pads

As a mountain biker, you will tend to notice that sweat builds up over time in the pads. For some, this includes the cheek pads in full face helmets too. Washing the pads will mean you get a fresh smelling, more comfortable helmet that will last much longer!

Removable pads can be put into the washing machine (cold wash, gentle cycle), but this can lead to excessive wear over time.

Wash the padding! - How to Clean a MTB Helmet
Soaking the inner pads is the way to go!

We recommend soaking them in a bucket/sink of cold water with a bit of washing powder. Wring out each pad, and hang to dry. Do NOT put the pads in the drier!

How to Clean Bike Helmet Straps?

Clean the Straps! - How to Clean a MTB Helmet
Make sure you get those straps!

Wipe the strap gently with the cloth, taking care to wipe the buckle and any other plastic pieces on the straps. If water alone doesn’t remove the dirt, try using a mild soap such as a little dishwashing detergent or washing powder with warm water. And if that still doesn’t work, try a tougher bristle brush to scape away that annoying mud!

And thats the end of how to clean a MTB helmet. Key tips and explanations to follow!

What NOT to do

Do not hose the helmet down. There are some fragile pieces to the helmet (such as the fit system and the MIPS liner). Hence a high-pressure hose may do some damage. The inner layers and the fitting systems may not respond well to being blasted by a hose! Use a wipe/cloth instead and give it all a good wipe down.

Do not use any chemical cleaners which may react with the plastic or foam. Some chemicals may degrade the quality of the helmet. A dishwashing detergent/soapy water is a great cleaning solution.

Do not use a harsh brush on the foam or outer plastic as it may leave scrapes or scratches, which you want to avoid!

Only air dry the helmet, but don’t leave it in the sun for too long! And definitely do not store the helmet damp.

Two very clean mountain bike helmets
A couple of clean helmets!

How to Store a Helmet

Where you store a helmet will also largely affect the lifespan of the helmet. Things such as sunlight, chemicals, extra weight on top of the helmet will eventually wear down the structural integrity of the helmet. This causes it to have a shorter lifespan than necessary.

We recommend storing the helmet out of direct sunlight, away from any chemicals, and not beneath anything heavy. I tend to store my helmet on the handlebars of my bike. Here it won’t get knocked by people rummaging around in the garage and has no potential of chemicals or sunlight getting onto it.

Alternatively, if you’re storing it for a wee while, keeping it in a box – not under any pressure- will keep it from degrading faster than necessary.

It is also important to know when to replace a helmet. Remember that cleaning the helmet does not mean it’s as good as new! If you are interested, see here.

If your bicycle helmet is a damaged beyond what a thorough cleaning can fix and you think it might be time for a new one, check out the best budget mountain bike helmets, the best mountain bike helmets with MIPS or how to choose a mountain bike helmet.

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