How To Clean A Motorcycle Helmet | Helmet Cleaning Guide 2021

Riding without helmets on motorcycles only looks cool in movies! Riding without helmets is not only impracticable but also extremely unsafe.

So, leave the glamorous shots of windblown hair and fierce looks on motorcycles to the reel life, and wear a strong and clean helmet in real life.

A helmet is an essential part of riding a motorcycle. Its use is now compulsory in most countries. The impact of a head injury is reduced with the presence of a helmet; thus, its use is now compulsory in most countries.

How to clean motorcycle helmet


It is the most crucial piece of gear you have, so you must wash and cleanse it correctly, so the safety and purpose of the helmet are not compromised. Everything you need to know on how to clean a motorcycle helmet is in this guide below, along with maintenance tips!

A helmet’s Importance

The main purpose of a helmet is to protect the motorcyclist’s head in an accident.
The head and brain are most vulnerable to injury in a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists wearing helmets increase their chance of survival and recovery significantly over non-helmet wearers.

As a motorcycle does not have the structural protection that a car does in case of an accident, motorcyclists need to take extra precautions. Thus, motorcyclists need to understand the risks of riding without a helmet. 

In the case of an accident, the rider is subject to traumatic head injury or cervical spine injury. These injuries are fatal, and circumstances that are non-fatal have severe and long term results. To prevent such situations, wearing a helmet is necessary for a motorcyclist. 

Furthermore, a quiet helmet cuts down on wind noise roaring in your ears, on wind blast on your face and eyes, and deflects bugs and other objects flying through the air. 
A helmet looks robust and sturdy but should be handled delicately. You shouldn’t drop your helmet onto hard surfaces because it could deteriorate the condition of your helmet. As its function is to absorb impacts, this can affect its durability and effectiveness.

Structure of a helmet

Outer Shell:

The outer shell is the outermost part of the helmet you see from the outside. It is usually made up of Kevlar, carbon fiber, and a combination of other plastics.
Its function is to protect your head in the event of an impact and keep foreign objects from penetrating the helmet.
Impact Absorbing Liner:
The liner is on the inside of the outer shell. It is usually made up of EPS, a form of polystyrene foam. Its purpose is to absorb the shock and dissipate energy during an impact.

Some models have single density foam, while others have a dual-density layer for more energy displacement.

Padded Comfort Layer:

This is the area your head rests against while wearing the helmet. It consists of an open foam covered by a cloth material to wipe away sweat and keep you fresh.It is usually removable for cleaning purposes.

Retention System/Chin strap:

It is secured below your chin to keep the helmet on your head while you ride. It is usually fastened with two d-rings to stay secured. Every time you put the helmet on, attach the strap securely.

Face Shield/Visor:

This is a safety feature meant to keep debris, insects, and other stuff in the air out of your helmet. They are usually removable to clean or to swap out for another shield/visor.

A motorcycle helmet visor usually provides a vision of 105 degrees. (The average person’s peripheral vision is about 90 degrees at each side).

Cheek Pads:

Full face and ¾ helmets have cheek pads inside of the helmet that rests against your cheeks. They are removable for cleaning. They are an added comfort feature intended to provide extra protection.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

Various kinds of helmets differ in shape and size and are intended for different purposes. Although each helmet has a similar structure, few components change by each type. This is a brief list of the five main types of helmets and their functions.

Full-face helmet

This is considered the safest helmet due to its maximum coverage around the head and neck. A distinguishable safety feature, ‘chin bar,’ protects the jaw.

Off-road/motor cross

This has an elongated chin and significant visor portions. The visor allows protection from flying debris and dirt during off-road riding. It also shields the wearer’s eyes from the sun.

Modular/flip-up

These helmets have a flip-up frontal area and a movable chin bar. In these flip up helmets, rider safety is slightly reduced because of its uncongenial structure.

Open Face/ ¾

They cover the top back and sides of your head but leave the face exposed. These helmets lack a chin bar, which significantly reduces the safety of the rider.

Half Helmet

They cover only the top of the head and the area from the forehead to the eyebrows, thus provide minimal protection.

How to clean your motorcycle helmet in 2021

Dirt, dust, insects, just about everything is encountered by your helmet on the road. Thus, it is important you occasionally clean your helmet to get rid of all the grime. Here is the guide on how to clean a motorcycle helmet.

Make sure you follow the helmet manufacturer’s care instructions/guide first to understand the structure of your helmet and if there are any special circumstances about the helmet.

Step 1: Finding the cleaning materials

There are many viable alternatives to what works best, but this is a basic set of items that is good to start with. Check out these basic items that’ll assist you in how to clean a motorcycle helmet.

Microfiber rags:
These can be used for washing the shell and the face shield. A clean, if not new, a rag is important as any dirt particles or dead insects stuck in the cloth will cause an improper finish to the helmet.
Baby shampoo:
Any kind of mild shampoo is necessary; baby shampoo is ideal because of its gentleness, plus it’s the best motorcycle helmet cleaner. Make sure you don’t choose a petroleum solvent or ammonium solvent shampoo.
Toothbrush:
A cheap brush with soft bristles is what you need to clean the components a microfiber rag can’t reach. A toothbrush is especially helpful while washing the face shield vents.
Warm water:
Whether in a tub or sink, using warm water will gently loosen the dirt and dead insects without harming the helmet’s material.

Step 2: Remove any external components/accessories

Before you start washing with your cleaning kit, you need to make sure any internal electronic accessories like batteries, microphones, earbuds or Bluetooth units are removed. If you have an off-road helmet with a peak, it is better to remove it and clean it separately.

Step 3: Clean the helmet’s outer shell

Soak a microfiber rag in warm water and use it all over the helmet. This will help loosen the dried up grime and insects. Let the wet cloth rest on the helmet for some time, as this will reduce the effort to remove the stuck-on dirt.

Step 4: Remove the interior: internal liner and cheek pads

Every motorcyclist must learn how to clean the helmet pads. Different helmets have different designs, and they usually differ in the case of internal liners. Regardless, washing the helmet liner is crucial.

Removable Liner:
An easy way to clean a removable helmet liner and cheek pads are to in a washing machine. Put the parts in a washing bag and use a mild detergent. Make sure to wash at a low temperature (less than 86 degrees Fahrenheit) and set a gentle setting to wash.

A liner and cheek pads can also be washed in a sink or a tub. Use a mild soap/shampoo, rub it into the liner and cheek pads, and rinse them off.

Let them air dry. While they are drying, use a damp cloth to clean the inside of the helmet. Be sure not to use any chemicals as they may tear down the protective liner.
 
Non-Removable Liner:
Fill a sink or a tub with warm water and mild soap/shampoo, and then dunk your helmet in it. After sitting in the solution for a few minutes, you can start cleaning it with your hands.

Massage the liner and cheek pads gently, as you do not want to damage the helmet. When you are done, rinse the helmet off with clean water to get rid of the entire soap residue. 
Air-dry the helmet, preferably in front of a fan. 

Step 5: Clean out the vents 

The vents are present in the face shield, and sometimes, a chunk of dirt or an insect will get stuck in the vent channels. Using an air compressor will work well to clear the gutters and let air flow freely.

Step 6: Clean the face shield

Most face shields have some sort of protective coating. For this reason, you must use warm water while washing a motorcycle face shield. For care instructions specific to your face shield, check the owner’s manual to ensure you do not negate any manufacturer warranties. 

The best way to wash a motorcycle face shield is to use a wet microfiber cloth and gently massage away any dirt or dust. Also, just like with the helmet exterior, leaving a wet rag draped over the face shield for several minutes softens up the grime and makes it easier to clean. 

Step 7: Wipe down the internal sun shield 

Most helmets have an internal sun shield, part of the face shield. The sun shield is likely not very dirty, but a quick spritz of water and wipe down with a microfiber rag will clean it. It is easier to leave it in the place while cleaning, as it will hard putting it back into place. 

Step 8: Reassemble the helmet

Start reassembling by starting with the dry internal liner and cheek pads. Attach the face shield and any other components you removed before cleaning.

Tips to keep in mind while cleaning motorcycle helmet

Do:

  • Mild soaps like baby shampoo should be used while cleaning the liner. 
  • Use soft, dulcet microfiber towels. 
  • To prevent scratching, use minimum pressure when cleaning visors.
  • Use automotive helmet polish on the shell of a gloss helmet.
  • Use cotton swabs to clean out the smaller components.
  • Air dries the helmet and liner.

Do NOT:

  • Scrub the shell or visor; it will scratch the screen of the visor and ruin the shine of the shell
  • Use any solvent-based cleaner on your helmet
  • Use an ammonia-based cleaner on the visor (ammonia breaks down polycarbonate lenses of the screen, reducing its durability over time)
  • Do not place dryer sheets in your helmet. Dryer sheets have chemicals that are harmful to the skin. 
  • Use harsh soaps on your helmet or liner. 

Maintenance of your motorcycle helmet

Here are a few methods to keep your helmet in good condition in between washings.

Cover your head under your helmet, by wearing a skull cap or bandana. This prevents sweat and body oils from permeating your liner.
Carry a pack of cleaning wipes with you on rides to clean the grime and dirt before it hardens.
If the face shield gets scratched, replace it as a scratched face shield is difficult to see through
Always let your helmet air out. Don’t put it in dryers or bags.

Frequesntly Asked Questions

The Bottom-line | How to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet Perfectly

Cleaning or maintaining a helmet isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t require much time investment or physical exertion.

You should know the technique and steps of helmet cleaning which we have covered above in detail.

Knowing how to clean a motorcycle helmet properly is an essential piece of information every motorcyclist needs.

Hopefully, this article has given a thorough idea of the importance, types and structure, and washing of a helmet!

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