Being one of the most important things a rider can own, it’s important to keep your helmet clean. Follow these steps to get that new helmet feeling.
Motorcycle helmets are probably the single most important – and sometimes most expensive – a piece of safety gear a rider can own. Yet, one's trusty helmet is often cleaned and maintained the least. Taking care of your motorcycle helmet is not only extremely important to ensure longevity, but can also be a rewarding task that you can complete while your motorcycle is parked waiting for the next road trip.
Before we embark on cleaning our motorcycle helmet, we need to understand what type of impurities we are dealing with. On the outside, your helmet is subjected to road grime, salt and an assortment of bugs, while on the inside the padding and foam liners of your helmet soak up all the perspiration from your head and face. While a simple wipe down and air dry usually helps clean off most of the unwanted dirt and sweat, it is advisable to occasionally do a deeper clean.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will break the motorcycle helmet into 3 parts.
1. Helmet visor
2. Helmet shell
3. Inner pads/liner
While there is a myriad of products on the market specifically designed for helmet care, one can get the job done with some basic items found around the household.
Ensure you have a clean workspace with enough room for your cleaning products and tools. You will also need some extra room as there’ll be a fair amount of dismantling of your helmet. To start, you will need a large bucket of warm water and a few clean . Visor cleaner, visor wipes, and other helmet-specific cleaning products are great to have, however they aren’t always necessary.
Set your helmet down on the work surface. Soak one microfibre cloth into warm water and wring out the excess water. Place the cloth over the entire outside surface of the helmet and let it sit for approximately fifteen minutes. The warm cloth will loosen any large debris such as mud, bugs and other road grime.
The next step will be to start disassembling the helmet visor, inner pads and liner. This process may vary depending on helmet manufacturer and design, so take the time to consult your helmet’s owner’s or product manual for the correct procedure of removing these items.
After removing the visor and inner pads, you will now have better access to ensure all dirt is removed from the hard to reach spots on the shell. Avoid using any petroleum-based cleaners as this may compromise the structure of the helmet’s material. Simply use damp microfibre cloths and gently wipe away the dirt. A simple, soft bristle toothbrush works great for those hard to reach areas. Once cleaned, use a clean microfibre cloth to dry the shell of the helmet. Set the shell aside and move to the visor. Visors are especially delicate as they often have UV, anti-fog or anti-glare coatings.
Specialised visor cleaner and visor wipes work wonders, but in the absence of these products, a microfibre cloth with warm water does a good job of getting rid of any unwanted dirt and fingerprints. Avoid using window cleaner as this will damage any coatings on your visor. Do not remove internal sun visors as they have complicated mechanisms which could be difficult to reassemble and can void warranties if removed. Simply drop the sun visor and follow the same process as mentioned above for the main visor.
Fill a basin with warm water and add some liquid soap. Baby shampoo is a great option as it is free of many chemicals found in other soaps and detergents. This is important as some soaps contain allergens that may cause skin irritation. Soak the inner pads and liners in this soap solution then gently squeeze them so that the soap removes all the impurities. Once the washing process is complete, rinse the pads and liners with clean water, ensuring that all the soap is removed. Squeeze out any excess water but avoid wringing the pads out as this may cause them to distort and lose their shape. Once rinsed, put them on a clean dry towel and allow them to air dry. A small desk fan can be used in cases where you need the pads to dry more quickly. Usually, leaving them overnight will allow the pads to dry adequately.
Reassembling the helmet should happen in the reverse order of disassembly. Ensure that all pads are fitted as per manufacturer instructions. Before fitting the visor, inspect the visor fittings or pins and replace them if required. Give the helmet a final wipe down with a clean dry microfibre cloth to remove any fingerprints left behind while assembling, and check that all inner pads are clipped incorrectly before use.
Refreshing your helmet with a proper deep clean can give you that new helmet feeling – all for the price of some basic products and a few well-spent hours.
AND THAT'S IT!
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