How To Clean Your Motorcycle Helmet

Yes,you really can clean a helmet (Just not like this!)

Yes,you really can clean a helmet (Just not like this!)Brian MacLean

The average motorcycle helmet costs several hundred dollars and, assuming its life isn’t cut short by a crash, lasts for years. But even if it never actually hits the dirt it picks up a lot of it while you ride, along with dead bugs, airborne contaminants, and nicks and scratches from road debris thrown up by cars and trucks. Here are some tips to keep your investment—not to mention, the most important piece of safety gear you own—looking good.

None of the materials used to make helmet shells react well to harsh cleaners, which can dull the paint and degrade the underlying shell. Most spray-on bike waxes and polishes are safe to use on helmets—using warm water and mild soap is always a safe option—but avoid anything with ammonia, alcohol, or petrochemicals.

Loosen dried-on crud by placing a wet paper towel over it for a few minutes. After it’s had time to soak it should come off easily. Now’s the time for that spray-on wax, which will not only clean and shine but leave a protective layer so the junk to come doesn’t adhere as easily.

The EPS liner doesn’t require maintenance or cleaning, but it benefits from a clean environment. Sweat and skin oil accelerate its breakdown, which is why most helmet manufacturers suggest replacing a helmet at specified intervals after its first use. The comfort liner absorbs contaminants and should be washed regularly to protect the EPS and to keep the helmet from smelling like a soiled gym sock. Use a very mild soap or shampoo that your skin is already used to; avoid scented soaps unless you really like the smell. Rinse out all the soap, wring the moisture out of the liner, and let it air dry.

Use the wet-paper-towel method to get the stubborn stuff off of face shields then use either an appropriate non-abrasive plastic cleaner or mild soap and warm water to finish the job.