Your Guide on How To Clean Bike Helmet - Thunderhead Alliance

Your Guide on How To Clean Bike Helmet

Looking after your cycling helmet might seem like common sense, and to a certain extent, it is, but there are one or two things you’ll need to avoid in order to keep it in good condition. And let’s face it, no one wants a dirty helmet.

They can get smelly, infested with bacteria, maybe even a bit of fungus. And if you get too close, they can look really unsightly. So don’t be a dirtbag, keep your helmet clean so you don’t start to lose friends. Now there are three main bits to clean. There’s the shell, then inside you have the pads, and then finally the strap.

Now they don’t all need cleaning at exactly the same time they get dirty at different rates. You don’t need to thoroughly scrub your helmet from the inside out after every single ride. For example, in the UK winter, where I tend to wear a cap underneath my helmet, that is what absorbs the sweat, and that goes in to the washing machine with the rest of my cycling kit. However I will need to scrub the outside of the helmet more, because it will get covered in mud and grime and get splashed up from the road. However in the summer, where hopefully at least I’ll get to ride in the rain a little bit less, and I will get a bit more of a sweat on — yes even I might get a bit of a sweat — then I’ll need to thoroughly clean the inside of the helmet far more than the outside.

As a quick wash just dunk the lid in a bucket of cold water and wash it with a sponge. Now it’s a great way of getting all the surface muck off the lid, getting it looking shiny again for your next ride. If you want to clean it more thoroughly, just be careful about using any harsh cleaning products on it, so nothing more in fact than a mild, pH neutral soap, like dish soap. Certainly petroleum, or solvent-based cleaners, are absolute no-nos. Both will seriously compromise, and damage, the integrity of the helmet.

Now I know some people recommend it, not that I’ve done it myself, but getting into the shower with your helmet after your ride is an excellent place to clean it. In theory, at least, I think that’s starting to encroach on my personal space, but any cleaning products that you use on your body are also likely to be gentle enough for your helmet. On to the pads now, and if you want to clean them properly, you’re going to have to remove them. Generally just a gentle pull on the velcro to loosen them off. Now hand washing is probably the easiest way to clean them, but you could also stick them in with the rest of your cycling kit into the washing machine, on a really low cycle, like 30 degrees.

So what about the strap? Well, you really shouldn’t neglect this, because it sits next to your skin, you sweat into it, in fact, to the point where, on a really long, hot ride, you can often see white salt marks on the strap of the helmet. To clean it, as with the rest of your helmet, simply wet the strap, put a bit of mild soap on there, work it in, and then rinse it off. So your bucket of water is the perfect place for this. That should keep your helmet looking good, and smelling nice and fresh. But what about making sure that it works when you need it? Well, how you store it, and look after it, is really, really important, so always keep it away from direct sunlight and high temperatures both of which can degrade the structure the helmet.

And when I say high temperatures, I mean even leaving the helmet in the boot of your car on hot and sunny days. But bear in mind that no matter how well you look after the lid, it does have a natural shelf life. So even your sweat, for example, will gradually degrade the inside of the lid. Most helmet manufacturers recommend you do replace it after about three years or so. And that’s regardless of crashes.

If you have a big smash then you’re probably going to want to replace it almost immediately. Now to a certain extent, that does depend on how much riding you do, and how well you look after it, but please, please, please, don’t think of a cycling helmet as a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. You need to be able to rely on it when you really need it. Now how you wear your cycling helmet has a huge bearing on how effective is going to be as well. And although it seems simple, you still might not have it right.

So to make sure you do, you can click up there, and get straight through to a video showing exactly how. Or, if you are in the market for new helmet, then Lloydy will take you through how to choose a cycling helmet, and you can get through to that by clicking down there.