How to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet

Hi Friends,

What is worse than riding with a damp, smelly and dirt caked helmet liner? You guessed it, riding another day with the same helmet!

In the below post I would like to discuss the most effective way for motorcycle helmet care, with specific emphasis on how to clean a motorcycle helmet.Dirty-Helmet

Your motorcycle helmet is the most important safety kit you wear and most often, second to your motorcycle, the most expensive investment you made, so why not look after and maintain it? The benefits are not just better comfort, but also, with the proper care, you will extend the lifetime of your lid.

With Summer always being somewhere on our globe and motorcyclists always wearing their helmets, whether sunshine, hail, snow or in the mud, your helmet will get dirty and if left too long, smelly and unpleasant to wear.

I have been looking for a reliable step-by-step guide to follow, but found very vague or at best, scrappy guidance on this topic. This is the reason I would like to share the below with you, so you have a go-to-guide for how to clean a motorcycle helmet.

Important Note: Please make sure to consult your motorcycle helmet owners manuel before cleaning or any maintenance is done to your helmet. Each manufacturer may have a specific list of do’s and don’ts which you should follow to prevent voiding your helmets warranty.

I hope you find value out of the below guide and please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts and any suggestions.

How to Clean Motorcycle Helmet Shell

What you will need:

I do realize that you might have your own preferences as to what works best for you, and yes there are a number of good options out there. Below I made a list of the most often used items that I know work well.

  • Container with warm water, large enough to submerge the helmet shell
  • 2 x Soft, scratch free microfiber cloths
  • Old or new, soft bristle toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs

Steps to follow:

Before getting any water involved, you will need to remove all electronic accessories like Bluetooth motorcycle helmet communication systems, internal microphones, antennas, batteries and any mounting brackets. The helmet visor and, where relevant, the peak cap, also needs to be removed for easy cleaning. After the outside has been prepared, remove the helmet inner, being the neck role, cheek pads, chin curtain and head liner. Make sure you are only left with the bare helmet shell.

Should you have a helmet where the inner cannot be removed, go to the next section where I describe the process.

Once you are only left with the helmet shell, you can begin the washing process. Now, depending on how much gunk is sticking to your helmet, (all that bug guts and beetle juice), you will need to soften this before actual washing. Take the microfiber cloth and submerge it into the warm water for a few seconds. Remove it and wring the excess water out and drape the wet warm cloth over your helmet for about 5 minutes. This is to ensure that the dried insects, bug juice and any mud is softened enough to be wiped away, and help with the washing process and also to prevent any chance of scratches.

Now you submerge the shell in the container with warm water and softly rub it with your fingers or smaller microfiber cloth. Make sure to do the EPS liner inside the shell. You will be surprised how sweat and scalp oil makes its way under the EPS liner and attracts dust and all types of dirt.

Grab your toothbrush and use it in the hard-to-reach vent openings, making sure you get as deep as you can. You can also use the toothbrush to clean the face shield opening mechanism (this can become dirty with sand and will affect the durability and workings of the mechanism if not kept clean). Once done, remove the shell from the water, wipe it down and take hold of the cotton swab, to get into the smaller areas the toothbrush could not reach.

Should your helmet have an internal sun shield, lower it and inspect. It should not really be very dirty but seeing you are doing a good job of washing your helmet, wipe it carefully with the microfiber cloth, ensuring all marks are gone. Keep it in the down position while drying.

Dry the helmet shell with the microfiber cloth and let it stand to air dry, while you now concentrate on the inner liner, peak and face shield.

When the Helmet Inner Cannot be Removed

Follow these steps when you have a motorcycle helmet where the helmet inner cannot be removed.

What you will need additionally to the above list:

  • Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby shampoo

The process is similar to the above, the only difference will be that the baby shampoo is used in the water to wash the inner liner. I know from experience that you might need to rewash a couple of times with clean warm water, depending on how dirty the inner liner is. A good indication will be that after soaking, the water seems clear, then you know your liner is clean.

Remove the helmet shell with liner from the water and dry as well as you can with the microfiber cloth. Make sure to squeeze the neck role and cheek pads to get all the excess water out.

Should your helmet have an internal sun shield, lower it and inspect. It should not really be very dirty but make sure to wipe it off with the microfiber cloth.

Let the helmet shell stand to air dry.

Note: Please make sure to allow enough time for the inner liner to dry, before you decide to go riding again. I would recommend leaving it to dry overnight. You may use an electric fan to accelerate the drying process.

Clean Inside Motorcycle Helmet

What you will need:

  • Container with warm water
  • Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby shampoo
  • large clean dry microfiber cloth

This process to clean inside your motorcycle helmet carries on with helmets that have removable inner liners.

Take the inner liner and soak it in the warm water for a couple of minutes, making sure to softly squeeze and massage it, to loosen any dirt, oil and sweat. Replace the dirty water with clean warm water, add the baby shampoo and give the inner liner, cheek pads, chin curtain and head liner a good wash. Repeat this process until the water remains clear and no dirt remains. Do not add any fabric softener to the water as this will interfere with the proper working of the moisture-wicking material.

Remove the liner, squeeze the excess water out and wrap the liners in the dry microfiber cloth. Put some pressure on the cloth to soak up as much water as possible, remove from the cloth and let the inner liner lie to air dry.

You may use an electric fan to accelerate the drying process.

Note: Some riders use a tumble dryer, but be careful, depending on the material of your inner liner and especially the head liner, the tumble dryer may cause damage.

Clean Motorcycle Helmet Face Shield


Important Note: Please consult your helmet owners handbook for specific instructions on the care of your face shield, so that you don’t run the risk of voiding any manufacturers warranties.

What you will need:

  • Container with warm water
  • 2 x Microfiber cloths

First step is to either drape a warm, wet microfiber cloth over the face shield or to just submerge it into the warm water.

This is to ensure that the dried insects, bug juice and any mud is softened enough to be washed away, and help with the washing process and also to prevent any chance of scratches.

If you have a helmet with the pinlock system, make sure to remove the lens from the inside of the face shield and wash separately. Be very careful with the pinlock lens and especially the lens gasket not to damage it by pinching or folding it. The integrity of the gasket is essential to the pinlock system working correctly.

Once the face shield has soaked for a few minutes, gently wash the shield using either the microfiber cloth or your fingers. It is best to do this using clean warm water, after the soaking, so any chance of scratching the shield is prevented. Do the same with the pinlock lens. Once washing complete, wipe it dry with a dry microfiber cloth and let it stand.

Should your helmet have a peak, this can now also be left in the warm water to soak for a minute or two. Use the toothbrush to clean the peak properly, remove from the water, wipe off and let it stand to dry.

Reassemble your Helmet

What you will need:Puzzle

  • Silicone lube
  • For glossy helmet shells, an automotive detailing spray or polish (optional)
  • Microfiber cloth or polish applicator
  • Automotive wax (optional)

Starting with your now dry, inner liner and cheek pads, make sure to clip them into the correct position. If you have internal speakers and antennas, make sure to secure them into position first.

For gloss helmets only – apply automotive detailing spray or polish on your helmet shell to help restore the shine.

For all helmet types – Optional extra would be to apply an automotive wax to your helmet shell which will give it a protective coating which will help make future cleaning easier.

Faceshield follows, but before attaching it, lightly lubricate the face shield hinge mechanism using silicone lube. The peak is next followed by any additional attachments and where relevant, Bluetooth motorcycle communication system.

Motorcycle Helmet Maintenance Tips

  • Personal Hygiene (I just have to…)
    • Keeping your hair and where relevant, beard, clean at all times, will help keep the internal liner cleaner for longer
    • Try to use your moisturiser based sunscreen as sparingly as possible to prevent smudging on your cheek pads and the rest of your inner liner
  • Accessories to Wear
    • Try to wear a bandanna, buff or skullcap under your helmet. This is a very effective way of reducing sweat and body oil to penetrate your helmet liner
  • Storing your Helmet
    • Make sure to let your helmet air dry after a long hot ride. Just stuffing it into your helmet bag will prevent the sweat saturated liner of drying properly, causing your liner to become greasy and unhygienic.

Nice and Clean Tra-la-la!

I hope you found the above guide on, how to clean a motorcycle helmet, informative and useful.

I do need to emphasize again, the importance of consulting your helmet owners manual for any specific instructions or requirements for maintaining your helmet, especially your helmet face shield, before washing your helmet.

I look forward to any feedback and or suggestions from you.

Enjoy your riding and remember to…

Keep it on 2 wheels!


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