Self-portrait in a Motorcycle Helmet 6/07/09

Image by dianecordell via Flickr

Whether you’ve invested in a new motorcycle helmet or you’re trying to get one more year out of your old favorite, the key to a longer life is proper care and storage.

Here are some tips to remember when it comes to caring and storing your helmet and cleaning it.

Caring for your helmet

Think before you set your helmet down. Where will it be safe? Don’t leave it on the saddle or hang it from rearview mirror, handlebars, clutch or brake lever, turn signal or back rest. The helmet could fall and hit the ground, often face shield first.

Arai’s Brian Weston offers these tips:

  • After each ride, wipe the helmet’s liner out with a damp cloth, just to remove any excess sweat or road grime from the surface.
  • When storing your helmet, even for short periods of time, keep the shield open and place the helmet on a slotted shelf, so air can flow freely and prevent odor buildup.
  • If your helmet is stored in a garage, where cats and dogs as well as other rodents could foul it, put it in the cloth sack that it came in (it will still let air pass through) and put it on a high shelf. Dogs and cats love to get at their owner’s helmets to lick the salt off the liner. Puppies love to chew the liner, too, and many have completely removed the interior of brand-new helmets.
  • A used dryer sheet, one that has 95 percent of the scent gone, placed in a helmet will help absorb odors and prevent static.
  • Cleaning road soot and bug guts from the shield pivot mechanism is always a good idea. It will prevent premature wear and also that annoying crunching sound as you open and close your shield. Doing this with the pre-storage wash is a good idea and perhaps again at mid-season, especially if you live where there are lots of bugs or road debris.

Cleaning your helmet

Be sure to follow your helmet manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning, and here are some general cleaning tips from Harley-Davidson and Zox Helmets:

Use a mild soap and water to wash the outer shell and clean the shield with warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as possible after dirt accumulates.

Hand wash the internal liners with mild soap or shampoo and allow to dry thoroughly.

Use compressed air to clear the helmet air vents and channels.

Don’t use solvents or chemicals to clean any part of the helmet or shield because they can destroy protective coatings and compromise the structural integrity of the helmet.

Don’t immerse the helmet in water.

Don’t use a dry cloth to clean debris from a face shield because you might scratch the shield.

Remember, it may take several days for your helmet to air dry.

Shoei Helmets offers a short video on how to properly clean your helmet. It’s worth checking out.

Thanks for reading.


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