How do you clean a helmet?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How do you clean a helmet?

    My night riding lid is a few years old. From years of sweat and rain, the pads don't stick to the inside of the shell so well anymore. Before you tell me to just buy a new helmet, I'll tell you I don't want to. I've already got several helmets and I like the fit of this one that's dedicated to night riding. I've never crashed on this helmet. My light is semi-permanently mounted to it.

    I'm tempted to take the pads out and wash them and use some kind of nonaggressive solvent to remove the oils from the inside of the shell. Then I'd try to find a nonaggressive adhesive to glue the pads back into the shell once they're clean. Is this the right way to go?

    If so, what kind of solvent should I use? What kind of adhesive? Will the pads hold up to washing or will they just fall apart in the machine? Should I hand wash them? What are the odds this helmet will ever again fit as well as it does now?

    Has anybody actually got experience doing this successfully?

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  2. #2
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    Read a tip in some magazine to place the pads in a sock or stocking then into washing machine to wash them.

    I actually rip all the pads, velcro and/or glue out of the helmet from the start and just go commando. Sure it's not quite as comfy but it beats the funk that comes off those pads in no time. After every ride I just run the helmet/straps under the faucet in the basement and I'm good to go for next ride... funk free.

  3. #3
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    I'm with you on the night-only helmet, I used one for years myself.

    If removing the light isn't a huge project, I'd say do so. Remove the pads and put the shell in the top rack of your dishwasher and run it on the lightest wash setting. Remove the shell before the machine reaches the dry stage or you might be left with a lump of melted plastic. I've done this with good results, YMMV. If you're not comfortable with this, washing by hand with dishwashing liquid and hot water should do the trick. Dishwashing liquid will cut grease and it's non-agressive. Soaking in a bucket with the same will work for the pads, make sure you rinse them thoroughly. Once everything is clean and dry, you can reattach the pads with Velcro.

    Hope this is of some help.

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  4. #4
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    I would hand wash the pads. You could also go down to Paul's and harass them for new leftover pads.

    Try Dawn dish soap to clean the funk from the inside.

    Use self adhesive velcro to hold the fresh pads.

    Even then you will still be a dirty old man.
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  5. #5
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    I'm still using the same helmet I bought in '99 and at the most, I have only replaced the pads once. I don't know if this is a good method to clean my helmet, but I just wash it in the sink and I use my shampoo. I figure if my head caused the mess and I use shampoo to clean my head, I'll use it on my helmet, too. The pads are lasting a long time and there are no signs of the helmet failing any time soon.

  6. #6
    I ride with tools
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Has anybody actually got experience doing this successfully?
    My girlfriend does it for me. Always a happy ending.

    Oh wait - you mean bike helmet. Never mind.

  7. #7
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    To streamline the "shampoo" method:
    1) Get in shower
    2) Shampoo your hair (assuming you have hair)
    3) Put helmet on your shampooey head
    4) Smush it up & down a bunch of times
    5) Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

  8. #8

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    I use the dishwasher method as well. Works nice, smells nice.I turn the heat OFF.

  9. #9
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    I ride in 90+ humid weather a good 4 mos out the year so I know funky helmet. not to mention gloves, camelbak, shoes

    Just got me a nice new fresh smelling set of pads from Bell...FREE. I do it about 1 every year, year and a half. Give 'em a jingle, they'll even give you some new adhesive too. Same deal for Giro. The pads stuffed in a tube sock with your other biking clothes does well, but they never last me 2 years. I just lather up the chin straps w/Dawn...gets out the oils/sweat...then dunk it in a bucket.

    For you dishwasher guys what do you use, just plain water? Most detergents for Dishwashers are pretty caustic. I can't imagine that's too good for styrofoam. Read recently about the high incidence of small child poisoning from the caustic nature of that stuff!!

  10. #10
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    Every couple of rides I stick my helmet under the sink and rinse it off with plain water, leaving the pads in place. It stays fresh that way and doesn't wear out the velcro.
    Banned

  11. #11
    I think I need to Upgrade
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    Do you guys realise that a helmet that is a couple (2-3) years old is NOT going to protect you as well as you think it will? The material gets brittle and hard over time and from exposure from chemicals in the air and from your body and will crumple and fall apart in the event of a impact. If your head is not worth that much then good luck.

  12. #12
    those are Rollercams...
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzSpeedfreek
    Do you guys realise that a helmet that is a couple (2-3) years old is NOT going to protect you as well as you think it will? The material gets brittle and hard over time and from exposure from chemicals in the air and from your body and will crumple and fall apart in the event of a impact. If your head is not worth that much then good luck.

    Not saying you're wrong but... I've never seen any evidence that this is true, in fact the only sources of this claim (that I've seen) are helmet manufacturers. True, they know what goes into the helmets they produce, however they also want to sell helmet$. There are plenty of guys riding around with Bell Bikers(Matt Chester for one) V-1 Pros and Etto Classics so I question the validity of the deterioration claim.

    Lastly, a helmet is supposed to crumple and fall apart in the event of an impact. That way it absorbs the full shock rather than transmitting in to your head. I'd be more apt to replace a new helmet that's been crashed than one that's old and hasn't.

    Just my .02 cents.

    Truly a wealth of useless information.


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  13. #13
    Who are the brain police?
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    Do the same cleaning routine that you use with your day helmet. Or are you some kind of freakin vampire?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locoman
    Do the same cleaning routine that you use with your day helmet. Or are you some kind of freakin vampire?
    Well, you see, I have four "day helmets" -- one to match each of my striking riding outfit base color schemes -- you know, cyan, yellow, magenta & black. I simply MUST look as stylish as the MBA Wrecking Crew. You should see me on my bike... Oh! I look SO good. [wink][wink]<wink><wink>

    Anyway, my day-only helmets don't seem to be suffering like my night helmet is, even though I ride during the day four times as much as I ride at night... hmmmm... this is starting to get confusing...

    I just wanna know how to clean a dang helmet. Any helmet -- day or night. Maybe I oughta take that other guy's advice and ask my girlfriend to do it. sheesh.

    --Sparty</wink></wink>
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  15. #15
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    WTB-rider is right on!

    Quote Originally Posted by WTB-rider
    . . . the only sources of this claim (that I've seen) are helmet manufacturers.
    Oh yeah! It's just the same as those d*mned shampoo crooks! Ever read the instructions on your shampoo. "Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

    Oh, I'll bet they'd like us to repeat. And repeat. And repeat. But I'm not falling for it.

    One lather. One rinse. Then they have to go looking for another sucker.

  16. #16

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    Simple, simple, simple.

    Now hear this:

    Fill up a bucket big enough to dunk helmet with cold water and liquid laundry detergent. Dunk and agitate helmet creating a washing machine like cleansing action. Dump water, refill with clear cold water and repeat dunk and agitation rinse cycle.

    Ball up a dry towel to a size resembling your noggin and insert into helmet. The towel will pull moisture out of pads effectively drying it. Pull the towel out of helmet after 30 minutes or so and air dry helmet.

    Sometimes the straps have salty sweat deposits and a little wet brushing with a toothbrush will loosen salts and clean them.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tphenom
    Fill up a bucket big enough to dunk helmet with cold water and liquid laundry detergent. Dunk and agitate helmet creating a washing machine like cleansing action. Dump water, refill with clear cold water and repeat dunk and agitation rinse cycle.
    Or... dunk helmet with cold/warm (not hot) water and mild detergent, put some weight on it to hold it submerged, leave for a while (go clean your drivetrain and get a shower), rinse.

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