How to Clean A Motorcycle Helmet: Maintenance Tips, Cleaning Methods, and More

Is your motorcycle helmet dirty and grimy? Have the muck and dirt of one too many rides taken its toll on your once pristine helmet? No need to worry — you can have it clean and sparkling like new in a jiffy!

Today, you’re going to learn the ins and outs of motorcycle helmet care and maintenance, from the top reasons that could be making your helmet dirty to cleaning dos and don’ts, plus two straightforward cleaning methods you won’t want to miss.

Ready to learn how to clean motorcycle helmet? 

What Makes Your Motorcycle Helmet Get So Dirty, Anyway?

Frequent rides and extended wear and tear don’t just affect your bike and impact used motorcycle values— your motorcycle helmet is going to take a beating too. When you take your 3 wheel motorcycle out for a spin, your helmet absorbs its fair share of body odors, oils, and sweat with extended use. These elements eventually seep into the foam and liner, resulting in that odor that causes you to start running for the cleaning supplies.

However, the inside of your motorcycle helmet isn’t the only part of getting dirty. The outside, exposed to all types of weather you ride in, also takes a hit. From dust, rain, soot buildup, and muddy fingerprints to bird droppings, dead bugs, and more, your motorcycle helmet will see a lot of traffic whether you ride throughout the week or just a few times a month.

It may surprise you that things like droppings and inclement weather don’t present the highest risk of damage. While dead bugs or insect guts smeared on the outside of your helmet don’t exactly look pretty, using a damaging, abrasive cloth or cleaning your helmet with the wrong solution is what will do considerable harm to your helmet. 

The Dos of Motorcycle Helmet Care

  • Use a towel dampened with warm water to clean off things like bug guts and loosen debris before you wipe it away.
  • Always use mild soaps when you clean the helmet liner such as laundry detergent or baby shampoo.
  • Use very little pressure when cleaning off gloss shells and visors. Otherwise, you could leave scratches on the exterior.
  • Be sure to use microfiber towels that won’t leave marks on the helmet after you clean it.
  • Cotton swabs are a fantastic choice to clean joints and vents.
  • You can use automotive polish to clean the gloss helmet shell.
  • Let your liner and helmet air dry. You can use a room fan to speed up the drying process if you need to.
  • Apply a coat of automotive wax to prevent grime and water spots from gathering.
  • Wear a liner under your helmet when you hit the road, such as a bandana or skull cap, to reduce the level of body oils and sweat permeating your helmet liner. Less dirt means fewer washings!
  • Remember to lubricate your helmet periodically with a silicone-based product. 

The Don’ts of Motorcycle Helmet Care

  • Just like you wouldn’t leave yourself vulnerable and hit the road without insurance for your bike, here’s what you need to know to protect your helmet from corrosion and damage that could compromise its integrity.
  • Don’t use a solvent-based product or petroleum distillate to clean your helmet.
  • Don’t scrub the visor or shell on your helmet, such when you’re trying to keep insect guts at bay.
  • Don’t use any cleaner with ammonia-based ingredients or a glass cleaner on the visor, as this can destroy the polycarbonate on the lenses.
  • Don’t use dish soap or any other harsh detergent on your liner or helmet.
  • Don’t use soap containing fabric softener or fabric softener to clean the helmet liner, as this will inhibit liner’s moisture-wicking components.
  • Don’t use dryer sheets to try to freshen the smell of your helmet, as these contain damaging chemicals which will could not only harm the helmet but cause an allergic reaction.
  • Don’t ever put the liner in the dryer. 

Cleaning Materials

Unlike the cost that could be involved in purchasing and cleaning used motorcycles, the expense of how to clean motorcycle helmet is negligible to zero. You can likely find most of these supplies already in your home. To clean your motorcycle helmet, you’ll want microfiber rags and a light cleanser like baby shampoo.

A cheap toothbrush is excellent to clean those small crevices in your helmet the rags can’t reach. You’ll also want warm water to clean dead insects and dirt off gently. 

Method One: Cleaning Helmets with Removable Liners

If your helmet features a removable liner, your job is going to be a bit easier. All you have to do is wash the liner and pads, clean the shell and you’re good to go.

To clean the liner and pads, start by pulling them out from your helmet. Note how the liner and pads are situated inside the helmet so you can put them back with ease after you’ve cleaned them. Use a gentle laundry detergent to wash the pads and liner on delicate cycle.

You could also hand wash the pads and liner if you like, but you’ll need to be extra careful to rinse them thoroughly so soap doesn’t remain behind. Finally, at the pads and liner dry using a towel and allow them to air dry.

To clean the shell, you’ll want to disengage the visor from the helmet. Use a mixture of mild soap and warm water as your solution, then soak your microfiber towel in it. Gently lay the microfiber towel over any part of the shell where insect guts and debris have stuck then rub them away with your fingers and the solution.

Take care not to scrub or use excess pressure at this point, as you could leave behind unsightly marks on the shell. You can use a toothbrush or cotton swab to clean out the vents inside. Always wipe off any soap residue with your damp microfiber towel. Once you finish, use a dry microfiber towel to dry everything off.

If you have a gloss helmet, you may also want to consider investing in an automotive detailing polish for bonus shine. Install the visor again and use silicone lube to lubricate the hinge if you need to. 

Method Two: Cleaning Helmets Without Removable Liners

If your helmet doesn’t have a removable liner, you’re going to have to expend a bit more effort with the cleaning process. It is best to fill a basin with water and keep it in your shower or tub while you clean to reduce the mess.

Start by taking out the pads and visors you can. Either hand wash them or wash them in your machine as detailed in the previous method. Fill a large basin with water and baby shampoo or detergent. Put a folded towel at the bottom to inhibit scratches on the shell when you wash it.

Let the helmet soak for a few minutes and use your finger to get the suds deep into the foam. Rinse the helmet off with your shower head or faucet multiple times, until all the soap is gone. Use a towel to pat your helmet dry, and use cotton swabs or a toothbrush to clean those hard to get areas.

You should let your helmet air dry, or you could use a room fan. You could also use automotive detailing spray for gloss helmets at the end for an extra smooth finish. Finally, reinsert the visor, and you’re all set.