You’re not alone if you think your helmet smells bad. In fact, even if you’re riding all day in the wind, you’re still sweating – sometimes despite the temperature.
Guess what? Your helmet probably stinks. Now, if you’ve got a really bad case of the funky, then it might be smart to just start over right here. On the other hand, we’ve seen a lot of rough smelling helmets brought back from the brink with a little basic cleaning.
First things first, when it comes to the liner in your lid, some are easier than others to get out. Before you go tearing into it, take some time to figure out how the liner is attached and be comfortable with the fact that some helmets are harder than others to sort out. If it looks like you’ll need an engineering degree to get your parts and pieces back together, then we’ve got two words of advice:
You can likely get your skid lid just as fresh and clean leaving it all together as you can be tearing it apart.
So let’s start with the basics…
The same oil in your hair is the oil in your helmet, so it’s not necessarily a bad idea – believe it or not – to wash the liner with shampoo. Of course you can use nearly any kind of soap, but it’s wise to find out how any given soap is going to affect the liner, or if your helmet manufacturer recommends a specific type of soap.
The challenge is to get the liner clean and to make sure that you can get all the soap out of it and get it flushed with water.
From there, it’s a simple process – get everything dry.
So now you know the basics, let’s get clear on a few points…
You cannot plan on doing this Friday and riding out Saturday morning. It may take a day to get that liner completely dry, and with all the different types of materials liners are now available in, I simply don’t trust my dryer to do the job – heat might break the materials down and making the helmet unsafe.
…But once you get that helmet clean?
You’ll be shocked by how much better it smells, and even how it feels.
On the other hand, when you take the time to closely inspect that helmet, you might just realize that it’s a little past its prime. We’ve talked about the fact helmets have a shelf life of
five years, and if you ride a lot – and wear a helmet a lot – then the liner breakdown is a very real thing that you might not have noticed. No matter what, the simple process of cleaning a helmet, whether a beanie helmet or a full face mask – is a smart part of riding that gives you the chance to inspect your gear and make sure that the protective equipment you’re betting your life on is up to the task.