Modern motorcycle helmets are pretty amazing. Certainly, they are the most researched and thus technologically advanced piece of riding apparel a rider will own. Think about it. The best helmets are designed to be aerodynamically sound even at triple-digit speeds. They are wonders of internal airflow, and cranial comfort. Add to it all the fact that they are designed to displace the ravages of impact when called upon to do so. In return, they require very little attention. That being said, there are a few things that a helmet owner can do to maximize the life and function of the all important lid.
Avoid temperature and humidity extremes in the location in which you typically store your helmet. If your garage is extremely hot in the summer or frigid in the winter, store your helmet inside your house. Temperature extremes can have a damaging effect on the shell, the rigid foam lining, and the comfort padding. High humidity can lead to mildew and bacteria build-up.
Think MILD here. Many common cleaning chemicals can have an insidious effect on the structure of the helmet’s shell. This damage can be hidden. The last thing you want is to be relying on a compromised shell composition. I typically mix about a half-teaspoon of mild dish soap in a full quart spray bottle of water. This is a safe cleaning solution for both the shell and the shield. Speaking of the shield, if you get small scratches, there are mildly abrasive polishes on the market. I have had mixed results getting good visual clarity with them. Here are a couple of other hints. It is best to avoid exterior car waxes on the shell of the helmet. It is typically fine to apply a small amount of rubber conditioner to the surface of the shield seal, but consult your helmet’s manual for this.
The majority of good helmets come with removable liners these days. If that is the case, you can take the soft stuff out and clean with a mild fabric cleaner. Some can even be cleaned in a gentle machine wash cycle. There are also helmet-specific cleaners like Helmet Fresh which I reviewed for AAB. There are two concerns with what you choose to clean the interior of your helmet. First, it must not cause the foam to deteriorate. Second, it needs to skin friendly.
So there you have it – a quick checklist on helmet maintenance. Finally, remember that most experts suggest replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years – even if you exercised proper care.