Like machines, human bodies also have a command center. In our case, our brain is the command center. And just as machines are designed to protect their command centers, we inherently try to protect our brains as humans. A bike helmet is an accessory designed to protect our brain from injuries when riding a bike.
A few days earlier, I was riding my bike in the rain and decided to take off my helmet. The first thing that grabbed my attention is how dirty the helmet was. Although I’m not the most spic and span person, I don’t have a shabby or scruffy appearance either.
So I decided to get to the bottom of this funky helmet problem. Something had to change about the way I took care of my helmet. And now, with sufficient knowledge about how to clean a bike helmet, I am hoping to help those of you with similar problems.
Parts of a Helmet
To clean a helmet properly, you first need to know about its structure. A typical helmet has four parts.
- Outer Shell: The outer shell is made up of a thin layer of plastic. It protects the softer but thicker part of the helmet from receiving any damage.
- Thick Middle Part: This is the central part of the helmet. A particular type of foam pads called Expanded Polystyrene (EPS liner) disposable cups. This part can absorb shocks, and it is the one that protects your body from any harm.
- Straps: Every bike helmet has bike helmet straps. These straps help the helmet stay on our heads. The straps are usually made of nylon. Since they remain in direct contact with your skin, they need to be adequately cleaned.
- Inner Padding: The inner padding is the innermost part of a helmet. It contains foams attached with Velcro. This part soaks in the sweat of your body. As a result, it requires regular cleaning.
Helmet Care Do’s and Don’ts
While a helmet can absorb shocks, it is also made lightweight for practical uses. For this, the helmet is more fragile than it looks. Here are some guidelines to keep your helmet in optimal condition. These helmet care tips will keep your helmet in tiptop shape.
- Preserve your helmet correctly: A typical helmet’s material loses its integrity if kept in extreme heat. As a result, it loses its performance capacity. So, always store your helmet in a cool, dry place.
- Replace your helmet after a crash: You must replace your helmet after a crash. A helmet is lightweight, so it will face a decrease in its performance after a crash.
- Take it into the shower with you after a ride: Cleaning your helmet after a ride will keep it free from sweat and clean, making it much more comfortable for you to use.
- Do not expose the helmet to petroleum-based chemicals: Some cleaners contain certain chemicals that can damage the plastic shell and the foam on a helmet. If you clean your helmet with harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia or decorate it with paint, it can degrade your helmet’s materials and most probably reduce its ability to protect.
- Do not accessorize it: Several types of accessories use adhesive mounts or straps to attach to your helmet. If you think that you cannot install the accessories on your helmet correctly, we advise you not to do it. Besides, the helmet is supposed to have a smooth surface, whereas accessories add certain protrusions to it.
- Do not use a helmet with too much mileage on it: Helmets are not built to last forever. Some are even designed for one-time impacts. If your helmet is old, it probably is not in perfect shape and will not provide your head with sufficient protection.
Cleaning a Bike Helmet
Now that we have a general idea about our bike helmet, we can get down to cleaning it.
Cleaning the Outer Shell
This plastic part represents your helmet. To keep this part aesthetically pleasing, try using a microfiber damp cloth to avoid making any scratches. You can use different types of detergents, grease removers, or shampoos to clean this part. To remove any stubborn dirt, you can soak it in clean water with the detergent or baby shampoo you are using for some time and then use the microfiber clothing or rag to clean it.
Cleaning the Middle Part
The thick middle-part does not come with regular outside contact but your scalp. As a result, it absorbs the sweat from your skin. If you leave it uncleaned, it may become smelly after some time. To avoid that, you can clean it with mild detergents like dish soap.
Cleaning the Straps
Remove the paddings from your helmet and use a small, soft toothbrush to get the sweat out of the straps. Do not dampen it before taking out all of the salt deposits. Otherwise, they will soak deeper into your strap.
After you have removed the salt deposits, place the strap under running, warm water, and brush them again. Put some gentle detergents on the belt and make sure they reach the deep ends. After cleaning it, rinse thoroughly to make sure the strap is free of soap. Finally, leave it to air dry.
Cleaning the Inner Padding
As you have already removed the padding while cleaning the straps, you can now get to cleaning this spongy part. Since this absorbent inner padding soaks up all the sweats, it can become quite smelly. You can put it in your washing machine with your other clothes. Do note that the padding should be cleaned at a temperature less than 40 degree-Celsius to avoid shrinking.
Ultimately, we have to clean the parts of a helmet with mild soap and water. We can also use soapy water and then rinse it thoroughly to get rid of the stench of sweat. And then air-dry it. But do keep in mind to not use any type of petroleum-based detergent.
A helmet is a necessity when you are riding a bike. Some countries even have laws that oblige you to wear a helmet while biking. Besides, it just makes sense to wear a helmet to protect yourself. And while wearing a clean helmet does not necessarily make anyone safer, it does provide more comfort. So, we hope that our article could help you keep your cycling buddy clean.