Helmets are designed to be used. Conditions like rain, heat can cause an abundance of moisture and/or sweat. Other things like dirt, dust, bugs and branches can really wear out a helmet - or at least make it look that way. Your helmet has one job and that is to protect you from impacts and penetrating forces in the event of a crash. Keeping out the bugs, mud  and rain is really just a perk of wearing protection, though there really does seem to be an added level of safety when all that stuff is kept off your face or out of your eyes.

muddy motocross dirt bike helmet

Properly maintaining your helmet by keeping it clean will drastically extend the life of your helmet in the long run. In the short term, you won’t have to put your head in a horrendously dirty helmet, and if you wear a full face helmet, your face shield won’t hinder your vision

How To Clean Your Helmet

These steps are ideal for full face motorcycle helmets, open faced, half, and off road helmet styles.

1: Get your supplies in order

Save some time now and get everything you need to get the job done right layed out in front of you.

Pro tip: Do this once. Store this stuff in a box for next time. Your partner/mom/dad/guardian will be thoroughly impressed by this.

helmet cleaning

Microfiber towel

Preferably three. The kind that cleans glass really well. You will be cleaning your face shield and/or the shell of your helmet with these. T shirt or flannel material will be a close alternative

Soft or medium bristled toothbrush

Dollar store quality. This will make cleaning any dusty crevices and corners a breeze.

Baby shampoo or castile soap

Do not use any petroleum based soaps or other cleaning agents as they WILL damage the EPS lining. Baby shampoo is cheap.

A bowl or 5 gallon bucket of warm water

Leave enough space in the bowl or bucket to wash your lining in. If you have dead bugs or mud on your helmet then you won’t want to skip this.

2: Remove all accessories

Take out any Bluetooth headsets, detach camera mounts.

3: Remove lining and cheek pads

Almost every modern helmet in just about any price range will have a removable liner and cheek pads. These will be washed separately to allow them to completely dry before putting back in. Refer to your owner’s manual if you are unsure.

motorcycle helmet lining cheek pads cleaning

If your helmet does not have a removable liner (and it probably does) it might be time to upgrade to the current minimum safety standards. For the few models that don’t, you can still wash the lining by leaving it inside the helmet.

Step 4: Pre-soak the exterior

Loosen up old, dried, and crusty dead flying insects and dust by getting one of your towels wet with hottish-warm water, and then simply laying the towel on your helmet covering the face shield and the entire front of your helmet. Let it rest and soak for 3-5 minutes.

This will save you from having to scrub like mad trying to get those bugs off and inadvertently scratching the finish on your helmet, or worst yet, scratching that face shield.

5: Clean the lining and cheek pads

With your warm water in a bucket or large bowl, add the baby shampoo. Enough to make suds at the top of the water. Toss in your lining and massage underwater to clean. Repeat for the cheek pads.

Let these completely dry before putting back in your helmet. Leaving them out overnight will be necessary.

6: Clean the shell and vents

Take the damp cloth off the helmet. Removing the face shield now might make it easier to clean once the shell is cleaned. Get a new clean microfiber cloth and gently wipe off any dirt and debris. Use the toothbrush in any creases, corners, hard to reach spots. Dry with a fresh cloth or towel.

Once the helmet is clean, you can use ammonia free window cleaner to remove any fingerprints. This makes cleaning a matte finish helmet super easy.

7: Dry vent intakes/exhaust ports

You can use an air compressor, but be careful to use a minimal amount of pressure to not damage the EPS, vent covers or screen material. If you’ve got serious mud in there, then go back to step 6..

8: Clean the face shield

bugs on a motorcycle helmet face shield

Be extra careful not to scratch your face shield. Majority of motorcycle helmet face shields have a coating on both sides. Warm soapy water is best. You may want to double check your owner’s manual if you don’t want to void your warranty.

If you for some reason need to use something with a little more *oomph* try a 1:10 dilution of vinegar and water. You can get rid of any oils a bit easier and it won’t degrade your the coatings. Using window cleaner is not recommended. Ammonia and alcohols can degrade polycarbonate.

If you have an interior sun shield, repeat this step. Do not use window cleaner. Soapy water is best.

10: Put it all back together

Once everything has dried put everything back together. Line up the lining and insert it making sure it is fully secured, and snap the cheek pads back into place.