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View Poll Results: What is the best solution for a stinky helmet?

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  • Clothes washing machine, with laundry detergent

    1 3.33%
  • Dish washing machine, with dish detergent

    0 0%
  • Shower, with shampoo

    9 30.00%
  • Soaking in the sink, with dish detergent

    8 26.67%
  • Freezing overnight

    0 0%
  • Buy a new helmet

    12 40.00%
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  1. #1
    Senior Member jagged's Avatar
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    Best solution for a smelly helmet

    Daily riding in hot weather has left my helmet almost too gross to wear. Both pads and straps stink from sweat, and the pads are a bit frayed from wear, too. After reading this thread and also this thread, I have seen many suggestions for washing the helmet. So I ask those with experience: what has worked for you, and causes the least damage to your helmet?

  2. #2
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    I take out the removable pads and wash them in vinegar and then some soapy water. Be sure to rinse when you're all done.

    If the straps are smelly, just some regular old water should do the trick.

  3. #3
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    I have a spray bottle of a 50% solution of water/vinegar and spray my helmet and camelback down once a week. Then I run it under the shower and let it dry.

  4. #4
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Regular washing helps.

    I got caught in an afternoon shower a few weeks ago. I hadn't remembered to wash my helmet in a few months and for about a mile (till it was all "washed" out) had salty, crappy-tasting rain water running down my face and into the corner of my mouth. Spit! Spit! Spit!
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  5. #5
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    The pads should be removeable, wash them. I give the inside of my helmet a quick shot of Lysol when I hang it up (a habit picked up from having hockey gear to deal with too)

  6. #6
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    You left out an option on your poll:

    * Wear your aromatic helmet with pride!

  7. #7
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    In addition to the tips above, you could also use any readily available deodorizers like Fabreze, etc. I think the most overlooked, cheapest and often most effective is sunlight. Letting your helmet sit out on a breezy sunny day will help break up and release odor molecules.

  8. #8
    Two wheels is two wheels pelikan's Avatar
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    Febreze works good, but also stuffing newspaper in the helmet helps a whole lot. I do it all the time with my moto helmets.

  9. #9
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    My helmet actually gets more stinky in the winter when its more humid and less hot to dry it out overnight. But it also gets stinky in the so called 'monsoon' season we have here, with a bit higher humidities, which is about now.

    I like to take out pads and hand wash them thoughoughly in dishsoap. Also wash the helmet in sink with dishsoap. Lay it out in full sun to dry. A quick very light spritz of some alcohol based deoderant (or purfume) on the inside helps too. Not much as you don't want to damage helmet. Seems to get rid of the stink - main thing you want to do is kill the bacteria which sun and alcohol can do.

    Al

  10. #10
    Enjoy
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    What my helmet stinks? Wash a helmet? Never thought of it.
    Guess it's not hot enough that often here to even consider it! [goes off to sniff helmet]

  11. #11
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    buy a new one.

    Maybe it's marketing hype recommending a new lid every year. Then again it's yer brains, so what the hey? I don't mind dropping $ on a new jersey or tires so why not a brain bucket?
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.

  12. #12
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    I hang a pine tree air freshener off the front visor

  13. #13
    RT
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    Bell Helmets send me free pads every two months or so.

  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddorado
    Bell Helmets send me free pads every two months or so.
    Do you ask or are you on a system?

    I get free pads from Giro (hmmm... are they part of Bell) whenever I call and ask.

    But I've noticed the stench has gotten into the chin straps, harder to clean and/or replace.

    Al

  15. #15
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    you could also try patchouli.

    I once gave a girlfriend a coupla rides on my motorbike and afterwards my helmet smelled liked her perfume for a good, l - o - n - g time. That stuff will cover ANYthing!
    Last edited by pgoat; 09-01-05 at 03:33 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.

  16. #16
    RT
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    I just call 'em. Very good customer service.

  17. #17
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever washed a helmet. Get enough riding in the rain, I guess and it's all good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
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  18. #18
    I <3 my bike. 10ch's Avatar
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    I haven't yet experienced this helmet stink you speak of, but for sandal stink, which boy howdy do I know well... I use a product called "sandal suds."

    I wonder if that would work for the straps since it's the same kind of material as the straps on Chacos.

    Beck

  19. #19
    Commuting Horrorshow wheezl's Avatar
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    I pull out the pads and wash them with Dr. Bronner's in the sink. That seems to do the trick. In fact I wash all of my bike clothing that way.

  20. #20
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    I use shampoo (Johnson's Baby Shampoo) in the shower and wash the whole helmet with it. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then blot out the excess moisture and let it air dry for a day. Gets all the salt and stink out and leaves it smelling great.
    ---

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  21. #21
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat
    you could also try patchouli.
    Urrrppppp!

    That stuff nauseates me. I was there in the "Flower Power" sixties, and hippies used to use patchouli instead of showering, so the smell of B.O. mixed with patchouli is forever burned into my brain.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  22. #22
    jur
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    I just smelled my helmet after 9 months of commuting and other riding, often with bucketloads of sweat running off.

    I can't catch even the faintest whiff, it is completely odor free. Never washed it. How do I do it? (I'm not that clean, my armpits knock out possums at 300 yards after a hot ride.)

    After every ride, I take a cloth or paper towel and press firmly on the pads until they are dry. I never considered smell for this exercise, I do it because I hate putting on a wet helmet. Looks like it works for smell too.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  23. #23
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelnel
    Urrrppppp!

    That stuff nauseates me. I was there in the "Flower Power" sixties, and hippies used to use patchouli instead of showering, so the smell of B.O. mixed with patchouli is forever burned into my brain.


    I once went to a concert (B. Dylan) and Toni Basil was the opening act.....not my cuppa tea....... anyhoo, some woman behind me was positively IN-FUSED with the stuff....at first i thought someone had eaten pastrami, puked it up all over themselves and then came to the show anyway.....she was seated right behind me and I was gagging all the way through the opening act.

    Luckily she got up and left in between sets, so the Dylan show was patchouli free

    actually in MODERATION I don't mind the stuff. but only if the underlying user is clean - and being outdoors helps (even better on a MC - with them behind you!! )

    mind, it could be worse than your memories....I've had the displeasure of being around 90s hipsters who eschew bathing in the interest of bohemianism, sans patchouli smokescreen...trust me, it's NOT an improvement.
    Last edited by pgoat; 09-02-05 at 04:48 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.

  24. #24
    Enthusiasm on Wheels As You Like It's Avatar
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    I would suggest to make a paste out of baking soda, smear it all over in your helmet, let it sit overnight, and then rinse it out. I'd wash the pads as normal, maybe using a "stripping" shampoo for oily hair, and rinse them in water with baking soda in it.

    I do this with my gloves which get very manky and it seems to take care of the nastiness quite handily.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonH
    Regular washing helps.

    I got caught in an afternoon shower a few weeks ago. I hadn't remembered to wash my helmet in a few months and for about a mile (till it was all "washed" out) had salty, crappy-tasting rain water running down my face and into the corner of my mouth. Spit! Spit! Spit!
    Ugh, I've been there a few too many times. And it is so very shockily disgusting to recognize that you're spitting out a good month's worth of fosselized sweat.
    Wheeeee!

  25. #25
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    1. Make baking soda paste-2 parts baking soda to 1 part water.
    2. Apply a liberal amount to odorous areas.
    3. I prefer to let dry and brush off or rub off if you cannot wait.
    4. Use with confidence!

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