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  1. #1
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    My head protector stinks! *NOT A DEBATE TOPIC*

    First off could we please try to be mature about this? I'm not using that six letter word that sets the A&S crowd into a blind internet rage. Secondly, I've made the personal choice to wear a head protector and I'm not going to stop. If you disagree with *my personal choice* please feel free to debate it on the six letter word thread with someone who isn't me. Thanks in advance for being cool!

    OK so last May I bought a new head protector to replace my old one which stunk to high heaven, was falling apart and had a few dings on it from being dropped and locked on my bike. I no longer lock it to my bike. I bought a nice one with lots of ventilation holes and several adjustable straps. It cost me around $30-$40 USD so I don't want to replace it already. It would appear most of the odor is on the straps and pads. Normally my MO for treating smelly things I can't wash is to spray Febreeze on em. However I'm not sure that's a good idea because I'm worried it might affect the foam. I'm also considering maybe a sponge bath with delicate fabric detergen. Again not sure if thats a good idea. I suspect I might be overthinking this radically. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by walrus1; 10-01-14 at 12:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    I have used simple green and similar cleaners on helmets for years and have never observed any deterioration. I always rinse it very thoroughly and dry it as best I can with towles.

  3. #3
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    This is what I do:

    1. Turn on the sink
    2. Put head protector under the stream of running water
    3. Use your fingers to rub the straps, the pads and the inside of the head protector under the running water
    4. Let head protector dry. You can pat the straps and pads with a dry towel to speed up the process if you choose so

    I assure you, water isn't going to hurt the thing any more than normal use. I do this every time I get more than a trivial amount of sweat on mine since at that point it's already wet and will take the same amount of time to dry but at least it will be clean.
    Avid proponent of ISO 8601

  4. #4
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    Water alone probably won't get the oily stink out if it's already set up shop there. A little soap on your fingers and rub it into the straps and pads probably can't hurt, right?

  5. #5
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    This is what I do:

    1. Turn on the sink
    2. Put head protector under the stream of running water
    3. Use your fingers to rub the straps, the pads and the inside of the head protector under the running water
    4. Let head protector dry. You can pat the straps and pads with a dry towel to speed up the process if you choose so

    I assure you, water isn't going to hurt the thing any more than normal use. I do this every time I get more than a trivial amount of sweat on mine since at that point it's already wet and will take the same amount of time to dry but at least it will be clean.
    This is what I do as well. It only took me a couple of times being caught in the rain and having old salt wash into my eyes to start doing this.
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  6. #6
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    I use Lemon Fresh Dawn to clean my neoprene wetsuits and other dive clothing. If it can get the stink out of dive boots afer a week of tropical diving, I'm sure it can de-stink a styro hat. Soap and water won't hurt the hat, liner or pads any worse than sweat or rain, though getting a good rinse out of the pads may take a bit of work.

    BTW- Fabreeze now makes a laundry additive, so that may help if the Dawn isn't good enough alone.
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  7. #7
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Helmets only last 8 years before their german safety rating is renounced.

    I would recommend:



    €21/year over here.
    Last edited by acidfast7; 10-01-14 at 02:20 AM.
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  8. #8
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Also, as a microbiologist, the smell is microbes growing.

    Washing isn't absolutely necessary to kill them. Certain types of gas (ozone or N2 works as well). Sunlight does as well (E. coli only survives 15 seconds in direct sunlight). As does freezing. I'm not a materials scientist, so I'm not going to tell you what works best on your helmet material.

    I found that throwing my jeans in the -80C/-112F freezer at work for a few days cleans them as well (smell out) and is much easier on the raw denim.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    I put mine in the dishwasher on a
    short cycle and lowest drying heat.
    I use a small amount of baking soda instead of detergent.

    I've done this for years with no ill effects to my head protectors.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    @acidfast7, so instead of washing your jeans, you put them in a -80C freezer for a few days? Next to your specimens or whatever else is in there? Science Nerd! Confirmed!

    Have you seen the Dilbert strip about washing his towel? I'll see if I can dig it up...
    Last edited by noglider; 10-01-14 at 08:26 AM.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Aha, it was easy. And it was Wally's, not Dilbert's towel.




    Amazing that I remember it from 1995!
    Last edited by noglider; 10-01-14 at 08:29 AM.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  12. #12
    Aspiring curmudgeon icepick_trotsky's Avatar
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    I know you don't want to replace it yet, but I always buy helmets with removable/washable internal pads like Bern.
    "Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably

  13. #13
    Passista Reynolds's Avatar
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    I simply wash my helmet under the tap with plain white soap and a nail brush and let it dry upside down in the sun.

  14. #14
    Aspiring curmudgeon icepick_trotsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Helmets only last 8 years before their german safety rating is renounced.

    I would recommend:





    €21/year over here.
    Do you have one of these? I've never seen the rental/subscription option. Have you had the misfortune of trying it out?
    "Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    I'm glad my nose is not sensitive. I've never washed my helmet. I just deliberately tried to smell any odor and I pick up none. My sweat gets stuff stinky but apparently not my helmet. It is never in contact with my skin though. I'm bald and wear a cap under my helmet.

  16. #16
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    Take out pads and wash with spic n span or some other lemony/ piney floor cleaner, soak helmet in the sink too. Rise and let dry, works well.

  17. #17
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    I ride in a thunderstorm once in a while-- takes care of washing the gloves too.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    This is what I do:

    1. Turn on the sink
    2. Put head protector under the stream of running water
    3. Use your fingers to rub the straps, the pads and the inside of the head protector under the running water
    4. Let head protector dry. You can pat the straps and pads with a dry towel to speed up the process if you choose so

    I assure you, water isn't going to hurt the thing any more than normal use. I do this every time I get more than a trivial amount of sweat on mine since at that point it's already wet and will take the same amount of time to dry but at least it will be clean.

    Same here.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    I sweat a lot from my head so after a couple of weeks, the pads on the inside of my helmet get rather funky too. What I find is that when allowed to fully dry, the smell reduces so on nice summer nights, I'll hang it on the line to dry out. However, sometimes, when the forecast is for rain, I'll hang it on the line to rinse out (and then have to deal with wet pads that release their cold water down my neck and back when I put it on in the morning). The other thing I do is when I get to work, I'll take it in the shower with me, pads up, in an area of the shower that gets a fair amount of spray. Although that generally means that I'll be putting on a wet helmet for the ride home, at least it smells less (or not at all). Sometimes, I'll use some of my body soap (natural soap) and rub a bit on the pads early into the shower so that it gets plenty of rinsing.
    Yeah, I've been thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that being an adult isn't going to work for me.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I don't think "cleaning" and spraying something on top of the item are the same thing. you might consider a barrier to help cut down on the bacteria buildup. odor comes from decaying bacteria. you might also consider washing your head/hair before riding. since my hair is thinning it is easy to wash my hair kneeling next to the tub. quick rinse, quick shampoo w just enough soap not too much, then a final rinse and towel dry and then a little hair dryer. I sometimes do this just to freshen up before a date with wifey. the barrier I sometimes use is like a skull cap type thing. I have some in cotton and a couple that are more porous made of synthetics and are cycling specific. at stops I wring them out. when home, I give them a quick wash in the sink. it takes a minute at the most, and they air dry overnight.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  21. #21
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    Take it to a do it yourself car wash and blast it like it's a cat.

    (The aforementioned comment should not be taken seriously and in no way reflects the poster's actual thoughts on the subject)

  22. #22
    Fahrradfahrer jwarner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Also, as a microbiologist, the smell is microbes growing.

    Washing isn't absolutely necessary to kill them. Certain types of gas (ozone or N2 works as well). Sunlight does as well (E. coli only survives 15 seconds in direct sunlight). As does freezing. I'm not a materials scientist, so I'm not going to tell you what works best on your helmet material.

    I found that throwing my jeans in the -80C/-112F freezer at work for a few days cleans them as well (smell out) and is much easier on the raw denim.

    That is the absolute best use for a minus 80 I've ever heard of (other than for long-term storage of samples of course)...

    Well Done. Well done indeed.

  23. #23
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    This is what I do:

    1. Turn on the sink
    2. Put head protector under the stream of running water
    3. Use your fingers to rub the straps, the pads and the inside of the head protector under the running water
    4. Let head protector dry. You can pat the straps and pads with a dry towel to speed up the process if you choose so

    I assure you, water isn't going to hurt the thing any more than normal use. I do this every time I get more than a trivial amount of sweat on mine since at that point it's already wet and will take the same amount of time to dry but at least it will be clean.
    This ^^^. Mild dish soap helps. I've been wearing a cycling cap under my head protector for a few years. This really helps keep the head protector cleaner and the cap goes in the wash once a week.

    Good rain storm is always good too.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Why don't you just put your helmet in acidfast7's freezer?
    My Bikes: 2010 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata 610 | 1970 Hercules | 198? Miele ?
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  25. #25
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    @acidfast7, so instead of washing your jeans, you put them in a -80C freezer for a few days? Next to your specimens or whatever else is in there? Science Nerd! Confirmed!

    Have you seen the Dilbert strip about washing his towel? I'll see if I can dig it up...
    Yeah, we have walk-in -20C freezers and some standing -80C freezers.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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