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Thread: Smelly helmets

  1. #1
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    Smelly helmets

    I've been noticing a rank odor coming from my helmet lately. Seems that my sweat has been absorbed into the pads, and is re-activated each time I ride. I get to work and my head smells funny. I get home and my girlfriend exclaims, "ewe!"

    How can I solve this smelly dilemma? Should I remove my helmet pads and wash them after any sweaty ride? Should I wear some sort of hood layer under the helmet? Are there better pads that don't absorb sweat?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Village Idiot chrisk's Avatar
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    Like you said, I ususally take the pads out and wash them once I really start to notice the smell. When I'm really lazy I'll just stick the whole helmet under the sink and give it a quick rinse - it works well enough if I'm really pressed for time.

  3. #3
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    soak em in 70% ethanol or 90% rubbing alcohol... that should disinfect them, and help control odor.
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  4. #4
    newbie newbie georgesnatcher's Avatar
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    This is a timely post I was starting to get some strange smells in my helmet. Hopefully his advice saves the cost of a new lid.

  5. #5
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Wadding up newspaper and stufing your helmet overnight helps(I have heard)
    I just bring my helmet in the shower and shampoo the pads. On some helmets they don't come out to easy.
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  6. #6
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I just soak the pads in water. Because sweat is basically a fact of life year-round here, I generally can't be bothered taking the time to give them a proper wash.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Bikesick's Avatar
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    Right after a ride, I run my helmet under the kitchen faucet and rinse the pads out with warm water. Works pretty good at keeping the funkiness away.

  8. #8
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    I wash the pads every week.

    I always wear a bandana. This keep sweat away from my face.. it also absorbs moisture/sweat, so the pads don't get that wet..
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  9. #9
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    Since the straps pick up sweat as well as the pads, removing the pads for washing is not going to be a complete solution.

    Try soaking the whole helmet in fresh water overnight and wear it until it is dry the next day. I do this for sweat soaked leather gloves and my watch with a nylon/velcro strap. It works quite well.

    Dan
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  10. #10
    Stultus sum.
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    Whenever I do my laundy, I throw in my helmet pads as well.

    I put them in a small mesh bag, so as to resist those shady dryer gnomes from eating them.

  11. #11
    One less car Jay H's Avatar
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    My helmet came with extra pads so if I so chose, I could take off the pads and wash them and let them dry while I wear the replacements. I commute each day so wet pads don't always have enough time to dry out before the next ride.

    Having said that, I have only washed my pads once in the 3 years I've owned it, usually it rains enough that it gets washed out naturally every now and then...

    If you think my helmet is smelly, you should smell my bike shoes.... I think it would have people running to the nearest fallout shelter if it ever got loose.

    Jay

  12. #12
    Rider in the Storm
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    I agree with DanFromDetroit, the pads are usually only part of the problem - I wash the entire helmet each day. I just take it along when I shower.

  13. #13
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    Top shelf of the dishwasher...with the heated drying cycle OFF.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikesick
    Right after a ride, I run my helmet under the kitchen faucet and rinse the pads out with warm water. Works pretty good at keeping the funkiness away.
    Ditto. I actually started doing this to wash the straps (which get pretty crusty with salt) but it works well to rinse the pads too.

    To "dry" the pads I just press a towel against them then let the helmet air-dry.

  15. #15
    Senior Member danr's Avatar
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    I just deal with it.
    Does the perfect bike really exist?

  16. #16
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    I've this problem, as well. But my straps are causing acne, too. Can I put the helmet in the freezer to kill bacteria like I do my rock climbing shoes? Will the material break down any?

  17. #17
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I've this problem, as well. But my straps are causing acne, too. Can I put the helmet in the freezer to kill bacteria like I do my rock climbing shoes? Will the material break down any?
    I hadn't thought of that. A frozen helmet might be nice on hot summer afternoon rides! Maybe soak the pads in water before freezing?

  18. #18
    aka old dog greywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sm266
    I've this problem, as well. But my straps are causing acne, too. Can I put the helmet in the freezer to kill bacteria like I do my rock climbing shoes? Will the material break down any?
    I recon a good blast in the micro-wave might do the trick too
    :D
    dont worry be happy ????

  19. #19
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    uh... cold doesn't kill bacteria.... only boiling does. just do the alcohol thing, like i said.
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

  20. #20
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    http://missourifamilies.org/quick/fo...qa/qafs383.htm
    Does freezing kill bacteria?

    Freezing does not kill the organisms that cause spoilage. It halts their growth temporarily. When food becomes warm again, bacteria multiply as they do in fresh food.

    It's my experience that freezing will take the smell out of sweaty climbing shoes... Maybe freezing and Lysol?

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