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Old 08-10-11, 03:50 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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My helmets die from the funk

I get about a year out of a helmet before the sweat and oils build up and make it something nasty that I don't want to put upon my head.
Nothing I've tried will clean them. I even tried pet odor eliminating carpet shampoo with enzymes and that didn't work.
I just ordered a new helmet and I hate to pitch my current one because nothing is wrong with it besides the funk.
I wear doo rags in the summer and stocking caps in the cooler months, but by the end of summer my helmet is not fit to wear in public.
Any ideas on how to keep a helmet clean and fresh? I sweat profusely and I have a very oily scalp.
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Old 08-10-11, 03:58 PM   #2
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Me too, they start off with all the pads in and i remove them and the straps periodically to wash them but after a while the pads have disintegrated so i don't bother to put them back in and i end up wearing the helmet with a sweat band instead of the pads to get it comfortable.
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Old 08-10-11, 04:04 PM   #3
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1) Wash with warm water, Dawn dish washing soap. There is something about Dawn as opposed to other brands that cuts oils and removes stinks.

2) If that doesn't completely remove it, repeat the washing process and then submerge your helmet in a bucket filled with cold water an a plain (unscented) bleach solution. Use no more than a capful per gallon. Let it sit for at least an hour before rinsing.

Step one removes oils and most residues. Step two kills remaining microbes. Disinfecting with bleach will not be effective without first cleaning the helmet. The microbes will be protected in the grime.
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Old 08-10-11, 06:24 PM   #4
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I wash my helmet every week or two in the shower with regular shampoo and never have any issues. I think if you do it more often rather than wait until it's a problem, you can avoid the problem.
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Old 08-10-11, 07:18 PM   #5
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I too am a heavy sweater. I've found that dew rags and terry cloth headbands just don't hold enough sweat. For me the solution is simply folding a bandanna to use like a sweat band tied in the back. I adjust the helmet pads slightly to fit. (The helmet also fits well over a wool cycling cap when adjusted this way.) When the bandanna fills up with sweat, I stop to wring it out and either tie it on the bike somewhere to dry as I ride, or lay it in the sun while I take a break.

I use two bandannas - one dries while the other is being used.

The helmet pads seem to remain relatively dry and my helmets never suffer from "the funk".

This works for me because I'm not into racing or performance riding and can stop whenever I feel like it. I mostly ride alone, as well.

If you're into hammering with the big boys...forget the above.

Last edited by Louis; 08-10-11 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 08-10-11, 07:33 PM   #6
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Wash it before it dries.
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Old 08-10-11, 08:14 PM   #7
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yup, wash/rinse right after every ride. +1 on the dish soap every once in while too (in moderation)
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Old 08-10-11, 09:47 PM   #8
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Who cares what they smell like? You shower after you ride, right?
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Old 08-10-11, 09:59 PM   #9
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Who cares what they smell like? You shower after you ride, right?
You don't want to show up at the grocery store or post office with a smelly helmet (or gloves in the winter is my big problem).
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Old 08-11-11, 06:25 AM   #10
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Who cares what they smell like? You shower after you ride, right?
Sometimes I'll be on the bike all day, going from place to place. Sometimes I'll ride during breaks or doing errands at work. Don't want the funk on me at times like that.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:43 AM   #11
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Being in hot, humid Florida, I sweat like crazy so I was my helmet after every ride with Dawn. No smell at all.
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Old 08-11-11, 08:42 AM   #12
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You'd be surprised at how many people have NEVER have washed their helmets.
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Old 08-11-11, 09:02 AM   #13
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How about the dishwasher?
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Old 08-11-11, 09:23 AM   #14
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You'd be surprised at how many people have NEVER have washed their helmets.
I'm one of them. I'm one of those guys that doesn't sweat much and snowboarding and bike helmets that several years old.
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Old 08-11-11, 09:33 AM   #15
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Maybe the do-rags are holding in all that "nasty", making things worse than better. Allow air to circulate thru those holes in the helmet. That is why they are there. As far as I'm concerned putting a cover on the helmet does the same thing as putting one inside it.

Have never washed my ski helmet. Doesn't smell. Have only washed the pad in my bike helmet once in the 3 months I've had it. Doesn't smell one bit. And I live in the hot, hot, hot South. Just lucky I guess.

But I swear those do-rags do more harm than good.

Last edited by bigbadwullf; 08-11-11 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 08-11-11, 09:49 AM   #16
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As long as the flies don't follow along....
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Old 08-11-11, 02:59 PM   #17
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Is this a problem for guys without hair? I've got a full head of hair, and I guess that protects my helmet, because its funk-less, and I've never washed it.
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Old 08-11-11, 03:28 PM   #18
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put it in the laundry
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Old 08-11-11, 03:41 PM   #19
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My grandmother gave me a Technique for getting the funk out of old jerseys, and it worked on my helmet as well. I take a five gallon bucket, fill it enough to cover the helmet. Put a bunch of arm and hammer baking soda in there, mix it up, submerge the helmet(or jersey/shorts). Then pour in some white vinegar while holding the helmet under, till all the foaming stops. It worked for me, but I make no assurances that the glues and such holding the helmet together will not be affected.
In addition, I rinse my helmets and clothes after every ride.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:33 PM   #20
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I usually just wear my helmet in the shower once a week.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:07 PM   #21
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You don't want to show up at the grocery store or post office with a smelly helmet (or gloves in the winter is my big problem).
Meh.

My money's just as green whether I smell good or not.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:15 PM   #22
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My helmet has replaceable pads. I just chuck the smelly ones after a while and throw in new ones.
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Old 08-12-11, 12:27 PM   #23
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I get about a year out of a helmet before the sweat and oils build up and make it something nasty that I don't want to put upon my head.
....
Well there is that crazy old option of not wearing one. That's how they do it in them funny-talking Europe countries with lots of bikes. It also feels much nicer all-around.

The safety disadvantage of doing so depends on your riding circumstances, tho'. If you ride where there's heavy car traffic you're more likely to get hit.
If a helmet will "save" is difficult to answer, but it may mitigate head injuries somewhat.




Also, if you live in fear of bicycling head injuries,,,, you might get a recumbent bike.
Many injuries on upright bikes are head/collarbone/shoulder, from riders being thrown forward over the handlebars under hard braking or collisions. Compared to other parts of the body injured in bicycle accidents, head injuries cost the most to treat, take the longest to recover from, and have the highest rates of permanent disability and death. Head injuries are the most important injury to avoid.
,,,,
There's no official stats kept on bicycle injuries separated by bicycle types, but on many recumbents, it is nearly impossible to get thrown "over" the handlebars head-first, even if directly hitting a concrete wall at high-speed. Forget the styrofoam hat and get a safer bicycle instead.
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Old 08-12-11, 12:40 PM   #24
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"safer bicycle"
IMHO recumbents are MUCH harder to see. That makes them much more dangerous in my book.
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Old 08-12-11, 12:57 PM   #25
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To all you people who never wash your helmets because you say they don't smell bad, do you also think that your own farts smell good?
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