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Best way to clean bike helmet?

Old 07-28-21, 09:23 AM
  #1  
Broctoon
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Best way to clean bike helmet?

I'm specifically asking about the helmet straps. It's been like 100 degrees here for weeks, but I'm not gonna just stop riding. I perspire a lot anyway, so things have gotten really sweat-stained lately.

I can pull out the little velcro-secured pads inside the helmet shell and wash them in the sink. As for the straps, do you folks have any good tips? Just throw the whole helmet in a bucket of soapy water? Spray the straps with something in particular? Scrub them with an old toothbrush? Interested to hear what you've found works well.
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Old 07-28-21, 09:25 AM
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I can't imagine that getting the helmet wet would do any harm, but you could dangle the straps in a bucket of suds while the helmet sits on top.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:26 PM
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Wear it in the shower periodically in the short term, and once the hot season passes then to actually strip out the straps from the helmet body for a good wash (takes a little work to remove the decorative cover, remove and then reinstall straps, and then reattach the decorative cover).
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Old 07-28-21, 12:31 PM
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Wow...I feel a little guilty. Never have I washed out my helmet. If you don't wash things as often, keeps people from drafting 🤪
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Old 07-28-21, 12:35 PM
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I do wash the straps on my hiking poles using a bit of dish soap. I've done the same with my eye glass retainers. Helmet straps are a bit harder as getting the parts close to the helmet is not easy to massage with soap/water. But I go easy on the dish soap so I don't have tons of lather to wash out.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BobsPoprad View Post
Wow...I feel a little guilty. Never have I washed out my helmet. If you don't wash things as often, keeps people from drafting 🤪
Well, I never wash my jerseys or shorts, because they would no longer be lucky. So you're saying that's why people don't seem to stick to my rear wheel for long? Kidding, of course.

I have cleaned my helmet before, but don't do it often. I recently noticed the straps are getting pretty lucky crusty.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:41 PM
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I wash my helmet straps under running water with some liquid hand soap, then rinse well and hang to dry.

Not very often, though. Only when salt stains are obvious.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:42 PM
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I feel your pain. I sweat a hell of a lot and (apparently) have too much sodium in my diet. My helmet straps have turned white and crusted to the point where they were rigid. Just soak them in/rinse them with warm water.
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Old 07-28-21, 01:17 PM
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I rinse the entire helmet, straps, foam, etc. Spray with Oxy or similar if it smells funky. Rinse. Mash the foam to squeeze out excess water. The helmet will be dry enough to use the next day. Getting wet won't hurt any part of your helmet. Putting on a damp helmet won't hurt your head.
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Old 07-28-21, 01:28 PM
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These very hot days, I have been washing out my helmet and gloves after every ride. Usually I just rinse them in the sink with warm water. If it’s been a few rides, I’ll soak them in soapy water, then rinse. With extreme heat, I just put them outside in the sun and they are dry in an hour or so.

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Last edited by ofajen; 07-28-21 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 07-28-21, 03:57 PM
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It's part of my post ride routine to rinse my helmet, gloves, HR strap, sweatVac and sun sleeves under running water in the laundry sink. I've never had anything go bad with the helmet from the water. Nor have I ever wondered what was growing in the straps.
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Old 07-28-21, 05:21 PM
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since the pandemic, I've had various disinfecting sprays everywhere, incl. my car. when I finish a hot ride no, I spray the inside of the helmet, the straps too, but haven't focused on those. maybe now I will. after spraying them, I rinse the helmet w/ some water & let it air dry concave side up
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Old 07-28-21, 05:35 PM
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I too sweat profusely due to the south Texas heat and humidity. I take my helmut and gloves into the shower and wash/rinse them every ride. Shampoo works great on the helmut and gloves.
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Old 07-28-21, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
since the pandemic, I've had various disinfecting sprays everywhere, incl. my car. when I finish a hot ride no, I spray the inside of the helmet, the straps too, but haven't focused on those. maybe now I will. after spraying them, I rinse the helmet w/ some water & let it air dry concave side up
I was curious if "nylon" could be suitably treated/cleansed with alcohol. That is if the straps are made of nylon. Found the link below. I wonder about other materials making up the entire helmet?

https://www.calpaclab.com/nylon-chem...ibility-chart/
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Old 07-28-21, 07:58 PM
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common detergent can act as a catalyst for polycarbonate stress cracking

gm
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Old 07-28-21, 08:30 PM
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Modern helmets are all synthetic and plastics and should be able to withstand reasonably careful washing, even complete dunking in cool or lukewarm water. I wouldn't use hot water, and it's probably unnecessary. The only time I've seen separation between the plastic shell and interior EPS foam was after my noggin smacked the pavement when I was hit by a car -- the thin, harder plastic outer shell peeled away from the EPS foam at the point of impact. But hot water might accelerate separation.

I hand wash most of my cycling and running kit, so once in awhile I'll fill a 5 gallon bucket with warm water and clothes detergent (usually free of dyes, softener, etc.), stuff in my stinky jersey, etc., and set the helmet on top of the bucket with the straps dangling in the water -- and toss the detachable pads into the bucket. Let 'em soak for at least 20 minutes.

After soaking I'll use a sponge to wipe down the straps (move the buckles and Y-splitters to get the crevices), inside and outside the helmet, rinse under the tap, and hang to dry. I'll clip the padding to a mini-clothesline over the tub.

Years ago when I drank only plain water during bike rides I rarely needed to wash my helmet and never saw any crusty salt marks. But after adding electrolytes to at least one bottle on every ride I sweat out a lot of that stuff and get salt frost on everything I wear.
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Old 07-28-21, 08:34 PM
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When it's really hot and humid I rinse my helmet, straps and all. off in water after every ride. Every couple of days I rinse my gloves out also as they get "the funk".

One thing I found that will add longevity to your helmet is to wear a sweat-absorbing headband. I like the Halo head bands on shorter rides but wear their bandanna type on longer rides to protect my hairless streamlined head from the sun. They get rinsed off every day also.

Every couple of weeks I soak the headbands, bandanas and gloves in the sink with a few drops of Dawn in a mixing bowl then rinse them off. I got two years on a helmet doing this and although the outside is all scratched and beat up the liner is still in pretty good shape.

Use cold water, not hot.
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Last edited by drlogik; 07-28-21 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-29-21, 01:12 AM
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I generally take mine into the shower with me! Give it a good suds up with soap or shampoo then rinse off. Hang out to dry. Job done.
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Old 07-29-21, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kahn View Post
I was curious if "nylon" could be suitably treated/cleansed with alcohol. That is if the straps are made of nylon. Found the link below. I wonder about other materials making up the entire helmet?
my technique is probably not ideal for the helmet materials, that's why I rinse it immediately after. I also don't use a lot of whatever spray I have. mostly I just use water. I like the idea of a bucket of water, that seems harmless. but there must be a manufacturer's recommendation ...

voilà!
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike-helmet-washing/

Last edited by rumrunn6; 07-29-21 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:45 AM
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Shampoo your hair. Swish helmet around on your head and rub shampoo onto the straps. Rinse and place in bathtub to air dry overnight.
Quick and easy.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilbur Bud View Post
Wear it in the shower periodically
Wife walks in..
"What are you doing!!!!"

I'll just clean mine in the kitchen sink and not have the wife walk into an awkward situation.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:20 AM
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Same as with a motorcycle helmet. Turn it upside down and fill it up completely with shaving cream, with the straps and everything down inside the helmet. Let it sit for a few hours, then rinse it out. Submerge it in a sink full of clear water to really rinse it well - I add a small amount of vinegar to the water. When it dries it's as good as new.
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Old 07-29-21, 11:49 PM
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I removed the straps from the helmet, sprayed them with Spray and Wash, and put them in the washing machine. Hung them up to dry. Make sure you take pictures of how the straps lace. Probably overkill but they were super clean.
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Old 08-09-21, 06:31 AM
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Anyone tried putting one in the dishwasher?
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Old 08-09-21, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
Anyone tried putting one in the dishwasher?
It gets way too hot in the dishwasher. Just rinse the helmet off with cold water in the sink or use a garden hose.
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