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The Best Way to Clean Your Helmet

Believe it or not, there is a new trend among English riders to clean their ASTM-SEI safety helmets in their dishwashers. That’s right: pretty much any style not covered in velvet has been loaded into the same machine designed to clean dirty plates and silverware. Adherents to this practice claim that their helmets come out looking brand new and smelling as fresh as…well, clean dishes.

Is your dishwasher a safe way to get rid of layers of arena dust and that offensive odor referred to as “smelly head?” The short answer is no. The heat of the water (between 130 and 170 degrees—almost the same as the heat inside the trunk of your car) and forces inside your dishwasher are too intense. While your helmet may look brand new when it comes out of the dishwasher, it may no longer protect your head in the event of a fall.

The best way to preserve your helmet is to protect it from little impacts and extreme temperatures. Store your helmet out of the sun in a tote or carrying bag that allows ventilation so it can dry between uses. To keep it smelling fresh between uses, tuck a fabric softener sheet into your helmet bag.

Helmet Cleaning tips:

  • Soak the liner in mild, soapy water.
  • Don’t use solvents or chemicals to clean any part of the helmet, as they can destroy protective coatings and compromise the structural integrity of the helmet.
  • Use compressed air to clear helmet air vents and channels.
  • Allow the liner to air dry completely after washing and between uses.
  • Methods for cleaning the outside of safety helmets depend on the exterior materials.
     - Plastic schooling helmets can be wiped down with a soft towel and some soapy water and air dried. You can restore luster and shine with an application of a light wax protector like Pledge.
     - Microfiber helmets, such as the newer Euro-styled helmets, can actually withstand the same mild soap and water treatment. Make sure you also rinse them well with clean water to remove all soapy residue. Again, air-dry the helmet in the shade.
     - For leather-covered helmets use a dark damp cloth. If needed use leather cleaning products used for saddles and boots.

Owing to evolving helmet standards, technologies, and the potential for unseen material deterioration, it is recommended that you replace your helmet at least every five years. Any Troxel helmets involved in an accident needs to be replaced immediately.

Questions? Please comment below.


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