How To Clean Bike Helmet Pads? Read this First!

By Rachel Lee
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A long bike ride in your MTB on a sunny morning can be fun, but the stink you carry home in your helmet pads can be off-putting. As these pads are made of sponge, they soak up a lot of sweat and become smelly over time.

As with any other thing, your investment stays good for long if you take good care of it. Hence, in this post, we will discuss how to clean bike helmet pads and the most recommended method is to wash by hands using mild liquid detergent and cold water.

We know removing the inner padding and throw them in the washing machine for a quick spin may appear like the easiest option for you. There are many people who swear by this method to save time and get the pads clean faster, however, this is not the ideal method.

Putting the stinking bike helmet pads in the washing machine may cause them to fall apart, so you need to be careful. In case you do, please make sure you follow the directions mentioned below:

Different Ways to Clean Bike Helmet Pads

We know you may not have the time to research how to clean the bike helmets, but we cannot emphasize the need for washing enough. To make it easier for you to find the best method that suits you, we have extensively studied and researched on the subject. Here are some of our findings and suggestions:

#1. Hot water and mild liquid detergent

Some people recommend using hot water instead of cold to kill bacteria and eliminate the stink too. However, we would suggest that you don’t use very hot or boiling water as this can destroy the sponge and make them fall apart. Mix it with a mild liquid detergent and clean it with your hands.

#2. Hand wash using baby shampoo

Take a big plastic box, fill it with water and baby shampoo, Now, submerge the entire helmet into it, or just add the removable pads. Let the pads soak for some time and then clean properly using tap water. It usually takes 24 hours to get completely dry.

#3. Putting in a Mesh bag

To use the washing machine safely, we suggest that you put the entire helmet inside a mesh bag. Now add 30° water and a mild liquid detergent to the washing machine, and clean.

#4. Putting in pillow covers

If you do not have a mesh bag, you may use a pillow cover instead. Just put the pads inside the pillowcase and tie it up in the top loader washing machine to prevent the pads from tearing up. While we recommend air drying the pads, you may also put them in the dryer if you must but make sure to use a low heat setting.

#5. In the shower

For easy-going people like to cut it short and ear the helmet right into the shower to give it a thorough cleanse. The shower gels and shampoos usually do not harm the helmet outer body or inner pads so this can be a good way to save time and clean pads too.

Getting Rid Of The Odor

At times, the odor may get too hard to remove with just water and soap. Even after washing, it may take just a few fresh rides for that stench to come back to haunt you. This works just like body odor, and bacteria cause the sweat to metabolize.

So, if you can still smell that odor, we have a nice household trick to work for you. You will need white vinegar for this to take effect. Mix white vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:10, and use this solution to clean the helmet.

After washing, you may get the smell of vinegar lingering on the helmet but do not worry because this will vanish once the pads dry up.

Tips To Protect Your Helmet From Sweat

Most people will sweat in summer, but there are some people who sweat too much, even in winter, so they need to look for solutions to fix this problem. We have suggested a few tips that can help you reduce the sweating to some extent:

Choose a bike helmet like this that comes with good ventilation to ensure there is a free flow of air through the gaps to prevent you from breaking into too much sweat. 

Avoid using the commuter helmets that are designed for city roads as they usually have poor ventilation. The ones that are designed for mountain roads are much better as they offer good protection with nice ventilation.

If you have the tendency to sweat a lot, we suggest that you use a headscarf or cycling cap that absorbs sweat and moisture to some extent. This will prevent the pads from getting too dirty and stinky.

Identifying When To Replace The Helmet

If you are into mountain biking or use your bike for daily commute, remember that a helmet will not last forever. You must inspect the helmet regularly to check if there are any dents, cuts, or major crack, you must replace them immediately. 

Cleaning your helmet weekly or more often if needed is a good habit to ensure hygiene. Remove the pads and wash them carefully. When cleaning a helmet, inspect the body thoroughly to look for any signs of wear.

If you find any dents on the body or the helmet pads stink even after cleaning repeatedly, maybe it’s time to replace the helmet. Neglecting this may compromise your safety.

See Also:
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How To Tell If Presta Valve Has Removable Core
Bike Helmet Vs Skateboard Helmet – What’s the difference?