How to Clean Motorcycle Helmet : [Step by Step Guide]

How to Clean Motorcycle Helmet : [Step by Step Guide]

Like every other riding gear, motorcycle helmets pick up dirt and grime on the road. Apart from the need to maintain personal hygiene, not cleaning your helmet regularly can reduce its ability to protect you.

Although motorcycle helmets aren’t particularly difficult to clean, you’ll still need some pointers to help clean them effectively. I’ve been cleaning my helmet for the past 15 years and I’m happy to share all I know about cleaning motorcycle helmets with you. 

Read on to find out how to clean motorcycle helmets. 

What Is the Most Efficient Way to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet?

The most efficient way to clean a motorcycle helmet is to use a mild soap solution and water. Gently scrub the helmet with a soft cloth and pay extra attention to any heavily soiled areas. Rinse the helmet thoroughly with water to remove all soap residue and let it air dry completely before using it again. 

What Is the Most Efficient Way to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet

When shopping for a cleaner, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners like ammonia, sandpaper, bleaches, or baking soda. They can damage the helmet’s surface and affect its protective capabilities. 

How to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet Properly: Step-by-step explanation

If you want to clean your motorcycle helmet properly, there are a few steps you need to follow. But before going into the steps, let’s take a look at the materials you need to clean your motorcycle helmet:

Materials Needed

  • Mild soap: A gentle dish soap, castile soap, shampoo, or liquid soap that is free of harsh chemicals and abrasives.
  • Soft cloth or sponge: To avoid damaging the helmet’s surface, you’ll need a soft cloth or sponge to apply the soap solution and scrub the helmet.
  • Bucket or sink: To mix the soap solution and rinse the helmet.
  • Warm water: To mix with the soap and rinse the helmet.
  • Soft brush: To remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the helmet’s surface before cleaning.
  • Helmet conditioner (optional): To keep the helmet’s surface soft and flexible after cleaning.
  • Well-ventilated area: To allow the helmet to air dry completely after cleaning.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a motorcycle helmet and how to clean motorcycle visor properly:

Step 1: Remove any loose dirt or debris: 

Dirty Motorcycle Helmet

Before cleaning the helmet, use a soft brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris that may be on the helmet’s surface. This will make the cleaning process much easier and prevent scratching.

Step 2: Mix soap solution

Fill the bucket or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap. You can use mild soaps like dish soap, shampoo, castile or liquid soap. Stir the solution until suds form. While mixing the water and soap, be careful not to use too much soap.

This can leave a residue on the helmet and make it feel like you’re trying to clean it with soap that’s been sitting in the bottle for 10 years.

Step 3: Gently scrub the helmet

Scrubbing the helmet with sponge

Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrub the helmet. Be sure to pay extra attention to any heavily soiled areas. Scrub gently just like you would when scrubbing a newborn baby. Using excessive pressure can damage the helmet’s surface.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly

After scrubbing the helmet, rinse it thoroughly with warm water to remove all soap residue. Make sure to rinse the entire helmet, including all crevices, to prevent any soap from remaining on the surface.

Step 5: Air dry

Once the helmet is thoroughly rinsed, allow it to air dry completely before using it again. Do not use a towel or cloth to dry the helmet. This can leave lint or residue. Instead, place the helmet in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight and let it air dry completely. This will help prevent any moisture from building up inside the helmet and causing mildew or mold. 

Step 6: Condition the helmet (optional):

If desired, you can use a helmet conditioner to keep the helmet’s surface soft and flexible. Simply apply a small amount of conditioner to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the helmet’s surface, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help keep the helmet in top condition and prevent any cracks or damage from occurring. 

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Your Motorcycle Helmet

While cleaning a motorcycle helmet is pretty straightforward, you can easily damage it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are some of the things you should avoid when cleaning your motorcycle helmet:

Avoid using harsh chemicals

When cleaning your helmet, it’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, or solvents. These chemicals can damage the helmet’s surface, straps, and padding. They damage motorcycle helmets because they can break down the materials used in the helmet’s construction. 

Harsh cleaning chemicals

For example, they can dissolve the glue holding the helmet together, weaken the plastic and fibers in the helmet, or cause the helmet to become brittle and lose its structural integrity.

Also, these chemicals can cause discoloration, fading, and cracks in the helmet, making it less effective in protecting the rider in the event of an accident. Hence, you should opt for a gentle soap and water or a specialized helmet cleaner.

Avoid using abrasive materials

Another thing to avoid while cleaning your motorcycle helmet is abrasive materials. Abrasive materials like steel wool or sandpaper have rough particles that can remove or damage the protective surface layer of the helmet, leaving behind scratches and scuffs.

This can compromise the integrity of the helmet and reduce its ability to protect the wearer during a crash. Therefore, you should use a soft cloth or sponge when cleaning the helmet.

Don’t expose the helmet to high heat

High heat sources such as direct sunlight or a hair dryer can cause the helmet’s material to weaken. This is due to the thermal expansion and contraction of the materials used in the helmet. When the materials are exposed to high temperatures, they expand, and when they cool, they contract. 

Motorcycle Helmet kept under sun

This repeated expansion and contraction can cause the helmet to deform and weaken over time, reducing its ability to protect the wearer during an impact. Also, high heat can cause the materials to lose their strength and become brittle, increasing the risk of cracking or breaking during a collision. 

Hence, it’s important to keep the helmet in a cool, dry place to prevent damage. And properly care for them according to the manufacturer’s instructions

Avoid using oils or petroleum-based products

Oils and petroleum-based products can cause the helmet’s material to degrade. This is because they contain chemicals that can break down and weaken the structure of the materials over time. This makes the helmet less effective in absorbing impacts. Avoid using these products when cleaning or storing the helmet.

Avoid washing the helmet too often

Cleaning your helmet is good, but you shouldn’t overdo it. Over-cleaning the helmet can cause the material to become brittle and weaken over time.

Some cleaning agents can strip away the protective coating or penetrate the surface and cause damage to the material. Also, repeated exposure to cleaning agents and moisture can cause the material to break down and degrade over time, further weakening the helmet.

Clean the helmet only when necessary and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance to avoid these issues. 

Don’t soak the helmet

Soaking the helmet in water can cause the interior padding to become waterlogged. The padding materials which are typically made of foam, absorb and retain water. Soaking the helmet can lead to the padding becoming heavy, losing its shape, and not providing adequate protection.

The water-logged padding can also create a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. Also, the presence of water can cause the helmet’s adhesive materials to break down. This leads to potential deterioration and loss of structural integrity.

Hence, be sure to clean the helmet only with a damp cloth or sponge and allow it to air dry completely before using it again.

Avoid using a pressure washer

A high-pressure stream of water from a pressure washer can cause damage to the helmet’s outer surface and interior padding. The water can penetrate the helmet’s material and force its way into the interior. 

The high pressure of the water stream can also blast away surface materials and erode the helmet’s protective coating, leaving it vulnerable to future impact. Additionally, the water can cause the helmet’s padding to become saturated and break down, reducing its ability to absorb shock. 

Don’t Spray Air Fresheners on Your Helmet

While it’s great that you want your helmet to smell nice, spraying it with an air freshener after washing is a bad idea. Using air fresheners on a helmet can be dangerous because the fresheners often contain chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled.

Spray Air Fresheners

The small, enclosed space inside a helmet traps the chemicals. This makes it difficult for the fumes to dissipate, which can lead to breathing problems and other health issues. 

The oils used in some air fresheners can degrade the materials in the helmet, causing it to deteriorate more quickly or even become damaged. To avoid these problems, it’s best to avoid using air fresheners on helmets.

Don’t drop the helmet

Although cleaning your helmet is a great way to keep it looking fresh and new, you need to be careful not to drop it while doing so. If you do, you could end up with a cracked shell, a broken chin strap, or even a ruined interior lining. 

Let’s face it, a damaged helmet is no fun! Not only does it look terrible, but it also puts your safety at risk. So, if you’re cleaning your helmet, make sure you have a good grip on your helmet and a safe place to set it down.

Don’t be the rider with a helmet that looks like it’s been through a war zone! Keep your helmet in tip-top shape and it’ll keep you protected during all your adventures.

Avoid using the helmet after it has sustained damage

One of the reasons why you should clean your motorcycle helmet is that it gives you the chance to inspect the helmet for damage. So if you do find cracks or any sign of damage while cleaning your helmet, it’s time to trash it. 


Can I use alcohol to clean my helmet?

Yes, you can use alcohol to clean your helmet. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is a commonly used cleaner for helmets and is effective in removing dirt, grease, and grime. However, it’s important to use a mild concentration of IPA (around 70%) and to avoid using it on any painted or decorated surfaces as it may remove or damage the finish. 

How do you clean a helmet without scratching it?

To clean a helmet without scratching it, use a mild soap and water solution and a soft cloth or brush. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, solvents, or rough sponges, as they can damage the surface of the helmet. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. 

Can I use Windex on my motorcycle helmet?

No, we don’t recommend using Windex on a motorcycle helmet. Windex contains ingredients that can damage the surface of the helmet and potentially cause it to become brittle, leading to a reduction in its protective properties. Also, the harsh chemicals in Windex can damage the helmet’s paint and graphics. 

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, keeping your motorcycle helmet spic and span is not only about safety, it’s about style too! Your helmet is your ultimate wingman on the road, so it’s only fitting that it should look its best. 

With a simple cleaning routine using mild soap and water and a soft cloth, you’ll have your helmet shining like new in no time.If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even use baking soda to tackle those stubborn stains. Just remember to be gentle and avoid harsh chemicals that can damage your helmet’s surface. 

Once you’re done, give your helmet a good once over with a soft cloth, and voila! You’ll have a helmet that not only protects you but also turns heads on the road. So go ahead, get creative, and have fun cleaning your helmet, after all, it’s your loyal sidekick on every ride!

Jude Odumamwen

Jude became obsessed with motorcycles after his dad got him a 2007 Suzuki SV650 for his 16th birthday. He's since ridden a few more bikes and made a career out of writing about them. Jude also writes about cars, but his first love runs on two wheels. When he's not writing, he likes to watch movies or read mystery novels.