How to Clean a Motorcycle Helmet and a visor

A motorcycle helmet is a critical piece of safety equipment for any rider. It is designed to protect your head and brain from injury in case of an accident. With regular use, a helmet can get dirty and smelly, which is why it is important to know how to clean it properly. In this article, I have set out for you a guide on how to clean a motorcycle helmet and a visor to keep it clean, fresh, and safe.

Gather your supplies

Before you start cleaning your helmet, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. You will need a bucket of warm water, a soft-bristled brush, and a microfiber cloth. A mild detergent or a helmet cleaner/polish.

Cleaning Material

As for the cleaning materials, I always prefer to use warm water with a mild detergent – Johnson & Johnson baby soap is the best as it’s made for sensitive baby skin and best fits the material of the pads of the helmet. Johnson & Johnson baby soap is the most widely used product in helmet cleaning.

You can also use one of the many motorcycle helmet-cleaning products available on the market. However, note that there are some things you should not use to clean your helmet because they can damage it, including:

  • Solvent-based cleaners such as rubbing alcohol
  • Petroleum distillate cleaners such as mineral spirits
  • Ammonia-based cleaners such as glass cleaner
  • Dish soap

Here are some of the products I’ve used and recommend if you want to use cleaning products: 

MotorexMuc-Off FoamMuc-Off CleanerMotul Helmet Interior CleanerMotul Helmet Cleaner

Motorex



$18.99
Purchase on Amazon

Muc-Off Foam



$9.83
Purchase on Amazon

Muc-Off 219 Helmet, Visor And Goggle Cleaner
$15.89
Purchase on Amazon

Motul Helmet Interior Clean


$25.49
Purchase on Amazon

Motul Helmet Cleaner


$13.48
Purchase on Amazon

Remove any electronics and external accessories

It may seem like a simple and obvious step, but it is often overlooked until it’s too late. Before washing a motorcycle helmet, it’s important to remove any internal electronic accessories, such as microphones, antennas, batteries, and Bluetooth communicator units. If you’re working with a dual-sport or off-road helmet that has a peak, it’s best to remove it and clean it separately for easier access.

Disassemble the helmet

When cleaning a motorcycle helmet, you can either do an easy clean with motorcycle cleaners but if you want to deep-clean the helmet you will need to disassemble it. For the majority of helmets, a visor, a liner, and pads – which are the main parts of the helmet – are removable. Removing these parts makes it easier to effectively clean the motorcycle. After that, you will be left with individual, soft parts of the helmet and an empty shell. All the helmets are different so consult the helmet manual or manufacturer’s instructions when disassembling.

Prepare the helmet for cleaning

This is an essential part to prevent you from scratching the helmet when cleaning. To effectively remove caked-on dirt and bugs, you can soak a microfiber towel in warm soapy water and drape it over the helmet. This will help to gently soften and loosen any stuck-on debris, making it easier to clean later and reducing the risk of scratching the helmet during the cleaning process.

If you want to prevent the bugs  from sticking to your visor, a good idea is to use dryer sheets:

How  to clean the motorcycle helmet shell

By taking out the visor and inner pads, you can easily clean the hard-to-reach areas on the helmet’s shell. It’s important to avoid using any cleaners that contain petroleum-based substances as they can harm the material of the helmet. Instead, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away any dirt. For stubborn dirt in hard-to-reach areas, Dip the soft-bristled brush in the bucket of warm soapy water and gently scrub the exterior of the helmet. Some people like to put the whole helmet shell in soapy water and then rinse it under cold water but I prefer a gentle cleaning to avoid any excess moisture on the inside of the shell. After cleaning, use a fresh microfiber cloth to dry the helmet’s shell. Be sure to avoid any areas that contain electronics or padding.

How to clean motorcycle helmet with matte finish

If you have a helmet with a matte finish, avoid using polish. You can always use a microfiber cloth slightly dumped in warm soapy water or mild detergent. Clean it just like a regular glossy helmet: do it first with a damp cloth, then dry it out with a dry microfiber cloth and let it dry.

There are some products specifically made for matte finish helmets.

Here Sonic shows how to clean a motorcycle helmet using the Chemical Guys Meticulous Matte Detailer

You can also use Matte finish detailer by Cycle Care

How to clean a motorcycle helmet visor

Most helmets come with a removable visor. Before you start washing your helmet, remove the visor and clean it separately. Modern visors are typically equipped with protective coatings, primarily for UV protection and anti-fog purposes. Therefore you should only use warm water when cleaning a motorcycle visor. It’s essential to avoid using any other cleaning agents or products, which could potentially damage or compromise the protective coatings.

If you don’t have access to specialized visor cleaning products, a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water is a good alternative for removing dirt and fingerprints from your visor. It’s important to avoid using window cleaner, as it can damage any coatings on your visor. You can use the same technique with a visor pin-lock (if you do not decide to renew it) if you use one. However, do not remove internal sun visors as they have complex mechanisms that may be challenging to reassemble, and doing so could void warranties.

Set them aside to air dry. It is important for the pin-lock especially as it needs to be completely dry to provide the air-tight environment necessary to prevent fogging.

How to remove scratches from motorcycle helmet visor

When it comes to scratches on a motorcycle helmet visor, my vision is to replace it if the scratches are too serious. You don’t want to compromise on the safety features of the helmet visor by trying to remove scratches.

But if you still want to remove some little scratches on a motorcycle helmet visor, here are some tips from users:

Clean The Interior Of The Helmet

It largely depends on how often you ride or where you live in general (in terms of climate) but I recommend cleaning your liners superficially (using a special deodorant or spray) after every ride and thoroughly washing your motorcycle liners before every season to ensure it maintains well and doesn’t affect your skin.

Place the inner pads and liners in a soap solution and let them soak. Gently press them to ensure the soap penetrates all the impurities. After washing, rinse the pads and liners with clean water, making sure to remove all the soap. Avoid wringing the pads out as this can cause them to lose their shape; instead, gently squeeze out any excess water.

After rinsing, place the pads and liners on a clean and dry towel and let them air dry. You can use a small fan to dry the pads but do not use anything harder and particularly anything with heat, including a hairdryer. It is always better to let them air dry overnight.

Pads and liners are made of very sensitive material that’s why it’s better to wash them by hand but you can wash them in the washing machine on delicate mode using a special sac to prevent them from damaging.

How to clean non-removable helmet liners? 

In most cases, liners can be removed from the helmet to wash them separately but if your motorcycle helmet liners are not removable, you can use a large container filled with warm water and detergent, submerge the helmet in it, and gently. rub the liners with your hands until they’re clean. Rinse well with clean water until all the detergent is removed from the fabric. Pad the liner dry with your hands to remove excess water and leave it to air dry. 

Clean the ventilation system

The ventilation system in a motorcycle helmet is essential for keeping the rider cool and comfortable. To clean the vents, use a small brush or q-tips to remove any debris or dirt buildup. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow out any dirt or debris from the vents.

Polish the helmet

Once the helmet is clean and dry, you can apply a helmet cleaner or polish to give it a shiny finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the product you choose to use. Remember, do not polish your helmet if it comes with a matte finish.

Reassemble the helmet

After cleaning all the parts of the helmet, reassemble it carefully. Make sure that the visor is properly attached and that all the padding is in place. After cleaning, it’s crucial to ensure that you’ve completely dried all the nooks and crannies of the helmet using a microfiber cloth. This step is crucial to prevent any moisture from accumulating inside the helmet, which could cause discomfort, odors, or even compromise the integrity of the helmet over time.

Store the helmet properly

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the integrity of the helmet. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Do not store anything heavy on top of the helmet, as this can damage it.

Finally, cleaning a motorcycle helmet is an essential part of helmet maintenance. A clean helmet not only looks good but also ensures that it performs its safety function effectively. By following these simple steps, you can keep your helmet clean and fresh, extending its lifespan and keeping you safe on the road.

Wearing a balaclava or a beanie under the helmet is a cool idea especially when you live somewhere hot like Florida where sweat can be an issue. Using a dryer sheet after riding can also be effective in terms of absorbing excess sweat.

Of course, there are some quick options as well for urgent situations: