Cleaning Crash Helmets Part 2: The Lining

cleaning-your-crash-helmet-part-2 featured

In part 1 we looked at cleaning the visor and external shell of your crash helmets. In this part, we have a look at how to clean the inside. Road muck, rain, blasted grit and dirt, sweat, tears – you name it and it can end up dribbling over your face and into your helmet lining. I’m not into cleaning for cleaning’s sake but we’ll all probably want to clean the inside of our helmet from time to time. I myself tend to clean it at least once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not 😉

So here’s a quick guide on how to clean the lining of your crash helmet.

Removable linings
Most helmets – notably those that cost a little more – have removable linings. Which is nice and handy because it makes cleaning them really simple. You can either hand wash the lining in a bowl of warm water and use some baby shampoo (baby shampoo because it doesn’t contain conditioner). Or, you can put it in the washing machine on the delicates (tepid) setting. But always read the manufacturers instructions before you do, just to be on the safe side. Rinse, hang dry (not tumble) and it’s job done.

Non-removable linings
Older helmets have fixed linings (like my ancient Shoei XR-800 in the photos), meaning you can’t remove the linings to clean them. So you have one option – to dunk the helmet in water and clean them in place! Remove the visor and anything else that might be removable – such as a breath guard or cheek pads – and clean them as above. For the rest – the non-removable part – fill a bowl with warm (not hot) water. This can be just water with a bit of washing up liquid, or you could again use baby shampoo.

cleaning crash helmets warm water
Dunk the helmet in soapy warm water

Give it a good dunk, use a sponge and swill the water around the inside. Use the sponge to squirt the water into the innermost corners – don’t get too physical with it but let the water do the work. You can then use a shower head to rinse out the cleaning water and get all the shampoo out. Make sure you get as much soapy water out as possible so plenty of clean water here.

Leave the helmet to dry naturally and don’t use any artificial drying tools such as hair dryers on it. Dry it somewhere with a bit of ventilation – it will probably take at least 48 hours so leave plenty of time for drying otherwise you might find yourself with a soggy bonce.

drying crash helmets in the sink
Let your crash helmet drip dry before finding somewhere warm and well ventilated

Because the inside of the helmet is well insulated, you might find it takes 3 or 4 days to dry. I put mine upside down on top of a heating boiler (nice and warm but not too boiling) but the heat barely permeated through to the insides because it was so well insulated! So be patient.

If you want a bit of further reading – here’s a link to cleaning instructions on the FAQ area of the Shoei website: Shoei Helmet cleaning instructions. Also, don’t forget to check out how to clean the visor and external shell of crash helmets in part one of our guide.

Here’s also a video by the Arai importer on how to clean Arai helmets.


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