Let us sing a song of praise to our motorcycle helmets! Their primary purpose is to sacrifice themselves to protect our noggins. When you bang your head, their outer shell crushes to spread out and lessen the force of the impact before the soft EPS liner compresses to mitigate G-forces before they reach your delicate brain. But that’s not all helmets do. They protect you from abrasion in a slide, keeping your face pretty, and they absorb all manner of small impacts from juicy or stinging bugs to pebbles that your riding buddy’s sticky rear tire kicks up to face level. On the inside, their padding helps keep you comfortable by wicking away sweat while doing its best to limit noise and protect your hearing.
All of this means that you need to care for the lid that cares for you. The exterior should be cleaned and polished regularly. Special care should be taken on the delicate surfaces, particularly the visor. The interior has its own set of needs. The intimate contact it has with your face and scalp means that the liner absorbs your oils and sweat, leading to the dreaded helmet funk. However, with a little love, you can keep your helmet looking and smelling great for years, extending the useful life of the most important – and often most expensive – pieces of protective gear many motorcyclists own.
The key ingredient for removing hardened bug impacts and other goo is a wet soapy cloth and patience. Soak and soften. Wipe clean. Repeat until the bugs are gone.
When it comes to your helmet’s exterior, there are two levels of cleaning. The first is a quick post-ride cleaning/wipe down. The second, we’ll call a deep cleaning that you do a couple of times a season.