How to Wash A Dirty Bicycle Helmet

Founder, Mr. Mamil

The bicycle helmet is the most important safety accessory for every cyclist. There is a saying, take care of your equipment, and they’ll take care of you. This is especially true when it comes to bicycle helmets.

Clean regularly

Give the helmet surface a wipe-down with wet wipes after every ride. This will help maintain its cosmetic appearance, especially if it’s white.

Clean the straps

Many cyclists forget to clean the straps as they’re black, and the dirt is not visible. If you have a helmet with white straps, you’ll notice how fast it can turn yellowish if not cleaned. Wash the straps, especially during summer when you sweat a lot, and use sunscreen.

Remember to choose your helmet colors wisely so you don’t have to worry much about it getting dirty.

Remove the inner pads

You can remove the inner pads for cleaning. Sweat and bacteria tend to accumulate on the inner pads after you’ve worn the helmet for some time. If not cleaned regularly, the helmet will have a smelly odor.

For many models, the inner pads stick onto the helmet shell via Velcros, which is easily removable. Make sure the inner pads are completely dry before reattaching them to the helmet.

Use lukewarm water and mild soap

Your regular hand soap is usually enough. If you’re very particular, a neutral pH soap would be ideal. Make sure to run it under water to wash off the soap.

Air dry

Leave the helmet to air-dry indoors or under the shade. This helps to reduce the UV exposure that the helmet has experienced a lot while you’re out riding.

Don’t put into the washing machine

While it might sound like a silly idea to many cyclists, this still happens from time to time. Having the helmet in the washing machine will damage the shell structurally and impact its safety performance.

It’s OK to wash the inner pads in the washing machine, though.

Helmet manufacturers’ recommendations

Clean the helmet (and sun visor, if applicable) only with water, neutral pH soap, and a soft, clean cloth, and leave it to dry naturally at room temperature. The inner lining should be washed by hand in cold water. If it is removable, it can be removed and washed by hand in cold water or in the washing machine (max. 30°C – 85°F).

In no case use chemical detergents, solvents, petrol, or abrasive powders as they are aggressive and could lower the structural resistance of the helmet and the visor.


Be gentle, helmets are generally made of materials that can be damaged by many commonly-available cleaners. Petroleum-based solvents or cleaners are especially dangerous.

They can damage a helmet so that its protective capabilities are significantly reduced. Many times, this damage is not visible. For best results, clean the helmet using a soft cloth or sponge, warm water and mild soap (such as a mild dish soap).

Allow the helmet to air dry and then store it in a cool, dry place where it won’t get damaged.


If you would like to clean the exterior shell of the helmet, only use a soft cloth and water to wipe the shell. Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your helmet other than a mild dish soap.

Cleaning chemicals other than mild soap and water can compromise the safety of the helmet and voids all warranty coverage.

Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.