This might seem like a silly post, but trust us, most people don’t know the basics of MX helmet care. We’ve seen harsh chemicals used between motos (contact cleaner is not good for the shell, FYI), liners dried with high heat, and ancient lids that need to be left on the shelf. With this in mind, we asked Benny Tozzi of Bell Powersports for a proper routine.
A helmet is good for five to eight years. But say the helmet was never used, at the eight-year mark the EPS (expanded polystyrene) will start to deteriorate and is no longer able to absorb impact, even if it’s never been worn.
For the average guy that rides every weekend or a few times a month, a helmet should last for three years without an accident. But a crash can destroy a helmet in one use.
You’ll need some kind of soap, degreaser, or even Windex window cleaner, just something that will stick to the dirt and loosen it up. Make sure the dirt is soft and loose because that will keep you from scratching the finish when you use a brush or rag to remove the dirt. Compressed air and microfiber cloths are a must, too.
Remove the interior comfort liner pads and straps, and set them aside for separate washing.
Spray the shell with a soap or degreaser. Set your power washer to a low setting and keep the helmet a safe distance from the wand.
Do not spray into the inside of the helmet at the EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam because this could damage the energy management material on the inside of the helmet. But you can use water, soap, a brush, and even submerge the whole helmet to help cleaning. In fact, you should do this periodically to remove the sweat and salt from the inside.
EPS doesn’t absorb water and there is actually a test where a helmet is submerged in water and then run through an impact test. It’s fine to totally submerge the helmet in water.
You can use silicone products on helmets with a matte finish, but it can take away from the flat appearance of the finish.
You can put the helmet liner in the washing machine and we recommend non-scented detergent. Do not put the liner in the dryer; they need to air-dry in the sun or by a fan.
You can use Sharpie markers or paint pens to touch up the finish of the helmet if it has seen some roost.
If you have a Bell Flex helmet, a red Sharpie marker can be used for touch ups if the finish chips off from roost.