How to Clean Motorcycle Helmet Pads?

Motorcycle helmets play a crucial role especially when the riders meet with accidents. Accidents are unpredictable and a rider despite being extremely cautious can never guarantee to reach the destination unharmed or without any accident. On the other hand, motorcycles are the first choice of people for transportation both for long and short distances for many reasons.

As per a finding of an Arlington-based insurance agency IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) people purchased as many as 8.6 million motorcycles in the year 2021 alone. Imagine, how many people now might be on the US roads with their motorcycles! Ultimately, the more motorcycles on the roads the more the motorcycle crashes. 

Interestingly, as far as accidents, fatalities, and injuries are concerned, motorcycle accidents are the most devastating in terms of number. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) says 80% of motorcycle crashes result in death or serious injuries in comparison to bus, truck, and car accidents which are 20%. Similarly, as per CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics, 1859 motorcycle riders escaped fatalities from major accidents just because they wore helmets and 802 additional victims could have survived if they wore helmets in 2016.

Therefore, you must have internalized how important motorcycle helmets are in terms of their contribution and advantages if you are a rider. But any rider must not take a helmet for granted and use any helmet that is available in the market. A helmet that is not DOT or SNELL-certified will not provide you enough safety to protect you from crashes and often put in legal complications on the roads.

Clean Motorcycle Helmet Pads

About the Interior Padding of Your Helmet

Many riders think that the stronger is the external shell of the helmet the more is its capacity of protecting the rider. However, this might not be fully correct because all components or every part of a helmet has its role to play while saving a rider in motorcycle crashes. A motorcycle helmet primarily consists of the external or outer shell, the inner shell, interior padding, and the retention system.

Every part of these four components functions in its own capacity to ensure maximum protection for you in an accident. The interior padding of a motorcycle might look just something for comfort but this is an important component of a helmet that not only provides comfort but safety too. Know your helmet’s interior padding and how to clean and take care of your helmet pads below. 

  • Motorcycle helmet interior padding or commonly called helmet pads are important components of the helmet as they fit your head inside the helmet.
  • The interior padding of the helmet comes next to the outer shell of the helmet and in between the outer shell and your head.
  • The helmet pads ensure comfort and safety in a helmet.
  • Helmet pads are usually made out of expanded polystyrene or EPS.
  • The pads in the helmet absorb the intensity of the shock in an accident and keep the head and brain safe.
  • The interior paddings of a helmet usually are removable and you can clean and take care of them by removing and replacing them back. However, if they are not removable or you cannot remove them then there are other ways (look below to know) how to clean them and take care of them.

Why Should You Clean the Pad in Regular Intervals?

Your hair product as well as other cosmetics usually comes in contact with the sweat and dust during trips and creates gunk and bad smell. Eventually, this not only becomes unhygienic but starts damaging your hair and your health as well. You start feeling itching sensations on your head which is often dangerous while riding on busy roads or rough roads. Similarly, oil and other hair products along with the dust and sweat start damaging the pad over time.

Therefore, the interior padding of your helmet needs regular cleaning and it is simple and easy to clean. Interior pads of the helmet come in two types. Some helmets have removable pads whereas some are fixed and cannot be removed. Know how to clean the interior padding of your helmet both removable and non-removable below.

How to Clean the Motorcycle Helmet Pad?

Cleaning the pad of a motorcycle helmet is usually simple and easy but you must take adequate care during cleaning to avoid damage. Besides cleaning, you need to take utmost care while painting your helmet with spray painting or acrylic painting as the solvent in the paint may eat up the foam of the pad. Similarly, you need to be also careful if you are using any cleaner to clean the outer shell that has certain chemicals which may damage the pad. You must strictly avoid the cleaners that contain solvents or ammonia as they will eat up the foam and damage them.

You can clean the removable pads by removing them out and washing them by hand with mild soap and warm water. You can also use baby shampoo to remove the oil, sweat, and dirt that do not clean easily. Soak the pad with baby shampoo for about half an hour and then wash it thoroughly with water. Rinse the pad thoroughly a couple of times to remove the soap and shampoo so that they do not sting your eyes when you ride in hot weather and while sweating. Finally, allow the pad to dry completely under the sun.

Non-removable pads are a bit complicated to wash and they too need adequate care and attention to clean without any damage. You can wash the non-removable pads by using a tab or a bucket. Put the entire helmet into the bucket in foam made out of baby shampoo. Leave the helmet in the foam for about fifteen to twenty minutes to soak. Then remove the grime gently using your finger. Wash thoroughly using clean water again and again and then allow the helmet to dry under the sun.

Precautions and Tips for Perfect Cleaning

Remember, you must never use any dish detergent to clean neither the removable nor the non-removable interior padding of your helmet. You can use your own shampoo if you do not get baby shampoo for the purpose. If the shampoo you use for you is good for you then it should not damage the interior padding of your helmet. Now, how much shampoo to use to clean the pad depends upon how long the pads are not cleaned and how dirty they are. 

Check with the interior clothing liner and see if they are smelling intensely bad. Test the dirt with tissue paper and guess how much shampoo you may have to use for cleaning the dirt. You can also extend the soaking time of the pad as well as the helmet (in the case of a non-removal pad) for maximum removal of dirt and perfect cleaning. Ensure that you use lukewarm water for the perfect cleaning without damaging the interior padding of your helmet. 

Sometimes, you may come across some people who advise not to expose the interior padding to direct sunlight after the wash. They may argue that direct sunlight will fade the padding. However, the paint has no functional attributes in the padding and it does not matter if it even fades. Secondly, you are going to expose it to direct sunlight just for the time until it dries.

How much it may fade within that short period? Things fade if they are regularly exposed to direct sunlight for long durations. Despite this explanation, if you are still hesitant about drying the pads under the sun, you can put them under the fan and dry them with air. You can also dry them in the shade safely but it may take more time for the pads to dry in the shade.

Also read: How to Keep Rain Off Motorcycle Helmet Visor?


The interior padding is one of the important components of your helmet that protects your head as well as the brain in an accident. You can never think of a helmet without interior padding. The interior padding is placed between the exterior or outer shell and your head so that you can comfortably wear the helmet. It also fits the helmet to your head and does not allow the helmet to fall apart during crashes. You need to take care of the interior padding and keep it clean to use it longer pleasantly.

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