It doesn’t take long for cycling to work up a sweat and this can create a smelly helmet. Are there specific ways to clean a bike helmet and can you wash a bike helmet in the dishwasher?
Using a dishwasher to wash your bike helmet is efficient and quick, but you need to be cautious. The chemicals and heat can break down the padding and glue over time. All four pieces of a bike helmet (outer shell, inner foam and padding, and straps) can be put on the top shelf of a dishwasher and washed on a light cycle with regular mild dishwasher soap.
Clothes end up routinely in the washing machine after a bicycle ride or any activity for that matter. Helmets are often forgotten. The sweat that perspires from your head collects in the helmet attracting dirt and bacteria. It is important to wash your bike helmet frequently too. While they can be washed in the dishwasher, there are specific precautions to take.
I have put together this guide to help you keep your helmet clean and clear of bacteria and unpleasant odors. Helmets can be washed in the dishwasher, but it is not something you should do all the time. You need to find the right balance of hand washing and machine washing to keep the helmet intact. You don’t want a smelly helmet, but you don’t want a worn-out helmet either.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Can A Bike Helmet Be Washed In The Dishwasher
The most important thing to remember is that certain chemicals can ruin bike helmets. Your choice of cleaning agent or soap matters more than how you wash the helmet. Along with chemicals, excessive heat can damage a bike helmet. This does not mean you cannot use a dishwasher.
To avoid the heat, the bike helmet needs to be placed on the upper rack and you need to choose a light cycle. You will want to use diluted soap or no soap at all. In most cases dishwasher soap is safe for helmets as it does not contain petroleum-based solvents which can damage the helmet foam. Bicycle helmets of any size can go in the dishwasher.
Be aware of the quality of your helmet before washing in the dishwasher. Cheaper helmets made from cheaper materials may fall apart more easily. The heat within a dishwasher can melt the glue that attaches the outer shell of the helmet, so any cycles need to be short and as low in heat as possible.
Why Clean A Bike Helmet In The Dishwasher
Using a dishwasher to clean your bike helmet is efficient. The heat a dishwasher generates is designed to remove bacteria and grime from your dishes. In the same way it can efficiently clean your bike helmet. You just need to remember to run the helmet on a lighter or shorter cycle. Too much heat at once can warp or melt the glue used to hold the helmet together.
Most of the heat in a dishwasher comes from the steam drying at the end of each cycle. You can avoid this by removing your helmet after the rinse and letting it air dry. By using soap, you can be sure the dishwasher will remove any odors from the helmet. Since you need to use the dishwasher for dishes too, I would advise sticking with dishwashing soap for cleaning the helmet. Adding another detergent can damage the helmet and your dishes in the next cycle.
Using a dishwasher to clean your bike helmet is efficient and quick, but you need to be cautious. The heat can break down the glue over time. Using the dishwasher is a good idea for occasionally cleaning. You will want to wash the helmet by hand more regularly to ensure it lasts a long time. The main disadvantage is that too much heat and water can damage the helmet materials, rendering it ineffective.
Children’s helmets with decals and stickers are also not great for a dishwasher as those will likely peel off quickly after the first rinse. You will enjoy cleaning your bike helmet in a dishwasher because it is quick and easy. But do not do this every time it needs to be cleaned. Soaking the helmet in water for too long can also cause glue to deteriorate, so for more frequent washings, clean the helmet by hand with a rag and warm, soapy water.
How To Wash A Bike Helmet In The Dishwasher
To get a longer lasting helmet and one that is always clean, you should regularly wipe the helmet down with a soapy rag and let it air dry. In some instances, you may feel that a deeper clean is needed and this is when a dishwasher can come in handy. Because a dishwasher is not the standard way to clean a bike helmet, there are precautions to take.
First, you can either leave the helmet in one piece, or if you feel it needs a deeper clean, take the components apart. Bike helmets are typically made of four different parts. While they can all go in the dishwasher for quick rinses, the proper way to wash the pieces is as below.
- The outer shell: This can also be cleaned with a wet rag and diluted soapy water. If there are decals and stickers on the outer shell, it is not recommended that it go in a dishwasher.
- Middle foam: Warm soapy water works best on the foam and a dishwasher is a good place to help remove bacteria. In the dishwasher, be sure to use diluted soap and no detergents that contain petroleum.
- Inner padding: This is removable and can be washed in the dishwasher separate to the other pieces. This needs to be air dried and not allowed to sit in water or steam for extended periods of time.
- Straps: These absorb more sweat than you realize as they directly touch your head. Soapy water is the only way to get these clean. So even after a dishwashing cycle, you may still want to wipe it again with a soapy cloth.
If the helmet is especially dirty, you may want to rinse it first before putting it through the dishwasher. Also, I would not recommend washing the helmet the same time as your dishes.
All four pieces (outer shell, inner foam and padding, and straps) need to be put on the top shelf of the dishwasher. This will keep them from direct contact with heat and water. But because steam rises, there will be enough heat to remove bacteria.
The soap you use can be regular dishwasher soap. Do not use any other detergents or chemicals as these can strip the materials of the outer shell. Certain petroleum-based agents can also react with the foam lining of the helmet, essentially causing it to melt or become deformed. Small amounts of dishwasher detergent or no soap at all are the safest options for cleaning bike helmets in the dishwasher.
You need to choose a light cycle or a short cycle, depending on the dishwasher you have. In some cases, you can choose heat settings, and a medium heat is as high as you want to go. When there are no heat settings, choose a light cycle and rinse. You do not need a dry cycle as the helmet will fare better if air dried. The steam used to dry dishes is very hot and too intense for bike helmet materials.
Only when the bike helmet is very dirty should you pre-rinse it. This will prevent mud and dirt from getting inside the dishwasher. You also never want to clean the helmet at the same time as any dishes. Run the helmet through a cycle on its own and remove to air dry. Be sure you limit how often you do this and aim to clean the helmet more often by hand.
Helpful Tips To Know If A Bike Helmet Can Be Cleaned In The Dishwasher
It can be handy to clean your bike helmet in a dishwasher, but only on occasions. If you are going to use a dishwasher, there are a few helpful tips to remember.
- Do not use special detergent, regular dishwasher soap works best
- Choose light or short cycles only
- Do not wash the helmet at the same time as you are doing dishes.
- If the helmet is covered in dirt, rinse it before putting in the dishwasher
- Always place the helmet on the top shelf.
A bike helmet needs to be washed in the same way as the clothes you wear while cycling. Helmets get dirty and helmets get sweaty. Sweat that is not removed will cause bacteria to grow and odors to develop. Nobody wants this for the bike helmet. To prevent this, you need to wash the helmet frequently.
But this can be a hassle so can you wash a bike helmet in the dishwasher? The quick answer is yes. Just be careful not to do it very often and follow the precautions mentioned in this article. A worn-down helmet is useful, and a smelly helmet is unpleasant. It may not be for everyday use, but a dishwasher can keep your helmet clean so it can keep you safe.