Proper maintenance of the cycling helmet, at least as far as I’m concerned, is a big deal. I am hyper-sensitive about keeping my dome cover from getting too funky because nothing can mess up an otherwise good ride than being able to smell the stink emanating from my cycling helmet. For that reason I go to great lengths to keep it smelling as fresh as possible. Technically, I’m overdramatizing that just a wee bit, it’s really not that big a deal. However, I have been experimenting with different soaps and I can share a new one that sticks out above the rest. Now, a new helmet can last up to a month or two without a washing and without stinking – as a noob (and I mean brand noob), I didn’t think to wash the brain bucket out and for a month or two I was just fine letting it dry out… Then, all of a sudden, while out on a 30 miler I noticed a mild but persistent stink that I couldn’t place. When I got home and I took my helmet off, oh dear God did I come to know just how bad a sweaty helmet can stink. It was then that I hit the web to find out how to quash the funkiness.
The secret to keeping my melon protector fresh is washing it after every ride in which I break a sweat. There are those times when it’s cold enough or the training schedule calls for an easy day, so I won’t break a sweat. On these rare days, I can just hang it up in its spot and forget about it. On the other hand, if I sweat I simply take the dome cover into the shower, soap it up, let it sit for 1-2 minutes, rinse it and squeeze out the water from the pads, dry off the top, dab the inside to get most of the water out and hang it to dry overnight.
Now, I’ve tried quite a few soaps though I’ve never bothered with the products that are marketed specifically for the purpose. The non-scented soaps work, but not all that well. Eventually I’ve found that without the scent to knock the odor down, the stink wins. While almost any body soap will work, I mainly use the liquid versions anymore (that’s what my wife buys fellas). Old Spice works quite well, but I happened on a new one lately: Irish Spring Gear. It is, not exaggerating, spectacular.
Now, there is one more small but important piece to this: You must make sure you rinse the soap out completely, otherwise the next time you break a really good sweat, you’ll have soap dripping into your eyes. For this very reason I used to use Johnson & Johnson No More Tears (when my daughters were younger) as that was suggested on another blog. As long as I’m sure to rinse out regular soap, going to that length isn’t necessary (and the J&J didn’t do a very good job of knocking down the stink).