Arai technician Joe Ross explains how to keep any motorcycle helmet in tip-top condition, with a few extra tips from BikeSocial’s consumer editor, John Milbank…
Step 1: Ensure the shell is as clean as possible. Not only to keep it looking its best, but also to give you a chance to check it’s undamaged. Arai recommends just plain water – never use a solvent or petro-chemical-based product on any lid. Use one microfibre cloth to gently clean it, then another to dry it.
John’s tip: If there are bugs stuck to your helmet, soak some kitchen roll in water then lay it over – it’ll soften the insects and make them much easier to wipe away without scrubbing.
Step 2: Clean the visor. As with the crash helmet’s shell, ensure any cleaner you use is fully compatible with the material the visor’s made of – typically polycarbonate. Arai recommends Motul Helmet and Visor Clean. First remove the Pinlock anti-fog insert – if there’s one fitted – then give it a good spritz front and back, wipe it with a CLEAN microfibre cloth, then dry it with another.
John’s tip: Always read the instructions that come with your lid – some visors have an anti-fog coating on the inside that needs to be treated with extra care. And don’t forget to clean the drop-down sun shield if your lid has one – any marks will really show up when riding into direct sunlight.
Laying wet kitchen towels over your lid will help remove baked-on bugs
Step 3: Clean the Pinlock. These are hydrophilic, which means they absorb water, so you shouldn’t get them wet. Arai recommends that you use a very soft, dry cloth to gently wipe it clean before clipping it back into the visor.
John’s tip: If you do use a wet cloth to clean your Pinlock, make sure it’s a very soft microfibre, then leave it to dry overnight. Never use anything except water, but the best bet is to use a soft, dry cloth as regularly as possible.
Step 4: Look after the visor mechanism. Keeping the mechanism clean – be it a ratchet or the friction system used by Arai – will keep your visor moving freely. Give it a good clean all over using water or a helmet cleaner like the Motul product, then use a small amount of silicone oil to keep it moving freely.
John’s tip: You’ll likely have got a little bottle of silicone oil with your lid, but you can buy it easily online. Don’t use an aerosol-based product – go for something out of a bottle. You can also wipe a tiny bit on the rubber seals around the visor aperture to help keep them soft.
Using a helmet sanitising spray regularly will help keep your lid fresh
Step 5: Freshen the interior. On Arais, all the interiors are removable, and it’s recommended that you hand wash them every three to six months. If you use an anti-bacterial spray after every ride – like Motul M2 Helmet Interior Clean, it’ll keep the inside a lot fresher for a lot longer.
John’s tip: If your helmet’s interior isn’t removable, you can still clean it – take the visor and everything else off that you can, then sit the lid on a towel in the bath and rinse it using a shower head. Only use a mild product to clean the interior, like a solution of hand-wash soap flakes (I use Johnson’s baby shampoo). Make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed out, then stand the helmet the right way up on a rack over a towel, somewhere that air can easily circulate. DO NOT force dry it over the radiator, and DON’T use a hair-dryer; if the polystyrene interior is damaged your helmet will be ruined.
Step 6: Put it back together. Take your time, and follow the instructions to clip your lid back together and enjoy a more comfortable, fresher ride.
John’s tip: If you have to force anything, you’re doing it wrong. Stop, look carefully, and try again. If you’ve removed the interior, make sure you’ve pulled the strap all the way through the cheek pads, so it’s can’t be loose when fastened.