It’s not something riders talk about much, but funky-smelling helmets can be a bother for anyone who rides in the heat, and the cause is simple perspiration buildup.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make sure that when you hit the road or trail, you smell the flowers, the forest and the clear country air, instead of a locker room.
There are spray-on products that cover up the funkiness with something that’s supposed to smell good but it’s better to eliminate the odor than mask it. The key with whatever you do, though, is to make sure you don’t degrade the protective quality of your helmet.
Probably the best route to go is to simply use soapy water on your helmt’s innards and let it air-dry.
Many helmets, especially ones made for off-road riding, have removable liners, which makes the job easier. But even if the liner isn’t removeable, you can still rinse the inside of the helmet with soapy water. Although air drying is recommended, you can use a blow dryer to speed up the process as long as you keep it on the “cool’” setting. Excess heat could harm the impact-absorbing foam between the liner and the shell.
The liner, which is the fabric-covered layer of the helmet that actually touches your head, isn’t a factor in the helmet’s safety performance. That’s the job of the shell, the strap and the layer of white, Styrofoam-like stuff hidden by the liner. The liner and associated padding is designed only to provide a proper fit and keep you comfortable.
You also may want to consider dropping a fresh-smelling clothes dryer sheet into your helmet between uses.