Game-ready gear: how to clean a football helmet

Cleaning football helmets is essential for maintaining their longevity and ensuring safety during the football season. A football helmet is made to withstand impacts and protect the player’s head, but if they’re not properly maintained, they can become less effective over time.

It’s crucial to know how to clean a football helmet regularly to ensure that it’s in top condition for optimal performance and protection. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to clean a football helmet. By following these steps, you’ll be able to keep your football helmet clean and in top condition in your football gear bag for maximum protection and performance while you play football.

how to clean a football helmet

Supplies needed for cleaning a football helmet

Before you begin cleaning your football helmet, it’s essential to gather all the necessary cleaning supplies.

Here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • Mild dish soap or helmet cleaner
  • Warm water/cold water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Microfiber towel or soft cloth
  • Bucket
  • Abrasive cleaning pads

Getting the helmet ready for cleaning

It is critical to prepare your football helmet for cleaning before you begin washing it. Below are the actions to take.

Removing any excess rubble or dust

Preparing the helmet for washing is an essential step that should not be overlooked. By removing any excess rubble or dust from the exterior, you’ll be able to get a better view of the areas that require more attention during the cleaning process.

Remember, you shouldn’t store it in dusty places or next to dirty pads or sports equipment.

And if you fail to remove rubble or dust, it can become embedded into the padding, making it more difficult to remove and potentially causing odor or harmful bacteria growth.

Utilize a soft cloth to remove any rubble or dust, skin cells, debris, or grass clippings from the surface area of the helmet.

Inspecting the helmet for any harm

It is also critical to inspect the football helmet for any signs of harm. Even if the helmet appears to be in good shape, it should be properly inspected for evidence of harm such as fractures, scratches, or loose padding. Any harm done to the helmet may threaten its structural integrity and endanger the individual’s safety.

Examine the helmet for signs of wear and tear, such as fractures, scratches, or loose padding. If you discover any harm, avoid trying to clean the helmet, as this may undermine the structural integrity of the helmet. Instead, get the helmet fixed by an expert or replaced.

How to clean a football helmet shell

Cleansing the helmet shell is an important component of keeping a football helmet in good condition. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the helmet’s exterior over time, making it appear unclean and impairing performance.

Applying a cleaning solution to the shell and football helmet visor

Applying a cleaning agent to the exterior of the helmet shell is the initial phase in cleaning it. When choosing a cleaning solution, use a gentle soapy liquid or a helmet cleaner formulated exclusively to clean football helmets. Stay away from harsh substances or abrasive products, which may harm the finish of the helmet and cause it to wear out quicker.

In a bucket, combine a tiny amount of detergent with warm water to make the cleaning solution.

Apply the solution to the exterior of the helmet shell with a brush with soft bristles.

It’s critical not to apply an excessive amount of cleaning solution, as too much solution may lead to the helmet’s surface weakening over time. When using the solution, begin at the very top of the helmet and proceed to work downwards, making sure it covers all surfaces.

It’s vital to remember that soaking the helmet’s decals in water or exposing them to the harsh residue of the detergent for an extended period of time might cause them to fall off or fade.

Scrubbing the shell with a soft-bristled brush

Following the use of a cleaning agent to the helmet shell, brush the helmet with a brush with soft bristles. A delicate-bristled brush is crucial since it won’t harm or scrape the soft interior surfaces of the helmet.

Scrub the helmet gently with the brush in a looping motion, paying special attention to places where contaminants have accumulated. Avoid applying excessive pressure, as this might cause the helmet’s coating to wear out and reduce overall longevity. Scrub the areas that surround the facemask gently but properly, taking care not to harm the facemask or one of its parts.

While cleaning the helmet, wash your brush in pure water to get rid of any particles or dirt that have built up. This will keep contaminants from reapplying to the surface of the helmet during the washing procedure.

Rinsing off the cleaning solution

To remove the detergent, run warm water/cold water on the helmet with a hose or a faucet. Make sure to carefully wash the helmet, paying special attention to any parts where the detergent could have built up, such as the tiny spaces surrounding the facemask.

After washing the helmet, pat it dry with a soft cloth to remove any extra cold water. Don’t rub the helmet, as this might result in cracks or harm to the finish.

It’s vital to notice that the helmet needs to be totally dry before wearing it again. Any leftover wetness on the helmet might cause it to smell musty or moldy, jeopardizing its safety and hygiene.

Non-removable pads

When it comes to cleaning, non-removable pads attached to a football helmet can be difficult. In this scenario, the detergent has to be sprayed properly to the non-removable pads, and any contaminants should be softly scrubbed away with a brush with soft bristles.

After that, wipe down the helmet with a soft cloth to eliminate all leftover detergent. Allow the helmet to completely dry prior to reusing it. If the non-removable pads get too dirty or damaged, football pads may need to be replaced totally.

Removable pads

Removable pads of a football helmet simplify maintenance and cleanup. The football pads can be detached from the helmet and hand-washed in a light detergent or soap liquid. After properly washing and rinsing the removable pads, these must be let completely air dry prior to reinstalling them back into the helmet.

To prevent dampness or mold from growing, ensure the microfiber pads are fully dried before reconstructing the helmet. If the removable pads get too dirty or harmed, they might need to be replaced.

how to clean a football helmet 4

How to clean a football helmet padding

Although washing the helmet shell is essential for keeping the helmet looking good, disinfecting the helmet padding is critical for keeping the helmet safe and clean.

For cleaning the padding and football helmet chin strap, detach them from the helmet and clean them individually. This section will go over how to wash the padding.

Taking the padding off the helmet

You must first detach the helmet padding and chin strap prior to beginning washing it. The process for removing the padding will vary depending on the specific helmet, but in most cases, the padding can be easily removed by unsnapping or unhooking it from the helmet’s shell.

Once you have removed the padding from the helmet, take a moment to inspect it for any damage or wear. If the padding is damaged, it may need to be replaced, as damaged padding can compromise the helmet’s safety.

Once you have inspected the padding and identified the type of padding, you can move on to the next step, applying the cleaning solution. By removing the padding from the helmet and inspecting it for damage or wear, you can ensure that you are properly cleaning and caring for your helmet padding, helping to extend the life of your helmet and maintain its safety.

Applying cleaning solution

After removing the padding from the helmet and inspecting it for damage, the next step is to apply the cleaning solution.

Like with the helmet shell, you’ll want to use a gentle cleaning solution that won’t damage or deteriorate the padding.

One effective cleaning solution is a mixture of mild detergent and water. You can also use a specialized helmet cleaning solution, which is designed specifically for cleaning helmet padding and can be found at sporting goods stores or online.

To apply the cleaning solution, dampen a soft-bristled brush with the solution and gently apply it to the padding. Be sure to avoid using too much water, as excess moisture can damage the padding or cause it to lose its shape.

Scrubbing the padding with a soft-bristled brush

After applying the cleaning solution to the padding, use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the padding. Be sure to work the brush into the crevices of the padding, where sweat and bacteria can accumulate.

When scrubbing the padding, be gentle and avoid using too much force, as this can damage the padding or cause it to lose its shape. Instead, use light, circular motions to work the cleaning solution into the padding.

Rinsing off the cleaning solution

Once you have finished scrubbing the padding, rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm or cold water to remove any leftover cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse the padding thoroughly, as any leftover cleaning solution can cause irritation or skin reactions.

By applying a gentle cleaning solution and scrubbing the padding with a soft-bristled brush or a soft cloth, you can effectively remove dirt, sweat, and bacteria from the helmet padding, leaving it clean, fresh, and safe to use.

Drying and reassembling the helmet

Now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned both the helmet shell and padding, the next step is to dry and reassemble the helmet. Properly drying and reassembling the helmet is important to ensure that it remains safe to use and that it maintains its shape and fit.

Drying the helmet shell and padding

After cleaning the helmet shell and padding, drying them is crucial to prevent any potential mold or mildew growth, which can lead to unpleasant odors and health hazards.

The helmet shell can be dried by using a soft cloth to wipe away any excess water on its surface. Then, you should leave the helmet sitting upright to air dry in a cool and dry place. Avoid exposing the helmet shell to direct sunlight, as it can cause fading or deformities.

The padding, on the other hand, requires more attention to ensure it is dried thoroughly. After removing excess water using a towel, place the padding on a flat surface and gently press down to absorb any remaining moisture. Then, leave the padding in a well-ventilated area to air dry completely. It is important to ensure that the padding is entirely dry before reassembling it, as any leftover moisture can encourage mold growth.

If the weather is humid or rainy, using a fan or dehumidifier can speed up the drying process. However, avoid using a high heat setting on the fan or placing the padding in a clothes dryer, as it can cause the padding to shrink, deform, or become brittle.

Once both the helmet shell and padding are completely dry, they should be inspected for any signs of damage or deformity. If any defects are detected, the helmet should be replaced or repaired before using it again. By taking the time to properly dry the helmet shell and padding, you can extend the lifespan of the helmet and ensure its safety for future use.

how to clean a football helmet 3

Reassembling the helmet

After the helmet shell and padding have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, it’s time to reassemble the helmet. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, ensure that the shell and padding are completely dry and free from any dust or debris.
  2. Next, carefully insert the padding back into the helmet shell, making sure that it fits snugly and securely. If the padding has any Velcro attachments, ensure that they are aligned correctly and attached securely to the helmet shell.
  3. Once the padding is in place, reattach any additional components such as the chin strap or face mask. Ensure that all attachments are tightened securely and that the helmet is well-fitted to the head to provide maximum protection.
  4. Finally, give the helmet a thorough inspection to ensure that everything is in good working order. Check for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracks or dents, and replace the helmet if necessary.

By taking the time to reassemble the helmet properly, you can ensure that it is safe and ready for use in the next football game or practice. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for proper helmet care and maintenance to ensure its longevity and continued protection.

Optional steps

While cleaning and drying your football helmet is essential for maintaining its longevity and protecting your head during the game, there are additional optional steps you can take to further improve its condition.

In this section, we’ll explore two of these optional steps: applying helmet deodorizer and conditioner.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your helmet not only looks and feels clean but also smells fresh and is in top-notch condition for the next game or practice.

Applying helmet deodorizer

If your football helmet has a persistent odor, even after cleaning, it may be time to apply a helmet deodorizer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a helmet deodorizer spray or powder that is specifically designed to clean football helmets. Avoid using household or generic deodorizers, as they may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the helmet shell or padding.
  2. Remove any excess dirt or debris from the helmet shell and padding.
  3. Shake the deodorizer spray or powder well before use.
  4. Spray or sprinkle the deodorizer inside the helmet, focusing on the areas that come into contact with your head. If using a spray, hold the can a few inches away from the helmet to ensure even coverage.
  5. Allow the deodorizer to dry completely before wearing the helmet again.

Applying helmet conditioner

If you want to keep your football helmet in top-notch condition, consider applying a helmet conditioner. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a helmet conditioner that is specifically designed for football helmets. Avoid using household or generic conditioners, as they may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the helmet shell or padding.
  2. Remove any excess dirt or debris from the helmet shell and padding.
  3. Apply a small amount of conditioner to a clean, soft cloth.
  4. Gently rub the conditioner into the helmet shell, using circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or scrub too hard, as this can damage the helmet.
  5. Once the shell is coated in the conditioner, wipe off any excess with a clean, dry cloth.
  6. Apply a small amount of conditioner to the helmet padding, using the same gentle circular motions.
  7. Allow the conditioner to dry completely before wearing the helmet again.

By following these optional steps, you can ensure that your football helmet stays in top-notch condition and continues to protect your head during the game.

how to clean a football helmet 2

Final words

In conclusion, cleaning your sports equipment is an essential part of maintaining its longevity and protecting you during the football season. Cleaning football equipment improves its condition. By cleaning football helmets, you’re not only protecting yourself on the field but also ensuring that your equipment lasts for as long as possible.


In this section, we will address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the cleaning and maintenance of football helmets.

What can you use to clean a football helmet?

To clean the football helmet shell and padding, it is advisable to utilize mild soap or detergent, warm water, and a brush with soft bristles. It is best to steer clear of rough cleaning tools or harsh chemicals that may potentially harm the helmet’s materials.

How do you clean a dirty football helmet?

When cleaning a soiled football helmet, first eliminate any remaining dirt or debris and check for signs of damage. Then, apply a cleaning solution to the helmet’s shell and padding, carefully scrubbing with a brush that has gentle bristles. Rinse off the cleaning solution and allow the helmet to dry entirely before putting it back together.

Can I spray Lysol in football helmet?

It is discouraged to use a disinfectant spray, such as Lysol Disinfectant spray, directly onto a football helmet. A disinfectant spray can cause chemical harm to the materials and weakening of the helmet’s structural integrity. Instead, it is suggested that you use warm soapy water or detergent to clean the helmet and allow it to air dry entirely before using it once more.

How often should I clean football equipment and football body pads?

Cleaning football equipment and football body pads, like football shoulder pads, is an important aspect of maintaining hygiene and safety on the field. Football equipment, including helmets, football shoulder pads, and other protective gear, can become dirty and smelly from sweat, skin cells, and stubborn bacteria buildup.

The frequency at which you clean your football equipment depends on how often you use it. For example, if you play football every day, you may need to clean your football equipment like shoulder pads more often than someone who only plays once a week.

As a general rule, it is recommended to clean football equipment, including helmet or shoulder pads, at least once a week to maintain its hygiene and prolong the lifespan of your football equipment. To clean football equipment, both helmet and shoulder pads, use a mild soap or detergent and warm water.

If you need to read about how to clean football equipment, please read our article.

Robert Miles

I have an immense love for fast motorcycling and a deep passion for motorcycles. With a decade-long involvement in motorsport, I have experienced thrilling adventures and have had the opportunity to explore various aspects of this exciting world.

Leave a Comment