How to Clean a Football Helmet

By Sean McCormick

Sweat, dirt and grime contribute to making a football helmet a bacterial breeding ground. Getting players to clean the inside and outside of their helmets on a weekly basis will assist in the prevention of staph and other skin infections. It is important to use cleaning agents that will not cause damage to the helmets and void the manufacturer's warranty.

Cleaning the Outside of the Helmet

Make sure to remove any visible mud and grass which has accumulated on the helmet exterior and the tough-to-reach area between the face mask and the helmet. Take a dry one-inch paintbrush, sticking the bristles between the helmet and face mask to whisk away the remaining dirt. Remove the chin strap. Dampen a cloth with mild dish detergent and hot water. Gently scrub the outside of the helmet and face mask.

Cleaning the Chin Strap

After removing the chin strap from the helmet, slide off the buckles that attach it to the helmet. If there is a chin shield, remove it from the chin strap. Dampen a cloth with the mild cleaning mixture and clean all areas of the chin strap thoroughly. Use a cotton swab to loosen and remove any dirt inside the buckles. Submerge the chin shield in the cleaning solution, rinsing with clean water.

Cleaning the Inside of the Helmet

Detach the parts of the inside that are removable, such as cheek pads, over-liners and comfort pads. Take care when removing these parts that you do not cause damage or void the helmet warranty. Inspect and replace any worn parts. Thoroughly wipe the inside of the helmet with the cloth and cleaning mixture. Do not over-saturate the cloth. Individually clean the removable parts in the same manner.

Finishing Touches

Put the helmet and parts in a suitable area for drying. Placing everything in front of a table fan, for example, will quicken the drying process. Use non-bleach disinfectant cloths to wipe the inside and outside of the helmet, as well as all the removable parts. A mild spray disinfectant may be used as a substitute for the wipes. Carefully put the removable parts back inside the helmet.

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