Plenty of dedicated helmet and visor cleaning products will do a great job. But you can get brilliant results without splashing out on a specific kit.
Going old school
If you’ve left a lid coated in dead bugs for a while, this old-school technique is a good starting point for recovering the situation. Soak sheets of kitchen paper in water and drape them over the shell and visor. This will soften up the bugs and make them a cinch to wipe off. Leave the wet sheets on for around half an hour then use them to wipe the lid clear of the bug corpses.
The visor will want cleaning inside and out, so follow the instructions for popping it off the helmet. If there’s a Pinlock insert, free it from its retaining pins and set it aside. Squirt some hand soap on the visor and use a wet hand to lather up the visor. Using a hand means you’ll feel any debris on the visor and can stop rubbing it into the surface and causing scratches. Rinse the visor and leave it to air dry.
Go for the shell
Repeat the process for the outer shell of the helmet. Use hand soap to get it into a lather and clean it up. If you’ve got bits of dead bug stuck in your vents then a cotton bud should reach inside and hook them out. Rinse it when you’re done, leave it to dry for a while then wipe down helmet and visor until they’re free of streaks.
If you’ve taken the Pinlock out, now is a good time to ‘recharge’ it by rinsing it under the cold tap and shaking off excess water before wiping it down with a clean cloth. Doing this clears out the microscopic holes in the surface of the insert, which let it do its job.
How is the lining standing up? If it’s a bit ponky then now could be the time to wash it. Assuming your lining can be removed, free the press studs that are holding it in place. You’ll usually find three on each cheekpad – top, middle and rear – and two rear press studs on the skullcap, as well as a securing strip near the forehead.
Once the lining is out, run it through a cool wash (30°C) and leave it to dry on the line before refitting it into the lid. If you’re not planning on riding straight away, do the decent thing and put the lid back in its bag to protect it from dust – and save yourself the trouble of having to go through this again for a while.
Lining won’t come out?
Most recent helmets have removable comfort linings, but some still have one that’s fixed in place. You can still wash the lining, but it involves more hassle. Open the helmet’s vents and place it upside down in the bath or shower, using a wet towel to protect the shell from the hard surface. Wet the lining thoroughly, wash it with baby shampoo and rinse until there are no suds. Squeeze out as much water as you can by hand and hang the helmet on the washing line to dry.
Now maintain it!
Once it’s been given the full clean you can stay on top of the duties with a kit such as this one from sDoc100 or this Motul cleaner and a microfibre cloth. If you’re travelling and want a simple visor cleaner, the popular V2 Sponge is excellent, will last for all but the most extravagant trip and takes up hardly any space in a bag.