How to Clean Horse Riding Helmets Effectively

How to clean your horse riding helmet is an important question every equestrian must consider. How to clean non removable helmet liner? How to wash helmet padding? How to clean the inside of a riding helmet?

A clean helmet is very important for your safety, after all!

Regularly cleaning a helmet improves its longevity and also lets you inspect it for dents, scratches, or bumps so you can discard a heavily damaged helmet and keep yourself safe in the saddle.

In this guide, we will tell you exactly how to do it the right way, so let’s get started!

Check: The Safest Riding Helmet

Can You Wash Your Horse Riding Helmet?

You can wash your horse riding helmet only if it comes with a removable lining. If it does not, then it is best to only wipe it down with a damp microfiber or vinyl cloth.  

Washing a helmet with non-removable padding/liner could damage it and make it unsafe for riding.

Always use a minimum amount of water to wipe the (non-removable) inner lining.

The best way to clean it is with a damp sponge/cloth and a soft brush. We will cover this in detail in the next section.

dirty horse riding helmets

For the same reason, never put the helmet in a dishwasher or a washing machine. This can completely damage the helmet and, worse, compromise your safety while riding.

If your horse riding helmet has removable pads or lining, then you may soak those in gentle soap solution. You can also use a mild detergent, dishwashing soap, or baby shampoo to soak the pads/lining.  

Once you’ve removed the pads/lining, you can soak the helmet’s shell in water or use a damp cloth to clean caked-in mud or dirt. Next, rinse off the lining and hang it to air dry.

If your helmet is made of fabric or velvet material, do not use the soaking method. Instead, use gentle air pressure to remove dirt or steam the helmet gently over steaming water. This will deodorize the helmet and remove dirt as well.

READ MORE: When Should I Replace My Helmet?

Steps to Follow for Cleaning Horse Riding Helmets

Cleaning your horse riding helmet regularly will prevent it from stinking and also make your riding experience safer. Here are the steps to cleaning horse riding helmets:

Step 1 – Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

You will need the following:

  • Brush
  • Microfiber cloth/sponge/rag
  • Vinegar/helmet deodorizer/dishwashing soap
  • Water
  • Empty spray bottle

Step 2 – Clean the Helmet’s Inner Lining

  • If you are using vinegar or dishwashing soap, dilute it with water using 1:1 ratio. Add this solution in the spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the lining but not the exterior of the helmet.
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wipe the lining dry with a damp cloth.
  • Allow it to air-dry.
  • In case you are using helmet deodorizer, simply follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.

If your helmet has a detachable lining, you can toss it in the washing machine for deep cleaning.

Here is a video tutorial showing you exactly how to clean your horse riding helmet:

Step 3 – Clean the Exterior

  • Use a brush in circular motion to remove caked-in dirt on the outer shell of the helmet.
  • Use a damp rag or sponge to clean the exterior thoroughly if the helmet is made of ABS plastic.
  • For velvet helmets, gently dry-wipe the shell. You may also steam the helmet.

Step 4 – Wipe the Chin Straps

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe the chin straps thoroughly.

 Step 5 – Store the Clean Helmet Safely

  • Store the cleaned helmet in a fabric helmet bag or a hat bag after cleaning it.

Check: Best Kids Horse Riding Helmets

Is there Any Specific Product for Horse Riding Helmet Cleaning?

We recommend the Charles Owen Hat Cleaner. This is a specially-formulated cleaning spray for horse riding hats. It contains a mild detergent that can easily remove ground-in dirt and oil from the inner lining of the helmet.

How Should You Take Care of a Riding Helmet?

 Here are the steps to take care of your equestrian helmet:

pretty lady riding a horse and wearing a helmet

1.      Clean it Regularly

Use the steps above to clean your helmet from time to time.

2.      Replace When Damaged

Most horse riding helmets are single-impact helmets. This means they are rendered unsafe if they fall. In case your helmet falls, replace it. If you notice any dents or scratches, replace the helmet right away too. Never throw your helmet to your parent/friend’s unsuspecting hands or on the track.

You must also replace your helmet if you notice a change in its fit or shape/size, if its chin straps break, or if its padding becomes thin.

Never replace padding material unless it is from the manufacturer.

READ MORE: Riding Hat Sizes Guide

3.      Store it Away From Sunlight

Store the helmet in a helmet bag or hang it in the tack room or grooming bay away from direct sunlight. The harsh UV rays could break down the helmet’s materials.

horse riding helmet and other gears stored away from sunlight

READ MORE: Horse Riding Helmets Safety


How to prevent helmets from smelling?

Use mild Castile soap, dishwashing soap, or diluted vinegar to clean the lining/padding of the helmet. Keep it in a well-ventilated area to air-dry. This should get rid of the sweaty smells. After riding, store the helmet in an airy place away from direct sunlight.

How often to replace a horse riding helmet?

a girl wearing horse riding helmet

The life of a horse riding helmet is 5 years. Replace it right away after this stage is reached. Also replace it after a fall, if it seems warped or swollen, or has changed shape.

How to clean a matte riding helmet?

Use a microfiber cloth or vinyl cloth to clean the outer shell. Remove dirt or stuck-in mud with a soft brush.


How to clean your horse riding helmet is an important question that every equestrian needs to consider.

The best way to do so is to wipe its lining down with a damp cloth. You can also brush off the outer part of the helmet or use a soft cloth. We hope this guide helps you.

lady riding a horse so How To Clean Your Horse Riding Helmet after using?

Do you have more tips on how to clean a horse riding helmet? Please let us know in the comments below!

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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