1995 Honda PC800, my wannabe Rat bike.
I've bought new helmets because of the stench in the old ones, too. But two and a half years ago, when my one year old Shoei RF1000 smelled to high heaven, I bit the bullet and bought a Shoei X-11 because of its removable liner. I have a thick head of hair and sweat like a pig, and Texas summers make my helmet get very nasty in no time. With the X-11 I remove the liner and cheek pads, and wash them in warm water and shampoo a few times each summer and once in the winter. I let it dry on a towel, reinstall it, and the helmet smells just fine. Now that it doesn't stink, I plan to wear this helmet for its full five year expected life. Even though the X-11 costs quite a bit more than the RF1000, the removable liner will add life to the helmet making it pay for itself.
Former owner of an '03 R1150R
+1 on the shampoo trick. Has worked for me quite well. Use your wife's shampoo if you want a nice little (olfactory) treat while you're riding!! Just be careful if there's something about the smell of her shampoo that makes you "hot and bothered". Don't want any extra distractions while riding...
Another thing I use is Murphy's Oil Soap. It's extremely gentle, won't hurt anything inside your helmet and I really like the smell. After 2 or 3 months of riding most every day I find it's time to lather up the inside of the helmet again.
Enjoy your ride and ride safely.
2000 R1100RT, Opal Blue 87,000 miles
57,000 BMW miles in 6 years
After reading some of the responses I can't help but say washing is the only real way to clean. Would you put your dirty clothes out to air on the deck or put them in cedar chips to clean them? No, of course not (I hope) Helmets get body oils in the fabric and masking them with scents etc. simply is not hygienic. Try washing as my previous post suggests and look at the water before draining, you will be surprised how dirty it is.
It's all about the details.
Wash - Wear.. use WOOLITE or Lysol Laundry detergent... or could use "sham"-poo do NOT use REAL "poo".
edit.. might want to use your shop vac to suck out the excess water...
If you can pull out the liner, that's best....
Of course "SLIKS" or a "do-rag" help, too... minimize "helmet hair"
i have had good luck with the aerostich helmet dog but you do have to set the helmet upside down to keep it in
My Arai, as well as my Nolan N-Com 102 have removable pads which I just wash from time to time
MOA Member #106320A
2003 R1150RT Silver
2008 K1200GT Dark Graphite
1) Regular bathing, including washing your hear, usually helps.
I try to take a bath at least once a month.
Okay. Sorry about that. Couldn't resist.
1) Any of the helmet liners are great and help to cut down on bacteria in the liner. You can just toss them in the washer.
2) You may want to try Motorex Helmet Care:
It consists of an anti-bacterial foam that you rub into the lining and allow it to dry for 24 hours or so.
3) If you have removable cheek pads or liners, you can wash those when the problem pops up. I clean my check pads in the sink and use Motorex every few months.
True to form, though, Hotlanta has a similar Summer to what you guys have out West..except we throw in humidity to life make truly unbearable.
The Motorex / check pad washing has worked well for me for well over a year, but last Summer, even that couldn't get my oh-dear out of my lid. I finally bit the bullet and washed my Shoeii in the tub with shampoo (couldn't afford real poo.) :-)
I was really worried about the drenching, liner hold-up, drying, etc. Surprisingly, the helmet held up and my manly scent was gone.
(I read in Rider a while back that most manufactures suggest that you do a full soak and wash for your helmet every six months or so.)
Twenty years on two wheels.........$1,000 - $30,000 dollars.
That post-ride look of having just crawled out of a ditch after sleeping in it.....Priceless
2000 K1200LT - "Panzer"
1997 Kawi Vulcan 750 - "Mr. Spoc"
The English bike mags say fill it up with soap and water and let it sit for a while and then rinse with plain water. They also say put it in the dishwasher, both work. I live on the south Texas coast ,it is regularly 95 degrees with 100% humidity. Talk about funk! When I soak my helmets a real black funk oozes out of the liners and shell along with the soap. I have been washing them for years and they smell like brand new every time.The shells are made of closed cell foam and the liners are just cloth- soap and water does not hurt anything. My take is, if soap and water is going to degrade anything -what good is the helmet anyway.