Helmet Storage and Use
When you're not riding, keep your helmet in a temperature-controlled environment such as inside your home or tack room. Never leave your helmet in your car-extreme heat and extreme cold are detrimental to the integrity of shock-absorbing materials comprising the helmet. Even some barn locations are not optimal places to store your helmet as fluctuating temperatures can be detrimental to the materials that comprise the helmet.

If your helmet gets damp inside from perspiration or outside from precipitation, allow it to air dry naturally rather than placing it near an artificial heat source. Various cleaners are available to keep your helmet fresh; see the "Cleaning and Deodorizing Your Helmet" section of this article for more information. Store your helmet between uses in a fabric helmet bag or hat bag that keeps it clean and protected.

Replace your helmet after a fall in which it touches the ground even if it appears undamaged. Helmets are constructed so that the energy of an impact may be absorbed through partial destruction of the helmet. You may not be able to see interior damage that occurred through trauma. Many helmet manufacturers have crash helmet replacement policies that offer you a reduction in cost for a new helmet depending on the age of yours at the time of the incident. Refer to the warranty information that accompanies your particular helmet to determine whether a crash replacement policy exists.

At a minimum, you should also replace your helmet when it turns five years old. Over time, aging helmet materials may degrade from body heat and use, and therefore may not provide the same level of protection as a new helmet would. Additionally, helmet manufacturers are always researching technological improvements that may increase the protective qualities of their helmets-you don't want to miss out on these advances.

Also, if the fit of your helmet becomes loose for any reason, the helmet should be replaced with one that fits properly. Refer to the topic, How to Measure Your Head for a Helmet for help in determining proper fit.

Tip: Avoid spraying the exterior of your helmet with insect repellant or spraying your head with repellant before putting on your helmet. Chemicals in repellants have proven to be detrimental to the integrity of the helmet safety materials.

Cleaning and Deodorizing Your Helmet
Regular weekly cleaning is advisable to reduce accumulated perspiration and grease from your hair, which can create unwanted odors inside your helmet. There are several products to choose from to keep your helmet fresh. Charles Owen Hat Cleaner removes dirt and hair grease from the interior surface of your helmet, while Charles Owen Hat Deodorizer is citrus-scented and removes odor by killing bacteria in the lining. No Sweat Sport Hat and Helmet Refresher is an all natural, antibacterial spray that removes odors by killing the bacteria that causes them. You can also check the warranty information that accompanies any helmet for acceptable cleaners, but never use household cleaners to freshen your helmet. Their harsh chemicals may destroy the effectiveness of the safety materials in the helmet. Similarly, never clean your helmet by running it through a dishwasher cycle.

Many helmet manufacturers, such as Troxel, GPA and IRH, now produce helmets with removable liners that can be washed or replaced. See the Troxel Victory Riding Helmet and the GPA Titium Professional Riding Helmet for examples of removable linings.

About Hairstyles
Your hair may affect the fit of your helmet. If you have long or thick hair that you wear under your helmet, the length of you hair or the way you tie it up may change the way your helmet sits on your head. Try on new helmets with your hair in the style you ride in. If you wear your hair under your helmet, attempt to make your hair as flat to your head as possible when wearing your helmet; many people prefer to use two hair nets to obtain a sufficiently flat, snug fit. The first hair net is tied into the ponytail, and the second hair net holds the ponytail flat to the head. For illustrated how-to details, see Helpful Tips for Hairstyling.

If you twist your ponytail before putting on your helmet, you may create unwanted airspace in the interior of your helmet when in fact you want the helmet to encase your head snugly all around. If you change your hair length, be sure to recheck your helmet fit.

For more assistance or to request a catalog call 1-800-989-1500. Or, stop by any of our retail stores to speak with a Dover Saddlery product adviser. Visit www.DoverSaddlery.com for a complete store listing and the full product offering.

Related Topics:
How to Measure Your Head for a Helmet
Helpful Tips for Hairstyling