OXFORD MINT HELMET SANITISER
Oxford’s Mint Helmet Sanitiser can also be used on the fabric inners of shoes and, potentially, gloves and mitts. I’ve found it easy to use and quick to work, although frequent use, especially during hotter periods, has led to greater effectiveness.
Also available in 200ml for £9.99
Pros: Handy and easy to use, quick drying.
Cons: needs frequent use.
The unpleasant truth
Ever experienced that horrible moment when the sweat and dirt that accumulates in your bike helmet is washed out in a heavy bout of rain and runs down your face? I’m ashamed to say that I have, and, if you haven’t you do not want to. Helmet-hygiene may not be at the top of your agenda, but it does matter.
The formula inside the pump-spray bottle is contains a mild biocide, tasked with keeping the inner of “protective equipment” clean, as well as sweet. It is also aimed at motorcyclists, so “protective equipment” includes gloves, shoes, and boots. For the cyclist, the helmet (should you choose to wear one) is the obvious target for its cleansing properties, but I’ve also tested it on shoes and mitts with leather palms – the sort you don’t want to bung in the wash.
Oxford advise that a really dirty helmet is best soaked in soapy water – I’d suggest something mild – and a good rinse. Others suggest that shampoo and a shower are the thing.
However, keep the detergents mild: we do not want to harm adhesives that hold the Velcro that holds the pads in place.
The dispenser is designed to create a foam. There’s also a 200ml version.
Oxford say that it is safe on all materials.
There’s no instruction to shake the bottle, and the foam blobs out without it. It looks profligate, but a good deal of the foam is, of course, air. Coverage is not automatic, so you need to work it in with a clean cloth – or your fingers - to ensure it gets to where you want it to go.
On that front, it is a mild formula; no skin irritation – for me, anyway – or damage to non-fabric helmet inner, if it comes into contact. However, rub it around as work it in as accurately as you can.
On a similar note, I have, without harm, dripped the foam onto my fingers and worked it into the narrow pads of road helmets. OK, you may consider me tight, but it did make for a more accurate and thorough coverage than dropping it straight into the helmet.
I’ve known people strip a bike helmet of padding for washing. I’ve also watched them try and replace it. It wouldn’t make great TV, but, having nothing better to do, it entertained for a good long time.
Oxford suggest “frequent use” of the sanitiser. So, to give it a big challenge, I selected my go-to lid, a Kali Therapy road helmet which I use for commuting as well as longer rides. Fortunately for testing, but very much to my eternal shame, it had not been cleaned for many a long day (in fact, it was this, combined with heavy rain, that prompted the “unpleasant truth”. Well, four treatments on, things are beginning to freshen up, although there is still a way to go. In fairness, the potion is a sanitiser and not a deep cleaner. It does confirm, however, that frequent use is best.
Leaving the stygian gloom of my favourite lid, I used the Mint sanitiser on a variety of others. All were less used. The results were very good, with things freshening up rapidly, after four or five hot weather rides. The pads look, smell, and feel cleaner, and the sweaty odour has been sent packing.
So, frequent use - every week for mile-munchers, perhaps – less frequent depending on your riding: certainly, after a two-week tour. I’ve taken to applying it as a Friday evening activity to mark the last commute of the week – sad, I know.
I’ve tended to generosity when applying, so have tended to leave it overnight, when possible. However, a couple of hours at room temperature should see it dry.
There is a clean, minty aroma. However, it is not prominent. In-soles and fabric linings of shoes have benefitted from a dose. I’d be tempted to carry the 100ml bottle if hostelling on summer tours, or sharing a confined space with others!
Frankly, impact on Passport Crochet Mitts, has been hard to measure, but it has helped cleanliness without resorting to the wash – not desirable with leather palms.
Clearly, the 200ml version offers better value, especially for those with a whole family of bike helmets to keep clean, or who eat miles for breakfast.
Like the Mint, many helmet sanitisers are designed for both motorcycle and cycling helmets. Shift-It Helmet Sanitiser comes in at £7.99 per hundred millilitres, and, in fairness, the difference in performance may well come down to personal preference.
GetGeared cleaner is significantly cheaper, but is, in my
opinion, less suited for cycle helmets as it requires spraying form 20cm. The same is true of aerosol types, since they lack accuracy when aiming for the pads and avoiding the vents!
This may not be a necessity, but potions of this kind can make life much pleasanter. Easy to apply, and certainly quicker to dry than a full wash, there are several potions of this kind on the market. In some ways, I’d like the ‘mintiness’ to be more prominent, but not everyone would appreciate perfumed hair. It is certainly effective, and, for the price, has made cycling a more pleasant experience.