By Lauren Mauldin
Imagine the scene—you’re walking into the barn to get ready for a lesson. When you hacked the day before, your horse was light and responsive which left a big smile on your face. It lasts until you put on your helmet only to find that it’s still wet with sweat from the day before, and smells worse than the saddle pad you’ve been meaning to wash for weeks.
Sweaty helmets can be a problem in any kind of weather. Riders are athletes, and sweat just as much as any runner or basketball player… but our equipment isn’t always the easiest to clean. Humid environments can mean that your helmet never fully dries out, which makes it a breeding ground for bacteria. But how do you fix the problem?
After every ride, I spray the inner lining of my helmet with rubbing alcohol. It’s not only extremely cheap, but can kill growing bacteria. There are even wintergreen varieties that add a pleasant smell, but being diligent with a light mist of alcohol after each use will help smells from beginning to grow to begin with. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin it’s a good idea to take an antibacterial wipe and rub down your helmet’s harness prior to use. This will help prevent breakouts from irritation, dirt and bacteria.
What if your helmet smells okay, but never seems to dry from constant use in humid weather? Keep an eye out for those tiny silica packets. They come in the packaging of many goods and food we buy, but also are available from Amazon at under $10 for a pack of 50. These moisture wicking packets are designed to keep their surroundings dry. A handful tossed in your helmet bag will help it dry out when the weather is extra muggy. You can also store your helmet in open air versus buried under a layer of standing wraps in your tack trunk. Increased airflow will help the drying process.
These quick, inexpensive habits will keep one of the most important pieces of your equipment just as sparkling as the rest of your tack.