The Daily Helmet: How To Clean And Polish Your Display Helmets
So your collection has grown and you have all of your favorite helmets displayed in you cave or Sports Lair. Everything looks great, but you will find that within days the beautiful, shiny helmet has collected a layer of dust. Unless you or your maid dust daily, dust is hard to avoid, but there are things you can do to lessen the amount of dust that collects on your collection. The helmets in my collection is 99% refurbished helmets that I painted and applied decals to myself, but the below techniques will work for both custom DIY helmets, retail or game used helmets, mini and even pocket pro!. If your helmet has autographs you will want to be careful, but most polishes will not remove the signature. Also, if you are looking to refurbish your helmet take a look back at my previous post on how to repair or paint the finish of the helmet. Disclaimer: As with anything, use all techniques below at your own discretion and always test on an inconspicuous area before trying on your specific item.
Fixing Your Decals
One thing you might notice if your helmets have been on display for a period of time is that some of the decals may have started to peel or come loose. This can be especially true if it is a custom helmet that has decals or stripes that you found on eBay or other places that may have been manufactured with inferior materials or equipment. Sometimes I will have adhesion issues right away with the decals I find on ebay so it can be expected after a number of years. This is less common with higher quality decals or factory retail helmets, but eventually the glue on any decal can dry out and start to peel depending on the climate and where you store your hemet. When I originally apply my decals I always use heat to make sure the glue is activated before I put them on the helmet. A common hair dryer will work for this and really helps the decals adhere when you first apply. This is also the case later on when you may see some issues with the decals. With a little heat applied with the hair dryer to the decals and using a rag or a towel to press them down you should be able to reactivate the glue and get them to stick again. In some cases though, the decal will become too dry or the glue will be covered in dust and you will either have to apply glue or find replacement decals. If your decals are still looking good it is time to polish you helmet.
One easy way to get your helmets to shine is with spray wax. This stuff is mostly made for lazy people to quickly wax their car after a wash, but it is also a quick way to remove the dust and bring back some of the shine. There are tons of different brands and types of spray wax. Check out your local car parts store or Walmart and try some different ones to see which ones get you the most shine. You can also use actual wax, the kind that comes in the little tin. Just apply (be careful around the edge of the decals). let it get that haze and then using a little elbow grease, polish your helmet until you get the desired shine.
Furniture Polish Sprays Pledge/Endust
One of the more familiar smells associated with cleaning the house is the sweet lemon fragrance of the can of Pledge furniture spray. Pledge, Endust and other generic version of these sprays contain a silicone that will coat whatever you are using it on and that in theory will help prevent dust going forward. Because it contains a silicone, it is not really meant for repeated use on you coffee table or other furniture because it can leaf a unwanted residue. The spray though, is really great for other applications like car bumpers (easier to remove dead insects when applied), dashboards and car interiors, stainless steel and lots of other things. This is also true for helmets. As a one time or occasional application you can use the furniture spray to get a nice shine on your helmet and this will also protect it from dust. Then when your next cleaning comes you will be able to easily remove the dust with just a towel or a little spray wax. I like to use the furniture spray to clean up an old mask and get it to shine. If you are going to use the spray, do not directly apply it to your helmet. Spray a small amount on to a rag or towel then apply a thin layer. A little will go a long way and you should not have to apply again.
Helmet Polish: There are several products that are sold specifically to polish and clean helmets. They are quite expensive and are mostly used for helmets that are still being used in actual games. One type is Pro Prep and promises to not damage the shell and void the warranty.
DW-40: Some swear by DW-40 as a way to get rid of scuffs and other marking. I have never tried it on a completed helmet, so I can’t recommend either way.
Future Floor Wax: Years ago I read that NFL teams swore by a product called Future Floor wax to give their gameday helmets that mirror finish and shine as well as help protect the clear coat. Unfortunately, that specific wax is not sold anymore, but from what I can gather is now owned by Pledge and can still be bought. Like the furniture polish, this would only periodically be used or maybe just one time then you can just clean with a rag after that. I have not tried this product yet, either, but may give it a shot at some point.