This Is How to Clean a Softball Helmet and Truly Get Rid of the Stench

Last updated on June 28, 2023

That feeling of opening up your bag for a practice or game, only to be met with a gut wrenching odor, isn’t exclusive to softball players. However, softball players do have to deal with a pretty unique predicament because of their helmets, similar to baseball. After a weekend tournament of 4 or more games in the summer heat, the helmet is bound to collect quite a bit of sweat. With the spongey material the interior is often made out of, it can seem impossible to get it clean. Luckily, cleaning your softball helmet is a quick and easy process that will help keep it in good condition and prevent odor.

Understanding the Importance of Clean Softball Gear

Softball is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of gear to play. From gloves to helmets to bats, every piece of softball gear is essential for your safety, health, and performance. However, using dirty gear can lead to several problems that can affect your game, health, and investment. Here’s why it’s important to keep your softball gear clean:


Softball gear can be expensive, and you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Cleaning your gear regularly can help prevent wear and tear, which can save you money in the long run. For example, a dirty helmet can accumulate dirt, sweat, and bacteria that can cause the padding to break down faster. Cleaning your helmet can help keep the padding in good condition, which can extend the life of the helmet.


Dirty softball gear can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can cause skin infections and other health problems. For example, a dirty glove can accumulate sweat and bacteria that can cause skin irritation and even fungal infections.

Cool helmet close up w/coach

Pre-Cleaning Preparation

Before you start cleaning your softball helmet, you need to gather the necessary supplies. You’ll need a soft-bristled brush, a clean rag, warm water, a mild detergent, and a basin to hold the water and detergent mixture.

Before you begin cleaning, check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific cleaning recommendations or warnings. Some helmets may require special care or cleaning products, so it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid damaging the helmet.

Cleaning the Exterior of the Helmet

Softball helmets can get dirty and grimy from regular use. Cleaning your helmet regularly will not only keep it looking new but also extend its lifespan. Here’s how to clean the exterior of your softball helmet:

  1. Start by removing any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the helmet using a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth. Be gentle to avoid scratching the surface of the helmet.
  2. Next, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the surface of the helmet. You can use warm water or a mild soap solution to clean the helmet. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the helmet’s surface.
  3. If there are any stubborn stains or dirt marks on the helmet, you can use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the affected area. Be careful not to scrub too hard as it can damage the surface of the helmet.
  4. Once you have finished cleaning the helmet, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the helmet dry. Make sure to dry the helmet thoroughly to prevent any moisture from getting trapped inside the helmet.

Cleaning the Interior of the Helmet

Cleaning the interior of your softball helmet is essential to keep it free from sweat, bacteria, and odor. A stinky helmet can make your game uncomfortable and also affect your performance. Here are a few steps to clean the interior of your helmet effectively:

  1. Remove the padding: The first step to cleaning the interior of your helmet is to remove the padding. Most helmets have removable padding that you can take out and wash separately. If your helmet doesn’t have removable padding, you can clean it while it’s still inside the helmet.
  2. Use a clean cloth: Use a clean cloth to wipe the interior of the helmet. Make sure the cloth is damp, but not too wet. You can also use a magic eraser to remove any stubborn stains or dirt.
  3. Use a mild soap: If the interior of your helmet is particularly dirty, you can use a mild soap to clean it. Mix a small amount of soap with water and use a clean cloth to wipe the interior of the helmet.
  4. Wipe down the cage: Softball helmets have a cage to protect your face, that can often get dirty. Be sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth or soapy water.
  5. Let it dry: After you’ve cleaned the interior of the helmet, let it dry completely before putting the padding back in. You can leave it out in the sun or use a fan to speed up the drying process.
  6. Wash the padding: The padding is what holds a majority of the odor. Make sure to wash the padding with soap and water and let air dry fully.
  7. Replace the padding: Once the interior of the helmet is dry, replace the padding. Make sure it’s fitted properly and securely.
Youth Sliding Close Up

Deodorizing the Helmet

After cleaning your softball helmet, it’s important to deodorize it to keep it smelling fresh. Here are some tips to help you deodorize your helmet:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great natural deodorizer that can help eliminate odors from your helmet. To use baking soda, follow these steps:

  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your helmet.
  2. Leave the baking soda in your helmet for several hours or overnight.
  3. Shake out the excess baking soda and wipe the inside of your helmet with a damp cloth.

Air Freshener

Almost everyone’s got a bottle of air freshener lying around somewhere in their house. This is a great way to deodorize your helmet, but keep in mind that you may have to apply more often as they aren’t always the longest lasting. It might be beneficial to keep an extra bottle in your bag to spray your equipment before putting it away.

Storing the Helmet Properly

After cleaning your softball helmet, it is essential to store it correctly to ensure it maintains its shape and lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to store your helmet properly:

  • Keep it dry: Moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can damage your helmet. Make sure your helmet is completely dry before storing it. If it’s still wet, use a dry towel to remove any excess moisture.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place: Avoid storing your helmet in a hot or humid area, such as a car trunk or garage. Instead, store it in a cool, dry place, such as a closet or equipment bag. This will help prevent mold and mildew from growing on your helmet.
  • Avoid stacking heavy objects on top of your helmet: Stacking heavy objects on top of your helmet can cause it to lose its shape. Instead, store your helmet on a shelf or in a helmet bag.


Cleaning your softball helmet is an essential task that should be done regularly. A clean helmet will not only look better, but it will also help to keep you safe on the field. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when cleaning your softball helmet:

  • Use a mild detergent or helmet cleaner to avoid damaging the helmet’s shell or padding.
  • Avoid using abrasive materials like steel wool or scrub brushes that could scratch the helmet’s surface.
  • Clean the helmet’s exterior, interior, and padding to remove dirt, sweat, and bacteria that could cause odors or infections.
  • Allow the helmet to air dry completely before storing it to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Inspect the helmet regularly for signs of wear or damage, and replace it if necessary to ensure proper protection.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your softball helmet clean and in good condition for many seasons to come. Remember, a clean helmet is a safe helmet and can help prevent injury, so don’t neglect this important aspect of your softball gear maintenance.

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