Taking proper care of your equestrian safety gear is key to keeping it functional for as long as possible. Here, our safety experts offer advice on storing, caring for and maintaining your riding helmet and protective vest.
Q: What is the best way to care for and store my helmet?
Dru Malavase, spokesperson and Co-Chair for the ASTM Equestrian Protective Headgear Subcommittee.: Read the manufacturer’s hang-tag which will give advice about safe cleaning practices. This will also have useful information on helping you to get the best possible fit. Keep your helmet in a place where it isn’t exposed to extremes of temperature or barn chemicals like fly sprays. The best option is in a climate-controlled place like your house or a heated/cooled tack room.
Never leave your helmet in a closed vehicle during the summer, especially not on a back shelf where the temperature may be high enough to affect both the shell and the liner. Although the test standards require testing after heating, freezing, and immersing the helmet in water, the wise course is to avoid all three conditions as much as possible. Keep your helmet away from animals of all kinds. And finally, if you use insect repellent on yourself, let it dry before you put on your helmet, since some of these cause plastic liner material to soften and melt.
Q: How should I clean and care for my riding safety vest?
Caitlin McConnell, Marketing Manager Phoenix Performance Products/Tipperary Equestrian: To clean your vest, we recommend using mild household soap and cold water. Make sure to rinse your vest thoroughly with cold, clean water, as the residue may accelerate the deterioration of the vest’s materials.
Dry-cleaning, cleaning solvents, paint, heat or bug sprays may affect the protective vest’s integrity, performance or both. DO NOT use any cleaning solvents other than mild household soap and cold water.
Avoid storing the vest in extremely high or low temperatures. Do not store the vest in direct sunlight. Only store the vest by laying it flat or from a hanger.
Q: What’s the best way to store my helmet?
CM: When you finish riding, clean and inspect your helmet. If it is excessively sweaty, air it out in a well-ventilated area where it won’t get knocked over or kicked.
Wipe down the helmet with a clean damp cloth. If you have a helmet bag, put it back in the helmet bag after you have aired it out. This will protect it from being damaged by outer elements.
Avoid storing you helmet in a vehicle in the summertime when heat is at an extreme level.