How to Get Smell Out Of Yeti Cooler? [Ways To Remove Odors]

Yeti coolers are amazing – they are the perfect companion for all kinds of trips. Whether you are planning a simple picnic, a longer hike, or a few-day camping trip, the Yeti cooler will help keep your food and drinks cool.

I often find the case is that the cooler is empty by the time I come back home. Still, I accidentally left some leftover food in the cooler a few times and forgot to take it out for a while. That situation resulted in my cooler adopting a rather unpleasant smell. That might even be an understatement – I can confidently say that the cooler STANK!

At that point, I had no idea how to take out the odors, and I wondered if I would even be able to take them out completely. But after close consideration and a lot of experimenting, I found the perfect way to take out all stains and odors from the cooler.

So, check the step-by-step guide below if you want to learn how to do the same to your cooler. I promise you that if you follow all the steps, you will be able to bring your cooler to its old glory in no time!


yeti cooler

How to Remove Smells and Odors from Your Yeti Cooler? - 6 Step Guide

I get it – sometimes, you cannot think about everything, and something can slip your mind. Especially when it comes to cleaning up after a long and exhausting trip. The only thing you want to do is get into bed and relax for a while, so you might neglect the fact that your cooler still has something in it.

As expected, leaving food or some drinks in the cooler can lead to it adopting a bad smell. If it happens to be sitting in the sun, the smell will worsen. You might even find mold growing in the cooler. At that stage, I bet that you will wonder what you can do to make the situation better.

Do not worry – I have got you covered! Here is a 6-step guide that will help you make your cooler odorless and spotless in no time. So, let’s get into the steps and see what you need to do.

Step 1 – Air out the cooler

First things first, you need to place the cooler in the open air to air out. Do not go through the trouble of scrubbing it while smelling as bad as possible. Let it air out for a few days before you start cleaning it.

That way, some of the odor will be gone by the time you start with the cleaning. This will make things so much easier and quicker for you. So, trust me – start by airing the cooler out and then move on to the next step.

Step 2 – Spray with a bleach mixture

After airing the cooler out for a few days, you will notice that things are headed in the right direction. The second thing you need to do is spray some bleach water on the inside of the cooler. The solution that you make should have one part bleach and four parts water.

Add the solution to a spray bottle and spray it all over the inside of the cooler. At this point, you should leave the lid of the cooler open. Let the solution work its magic for about 8 hours or leave it overnight. The following day, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3 – Scrub the cooler

I found that cleaning the cooler with another round of bleach works best from all the cleaning techniques that I have tried out. At this point, you will need some more bleach, a sponge, as well as an old toothbrush. The sponge will help you for larger areas, while the toothbrush will come in handy for the spots that are hard to reach.

Deep clean the cooler as well as you can. That includes scrubbing the inside walls, all the sections of the cooler, as well as any places where you see mold. If you had any fish remnants, stale beer, meat, or dairy in the cooler, you should repeat the previous and this step a couple of times.

Step 4 – Use an odor absorber

The bleach solution and bleach scrub should have left your cooler in a much better state than it was in the beginning. I mentioned that you should repeat those steps a few times if there is a need for such a thing. Once you are sure that the bleach has done its thing, you can use an odor absorber.

I regard charcoal and baking soda as the best odor absorbers. They are great for cleaning various things around the house, but you can also use them in your cooler. After you apply the odor remover, close the cooler's lid and let it do its magic for a while. You can repeat this process if needed.

Step 5 – Rinse and dry the cooler

All that bleach, charcoal, baking soda, and what else not should have removed most of the odor by now. The next thing you should do is do another deep scrubbing of the cooler, but you can use regular dish soap instead of bleach this time.

The dish soap and water will remove all remaining bleach and odor removers, making the cooler safe to use yet again. If you happen to have a larger cooler, you can do this rinsing in your yard with a garden hose.

Once it is clean, you can let the cooler air dry in the sun. Let it sit there for a while, or at least until it is ready. Before you store it away, you can do one more thing. Go into the next section to find out what that is!

Step 6 – Mask the odor with an aromatic

My recommendation is to add aromatics to the cooler. These are things that will mask the remaining bad odor if there is any. They will also make your cooler smell so much fresher the next time you use it!

So, you can add lemon juice, some coffee grounds, some baking soda, charcoal, or any other ingredient you like the smell of. It can be vanilla or cinnamon. The possibilities are endless. Remember to keep the cooler closed and store it neatly, letting it chill before the next trip!

Other Ways to Get Smells Out of Your Yeti Cooler

Even though the steps mentioned above are most effective in removing smells from a Yeti cooler, there are some other effective ways to do the same.

For example, some of you might not want to use complex chemicals like bleach, and I get that. Bleach can be dangerous to work with and can damage some coolers' walls. If you want to replace the bleach or any other ingredient with another, here are some of your other options!

Try a white vinegar and water solution

Instead of the bleach, you can always rely on vinegar to help you mask the odors of the cooler. Like I mentioned with the bleach above, you can make a solution of one part white vinegar and four parts warm water. Then, you can spray the cooler with the solution to make it cleaner.

Put some cat litter in the cooler

Instead of the aromatics mentioned above, you can also go with some cat litter to help you keep the cooler smelling fresh. The design of the kitty litter is perfect for masking odors, so you can always add a small bag of it in the cooler to make it smell better. The only thing to look out for is that the litter is fresh and not used before!


Thank you for sticking with me through this guide. I hope that my guide helped you remove the odors from your cooler and that you were able to clean it spotless using the tips I gave you. Again, remember to repeat the cleaning cycle at least a few times to remove the odors.

Let me know in the comments below if you know any other ways to remove odors from a Yeti cooler. I would love to know all about it, and I bet that other readers would too. So, I look forward to reading whatever you share with me and the others!

Andrew Mullen

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