I love using both my hard and soft Yeti coolers for camping and days out and the only thing I don’t like is cleaning them. I've got multiple versions in multiple sizes and the soft coolers tend to be the hardest to clean and get all the mess out of the corners and folds.
If you’re in the same boat as me, you might have wondered if the smaller coolers are dishwasher safe. It could be an easy way to clean my smaller Yeti coolers like my Yeti DayTrip or Yeti Flip.
Hard Yeti coolers are dishwasher safe (if you can fit them in your dishwasher) and you can also pressure wash them. Soft Yeti coolers aren’t dishwasher safe and you also can’t put them through the washing machine.
Yeti coolers are made to last but it’s important to follow Yeti’s cleaning recommendations if you want to get the most out of your cooler.
Can You Put Soft Yeti Coolers in the Dishwasher?
I generally wash my soft Yeti coolers with warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush. It can be tricky to get into all the nooks and crannies of the cooler and the seams and corners seem to get food stuck in them regularly for me. (Squished avocado being the bigger culprit).
You can’t put a soft Yeti cooler in the dishwasher because it may damage the fabric outer shell, causing it to lose some of the waterproofing.
The dishwasher’s agitation, consistently strong spraying and the heat of the drying cycle may also cause the cooler’s closed cell rubber walls to become deformed or dislodged.
One of the things that makes soft Yeti coolers so special is their DryHideTM Shell, which is 100% leak and waterproof.
However, a dishwasher or washing machine’s agitation can cause the tightly woven fabric’s fibers to loosen and become less effective over time.
It's likely that one trip through the dishwasher wouldn't do much harm, but consistent exposure to this dishwasher will like cause the color to fade faster and the material to deteriorate quicker, especially if you're also putting it through the regular drying cycle in which high heat is used to get rid of water left on your dishes.
The high temperatures in a dishwasher could warp the cooler’s fabric or plastic walls. It reality the soft coolers just aren't designed to handle the high heats of a dishwasher's drying cycle.
If you are absolutely set on throwing your soft Yeti cooler in the dishwasher then put it through a rinse cycle only or a rinse and wash cycle but make sure that the drying cycle is skipped. You'll then need to pull your cooler out and leave it to dry.
Yeti offers a 3-year warranty on their soft coolers but only if you follow the recommendations in the user manual. Yeti’s soft cooler user manual also includes a section about cleaning and they advise that you use soap and water to clean it, rinse it and wipe it.
They also advise not to machine wash it and to leave the zipper open for several days to allow the cooler to dry completely.
They also say in this user manual not to dry your Yeti in the oven as the high heats can melt the plastic. While I don't think a drying cycle in a dishwasher will get hot enough to melt the plastic, I'm not game enough to try it. I don't want to throw hundreds of dollars down the drain.
An alternative to using a dishwasher to clean your soft Yeti cooler is to use a high pressure sprayer or even just a regular tap hose on high to get all the dirt, grime and food out from the hard to reach places in the cooler.
Can You Clean Hard Yeti Coolers in the Dishwasher?
I can't imagine a hard Yeti cooler being able to even fit in the dishwasher but maybe you have an extra large dishwasher or have access to a commercial one and want to know if your hard Yeti cooler can go in the dishwasher. More power to you!
You can clean Yeti coolers in the dishwasher as long as they fit (for example, the Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler would fit in a regular dishwasher). However, you should NOT leave them in the dishwasher for a drying cycle as the high heat can warp/damage the plastic and insulation.
Yeti coolers are made from HDPE and this has a melting of around 120ºC (248ºF) which is much lower than a dishwasher ever gets to – usually maxes out around 71-82ºC (160-180ºF).
However, they contain polyurethane foam insulation and while some formulations can handle high heat of up to 150ºC (300ºF) other formulations can only handle temperatures up to around 93ºC (200ºF). This is still less than what most dishwashers get up to in their drying cycle, but for me it's too close to comfort.
So if I was to put my hard Yeti cooler in the dishwasher I'd put it through a rinse and cleaning cycle but I wouldn't leave it in for a drying cycle. It's just too risky.
I personally own a Yeti and would feel very comfortable putting warm/hot water in it for cleaning or keeping things warm. But I would only go up to a maximum of around 49°C (120°F).
For larger hard Yetis, Yeti advises cleaning them by hand with dish soap or a pressure washer. A pressure washer will give you a similar or better clean than a dishwasher and you can focus it on certain areas as a great way to remove stains from your Yeti cooler.
According to Yeti Owner’s Manual for the Tundra Cooler, you should use regular soap and water for cleaning it. For stubborn stains or to sanitize it, you can use a water and bleach solution (6:1 ratio) and a scrubbing brush if needed.
Other easy ways to clean a Yeti cooler include using white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda or a sanitizing spray. The bicarb is a great way of removing odors from your Yeti.
Clorox Anywhere Spray from Amazon is a great example of a good sanitizer and you can also use it for other household cleaning. Plus, it kills foodborne bacteria (like Salmonella), which can make your cooler an unsanitary place to store food and drinks.
Confidently sanitize and disinfect hard surfaces that come in contact with food, people and pets, no rinsing required. Certified to kill cold and flu viruses and 99.9% of bacteria in 1 min.
No harsh lingering chemical smell and no harmful residue left behind
Using a pressure washer can give your hard Yeti a more thorough clean and here’s a useful video showing how to do it:
If you don’t have a pressure washer, you could always take your Yeti to your local car wash and use the pressure washers and soap there to give it a good clean.