One of my favorite things about Yeti coolers is that not only do they keep food cold for days, they look really nice, too. In my opinion (and I own A LOT of coolers) they are the best looking cooler on the market and no other brand really comes close.
The hard plastic comes in a lot of bright colors, but my favorite might be the classic, glossy white. I've owned my Yeti cooler for 6 years now and it's still going strong.
With any high-end purchase, I worry about keeping it in good condition and I know a lot of people worry about this too. Do Yeti coolers scratch or mark easily or do they still look great 6-10+ years later?
Yeti coolers don't scratch easily and are resistant to most kinds of damage but over time small scratches and indents will appear with usage. Damage mainly appears around the corners and the lid of the cooler while the front, back and sides tends to receive a lot less damage.
To prevent scratches and stains, you can clean it well and store it in a safe, dry location. If you want to remove scratches or marks from your Yeti cooler, you can try mild cleaners or polishing with boat wax.
How do you know if your Yeti cooler will scratch or mark, and how do you prevent this? Keep reading to find out.
Do Yeti Coolers Scratch Easily?
The hard polyethylene that Yeti coolers are made from is actually pretty difficult to damage, and you will have a hard time putting any substantial scratches in it.
You don’t need to worry about breaking a Yeti cooler during any sort of regular use.
Regular coolers have a hard and brittle plastic exterior that can break and shatter when dropped or experiencing impacts. But the Yeti cooler shell is much stronger and won't break from impact or even be damaged that badly.
However, if you are trying to keep your cooler pristine, you might be frustrated by the small scratches that pop up over time.
Even very small marks will accumulate and dull the appearance of your Yeti cooler. The small scratches can actually happen quite easily just with regular use of the cooler.
In many ways this is unavoidable. The Yeti cooler is made to be enjoyed in the outdoors and the outdoors is full of things that can damage the appearance of your cooler.
You can protect your cooler from these small scratches by keeping it clean and dust-free whenever possible. If you’re carrying the cooler on any kind of vehicle, try securing it so it does not shake or vibrate against anything abrasive.
Keep reading the safest ways to store your Yeti cooler.
Sections Of A Yeti Cooler That Scratch The Easiest
I've owned my Yeti cooler for over 6 years now (nearly 7) and used it for camping, road trips, living out of my van, beach trips and much much more.
I'm not pushing this product to the limit on hunting trips or anything but I have used it consistently over the years and so it's seen it's fair share of wear and tear.
In fact, my Yeti cooler was even inside my van when I crashed and rolled the van on the freeway going 110 km/hour (70 miles/hour). Luckily no one was hurt…but lets just say the Yeti didn't have it's seatbelt on.
Given this extreme event and it's usage for years I'm surprised how well it has held up. Here is where the most damage has occurred.
The Base Corners
The base corners are the spot where I notice the most scratches and damage to the Yeti.
This makes sense because you often lift it up by one handle and drag it along the ground and this can cause the corners to scratch.
Also being close to the ground and being the part that sticks out the most near the ground they attract most of the damage.
Interestingly, while the bottom of my cooler was dirty…it has little to no scratches across the base.
The Bear Proof Locks
The bear proof locks stick out more than any other corner on the cooler and thus they seem to bang into the most things and have the most dents and scratches compared to the other corners of the cooler.
The Lid Corners and Edges
The other lid corners also have a fair amount of scratches and big indentations.
So do the edges around the lid.
The Top of The Lid
While the corners have big indents and more obvious damage the lid of the cooler just has a lot of minor scratches all over it.
These scratches aren't very deep at all but there are lots of them and they seem to attract dirt making them look worse than they are.
I really need to take my own advice and give my Yeti cooler a deep clean to remove these stains.
The Corner Edges
While nowhere near as bad as the lid corners (probably because the main body of the cooler is smaller than the lid) the side corner edges of the cooler do receive some minor scratches over time.
Interestingly, the front panel of the cooler is almost blemish free and the sides and back panels look great too.
The Inside Base/Walls
Lastly there are some minor scratches on the inside of the cooler around the base and the walls of the cooler.
This is probably from frozen bottles rolling around in the cooler and smashing up against the walls while drive and just overall wear and tear from putting lots of different items in my cooler.
Do Yeti Coolers Mark Easily?
Yeti coolers are susceptible to minor fairly easily. General usage will lead to minor scratches on the corners, lid and base of your cooler. These can attract dirt and look worse than they are.
Yeti coolers are also susceptible from marks from things like rubber on your boots or other items, dirt and markers or pens.
Do Yeti Coolers Stain Easily?
You don't want to spend hundreds on a cooler onto to have it stain really quickly and easily and look terrible.
Luckily, Yeti coolers do NOT stain easily. While they do get some scratches and marks most stains/blemishes can be cleaned off rather easily. The Yeti cooler does no discolor easily over time and is UV resistant.
While cheaper coolers like my Coleman Xtreme cooler get dirty and this turns into stains I can't remove it seems my Yeti cooler gets dirty but this dirt is easily washed away.
When I have more engrained dirt or stains there are still simple ways to clean stains from your Yeti cooler and get it looking brand new.
Clean spills right away, store foods in clean, sealed packages and, when possible, keep food frozen. This will help prevent gunk and liquids from staining the inside of your cooler.
A good habit of cleaning your cooler right away after each use should keep your Yeti free from stains.
How To Prevent Scratches On Your Yeti Cooler
Preventing scratches on a cooler that is designed to be used outdoors is really tough.
Over time wear and tear and unexpected drops, bumps (or in my case a major road accident) will lead to incidental scratches and indentations in your Yeti cooler.
However, there are some ways you can minimize and prevent scratches on your Yeti Cooler.
Don't Store Your Yeti Cooler Next To Hard Items
Hard items will scratch your Yeti cooler if they come in contact with it or they'll dent it if there is a hard impact. So try to keep hard/sharp items away from your cooler and don't store them next to each other.
Strap Down Your Yeti Cooler
One of the major causes of damage to your Yeti cooler (and least for me) is the cooler sliding around or falling over whilst driving.
While the non-slip feet are great they aren't perfect and it's a good idea to strap down your Yeti cooler before traveling so it stays put and doesn't slide around and have big impacts as you turn corners or stop abruptly.
Place a Towel or Cooler Cover Over Your Yeti Cooler
One of the best ways to prevent scratches on your Yeti cooler is to place a towel or a reflectix cooler cover over your Yeti cooler.
These will both help to keep ice longer in your cooler but it'll also protect it from a lot of minor damage.
Get a Cooler Skin or SeaDek
A really good Yeti cooler modification idea is to add the SeaDek accessory to the lid of your cooler or to add a full cooler skin to your cooler.
Can You Get Scratches Out Of A Yeti Cooler?
There is no perfect way to get scratches and scuffs out of a Yeti cooler. Unfortunately, the hard plastic will retain the scuffs once they are there and it's not really something you can fix without some serious polishing or by melting and reforming the plastic (which has it's own dangers).
The official Yeti website does not make any recommendations for removing scratches from the coolers. They do recommend a good cleaning with soap and water and a high-pressure sprayer, if you have one.
Start with a good cleaning – if you are really determined to reduce the scratches on your Yeti, some Yeti owners have used boat wax to polish the surface of the cooler.
You will have to look around to find one that is safe for hard plastics, and make sure to test the wax in an inconspicuous area of the cooler first.
Follow directions carefully on any product you use on your cooler.
Can You Remove Permanent Marker From A Yeti Cooler?
If you have marks from a permanent marker on your Yeti, don’t give up hope! Several household chemicals can take marker off of hard plastics.
The first option I like to try is rubbing alcohol. Just pour a little on a rag or use pre-packaged alcohol swabs and rub in small circles over the marker until it starts to come off.
Another good option for removing permanent markers is hairspray. Spray a little bit of hairspray on the area and again rub in small circles with a rag or paper towel.
A magic eraser or some sort of mild abrasive cleaner can also be a great way to remove permanent market stains from a Yeti cooler.
Whichever of these methods you choose, you should try a small spot on the bottom of the cooler first, just in case it affects the finish of your cooler.
Can You Remove Stains From A Yeti Cooler?
If you have stains on your Yeti cooler, you don’t have to worry too much – there are a lot of good ways to clean hard stains off of even white Yeti plastic.
First of all, clean the cooler with hot, soapy water and a sponge. This will remove easy dirt and may be all you need for some stains.
Before you try any chemicals to remove stains, you might want to start with a magic eraser. If that doesn’t get the stain off, move to a high-pressure sprayer and try to blast the stains away.
The mildest chemical that might help is white vinegar mixed with bicarb (baking) soda. Scrub this mixture into the stain with a rag to see what it can lift.
If the stain is from a hazardous material like mold, go ahead and start with stronger chemical cleaners. You can sanitize cooler stains with a 6:1 water-to-bleach solution.
You can even let the bleach mixture soak in the cooler for a couple of hours if you have really stubborn stains, then clean with a sponge. Finally, rinse all of the bleach out of the cooler with plenty of fresh water.
While Yeti coolers are built to be very strong, they are not especially scratch resistant. They can also pick up stains if they are stored wet or left with old food for a long period of time.
Your best bet is to prevent scratches and marks in the first place by protecting your cooler during use and storage and by cleaning it with soap and water after each outing.
If you need to remove scratches, you can try to find a boat wax that will help you and follow the directions.
For cleaning marks off of the cooler, try rubbing alcohol or hairspray, but test them out first on the bottom of the cooler to be safe.
Stains will come out with a variety of cleaners, including baking soda-vinegar solution or bleach and water. Don’t forget to try a high-pressure sprayer.