Yeti coolers are amazing at holding ice when you go on your adventure and they are built to be tough and unbreakable. However, when not in use you need to store them properly to avoid dirt and grime, mold, bad smells and stains ruining your expensive cooler.
If you don't store your Yeti correctly it won't last as long (or look as good as it should) compared to if you take proper care of it.
When storing a Yeti cooler give it a good clean inside and out an leave to completely dry. Ideally store in a cool, shady dry area out of directly sunlight and exposure to the elements. When getting it back out for use make sure to pre-chill as the insulation will be warm.
Storing your Yeti properly doesn't take rocket science. A little bit of preparation goes a long way and there are also extra steps you can take for those who absolutely want to protect their Yeti and keep it in pristine condition.
How Should You Store Your Yeti Cooler When Not In Use?
Ideally your Yeti cooler should always be kept in a cool and shady place inside and out of direct sunlight. It should be dry as a bone to begin with and then sealed up for long term storage so no air moisture can get into the cooler.
The key factor to keep in mind when storing a Yeti cooler away for longer periods of time is to prevent moisture, mildew, and mold from appearing.
These are going to stain your Yeti cooler, make it stink and overall its a horrible experience to get your Yeti out for your next adventure only to find it completely moldy.
Luckily avoiding mold and mildew isn't difficult. A little bit of prep and storing in the right place in the right way should do the trick.
First, Clean Your Cooler Well
If you've just come away from a camping trip or other adventure you'll want to give your Yeti a good clean.
Old bits of food or drink or even little bits of water left inside the cooler can all grow into something from Ghostbusters if left in your Yeti long enough.
Start by cleaning the cooler thoroughly to prevent any odors or bacteria from developing. Yeti recommends using a dish soap and water mixture to clean the inside and outside of the cooler, followed by rinsing with fresh water.
For strong stains and a deeper cleaning read my article on how to clean a Yeti cooler properly.
IMPORTANT: Dry Your Cooler Perfectly
For long term storage of a Yeti cooler your worst enemy is moisture. This means you need to dry your Yeti cooler perfectly, making sure there is no moisture left on the inside as this can help mold to grow.
Dry the inside and outside meticulously with a towel, cloth, or paper towel. To ensure that it’s completely free of moisture before storage, allow it to dry out by leaving it open inside for a few days or open outside in the sun for a couple of hours.
If you want to be crazy careful then hitting the inside with a hair dryer or some sort of air blower can also ensure it's completely dry. Just make sure not to melt the plastic.
After you’ve followed all these steps, your Yeti cooler is ready to be stored safely.
Seal It Up
You can leave your Yeti lid open to store it but I always prefer to close the lid once I know it's completely dry.
The rubber gasket around the lid stops any moisture from getting into the Yeti so when seals this gives it the best chance of avoiding any moisture and mold growth.
This is why pre-drying it perfectly is so important.
Keep In In a Cool Dry Area
When storing your Yeti you obviously want to keep it out of the elements as much as possible.
You also want to keep it out of the heat as much as possible and maintain a cool, consistent temperature.
Over time fluctuations in heat and days of high heat can warp and stress the plastic and cause issues over the long term. So finding a cool spot like in the basement is ideal.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
The UV rays from the sunlight, over time, will deteriorate the plastic your Yeti is made from.
So under all circumstance keep your Yeti out of direct sunlight when storing it for long periods of time.
Raise It Up On Shelving
When storing my Yeti I always like to keep it raised and off the floor.
The floor can become moist, especially when it rains if water gets into your garage, shed or wherever you are storing your Yeti.
So where possible store your Yeti on a shelf up and away from the ground.
Place It Inside a Plastic Bag
For me I don't have space inside my garage to store my Yeti cooler where I could ensure the environment is extremely dry.
This means I need to store it in the back shed and this is a bit exposed to the elements and the shed can get moist when it rains and everything in there gets a bit dirty over time.
To solve this I get a big plastic bag and place my Yeti inside the plastic bag and tie it up. Now my entire cooler is safe from moisture and dirt.
Even if 6 months go by and the plastic bag gets filthy my Yeti inside stays in pristine condition.
How To Store a Soft Yeti Cooler
Store a soft Yeti cooler is extremely similar to storing a hard sided Yeti cooler.
The main different is you have to pay super close attention to drying it.
Soft Yeti coolers have fold and creases and areas where water and moisture can hide and grow mold or stain over time. So give it a super thorough dry before storing.
Again leaving open in the sun or blowing it with a hair drier can help.
You also need to pay attention to the zipper as this can seize up over time.
I'm not completely sure if closing the zipper or leaving it open is better. If I'm putting my Yeti in a plastic bag to protect it from moisture in the air I'll leave the zipper open as its easier to lubricate before I use it next.
If I'm not putting it in a plastic bag then I'll leave the zipper shut so moisture can't get into the soft cooler. However, I'll lubricate the zipper before store and then again after I get it out of storage. Just make sure you don't lose your zipper lubricator.
You should apply the included zipper lubricant to the front, back, and inside of the terminal end of the zipper.
That way, you can ensure that it functions well when you use it again.
How To Store a Yeti Cooler When Outside
As a rule of thumb, you should always store your Yeti cooler in the coldest and shadiest area, no matter where you are.
If you’re camping or spending some time out in nature, you can store the cooler in any place that has a shadow and is going to be in the shade most of the day.
And at the risk of repeating something you may already know, the most important thing is to make sure that the cooler is closed properly and kept out of direct sunlight.
Pro tip: To store your cooler at an optimal temperature, you can bury it in the ground, place under a tree or wrap it in a blanket or tarp if there is no shade around.
How To Prepare the Cooler for Usage After Storing It
After your Yeti cooler has been in storage of a while you might need to do a couple of things to prepare it before you go throwing ice and food and drinks in there ready for your next adventure.
Pre-Chill Your Hard Yeti Coolers
If you've stored your cooler in a place that is warm, or even room temperature then what happens is the thick walls of insulation actually fill up with a lot of heat energy.
You want to get rid of this before you load up your cooler otherwise your ice will melt quickly in your Yeti and it'll work even worse than a regular cooler.
Pre-chilling your cooler is easy. Just throw some frozen water bottles or a sacrificial bag of ice in there the night before you plan to use it. You can even use dry ice or put it in a deep freezer for even more effective pre-chilling. Learn how to pre-chill a Yeti cooler the right way.
Lubricate Your Yeti Zipper
After a long time in storage the biggest risk with Yeti soft coolers is the zipper becoming stuck or breaking.
Before using the zipper again make sure to rub some of the Yeti Zipper Lubricant on it so it slides smoothly and doesn't break.
FAQ & Answers
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about storing Yeti coolers properly.
Q: How to keep a bad smell out of a cooler when it’s stored away?
A: Clean your cooler with dish soap and water before storing it away.
For strong odors, you might need to clean more thoroughly and use a solution of bleach and warm water, using a sponge to clean it.
Make sure to clean the gasket and drain plug because odors get easily trapped in these areas.
Dry your cooler extremely well before storing. Leave open in the sun for a few hours or open inside for a few days to ensure it's completely dry before storing away.
Q: How do I keep mold out of my cooler when it’s not in use?
A: To avoid mold and mildew when storing it, ensure that the cooler has dried completely before putting it away for longer periods, and keep it away from moist areas.
You can also put your Yeti cooler inside a plastic bag and seal it up so now moisture for the outside can reach your cooler during storage.
Q: How to store coolers in a garage?
A: You can store a Yeti cooler anywhere in the garage, as long as it's protected from moisture.
If your floor and ceiling are prone to gathering moisture, you can put your cooler away on a shelf.
You can also consider using drying agents such as silica gel and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air.
Yeti coolers are a great investment, but they do require correct storage conditions. By taking the simple steps suggested above, you will be able to keep your cooler in great shape for many years to come.