If you own a cooler long enough it is eventually going to get some stains that are hard to remove.
Maybe you've left it a few days without cleaning it, maybe somethings spilt in your cooler or maybe it's just starting to discolor overtime.
These stains leave your cooler looking a bit gross but because colors are made from plastic the stains can be hard to remove. So how do you remove stains from a cooler?
There are multiple different ways for getting rid of tough stains in your cooler. Some of these methods work better than others and some of them work for specific types of stains and not others.
There are pros and cons to each method and sometimes you'll need to use multiple methods in combination in order to remove those really tough stains.
First: Make Sure You Wash Well With Soapy Water To Remove Easy Dirt
Before you get in there and try to remove difficult stains from your cooler you want to give you cooler a good was first to remove any surface dirt, grime or mold.
You want to clean these away first so you aren't rubbing the dirt deeper into the scratches or your cooler.
Warm soapy water and a good scrub with a non-abrasive brush should do the trick. Click here to learn how to clean a cooler thoroughly.
Once your cooler is clean from surface dirt or grime try one of the 9 steps below to get rid of those tough stains that don't easily wash away.
1. Vinegar and Bicarb Soda
Honestly, this is not a super effective method of removing really tough stains but it does work with some lighter stains. Also, most people tend to have these ingredients around the house so it's a good thing to start with.
Rub the inside of your cooler with vinegar and leave to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Separately, combine some vinegar and bicarb soda in equal parts then use this mixture with a cloth, sponge or mildly abrasive cloth to rub down your cooler focusing in on the stains.
This should remove some of the tougher dirt as well as some stains and will leave your cooler very clean.
2. Use a Magic Eraser
Magic erasers are made from melamine foam, which is actually almost as hard as glass!
It acts like a super fine sand paper on your cooler and can be used to rub away some stains.
Do use in a magic racer simply use warm or warm soapy water and scrub the stain area of your cooler with a magic eraser. You'll need to use a lot of force and be aware that this will take some time and effort.
However, if you're persistent this can be a great way to get rid of stains without damaging the cooler like a more abrasive steel wool might do.
You can also combine the magic eraser with the vinegar and bicarb soda mixture mentioned above or another cleaning product mentioned in this list.
3. Purple Power
When looking online for ways to get stains out of plastic a lot of people were talking about how good Purple Power is.
Purple power can be purchased as a spray or you can buy it as a concentrate from either Walmart or Amazon/
Simply put the solution on your cooler and scrub it with a sponge, mildly abrasive cloth or you could also use a magic eraser to help you get out the stains.
4. High Pressure Spray
Using a high pressure spray is one of the most effective ways to clean hard dirt and stains off your cooler. It also happens to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable methods of cleaning your cooler as well.
You can purchase a high pressure spray hose to use at home or you could hire one but if you don't want to do that you can go to your local self service car wash. These places usually have high-pressure sprays for cleaning your car but you can use it one your cooler.
Hold the hose close to the cooler so you get the maximum amount of pressure to clean the dirt and stains away. Go over hard stains multiple times at a slow pace for maximum effect.
The below video shows you just how effective a high pressure spray can be to clean a cooler and make it looking nearly brand new.
5. Deep Green Stain Remover
Some people say that you shouldn't use any abrasive cleaners when trying to get stains out of a plastic cooler. They say this will create scratches and small indentations which will attract more dirt and stains in the future.
Deep Green Stain Remover is a gentle alternative cleaner that doesn't have anything abrasive in it.
It's also an odorless cleaner which means it won't leave your cooler smelling like chemicals.
You can mix it with water and spray or apply to less stubborn stains and washed with a cloth or you can apply it directly to those deep difficult to remove stains and then scrub it well and rinse when finished.
Bleach can be a great way to clean mold stains as well as other dark stains from both the inside and outside of your cooler.
Combine the bleach with water at a 1:6 ratio and cover all surfaces of your cooler. Leave to soak/dry 30-60 minutes or longer because rinsing it off.
7. Rubbing Alcohol
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can be quite effective at removing some types of stains.
Rub the stains of your cooler with the ice or propanol alcohol and then leave it to air dry. Once try rinse it well with cool water.
Some people also combine the rubbing alcohol with detergent and feel this works better. Some people also use hand sanitizer as the active ingredient in this is alcohol.
8. Denture Tablets
Denture tablets are designed to remove stains and to keep dentures looking white and fresh. You can also use the tablets to try and clean stains from your cooler.
However, depending on where the stains are and how big your cooler is you may need to use a lot of water and a lot of denture tablets which can become expensive.
There are also tablets designed for cleaning stains out of stainless steel bottles and these can also work on coolers.
Yeti have cleaning tablets that they sell however these are quite expensive and there are cheaper alternatives that work just as good available on Amazon. Bottle Bright are a good affordable brand.
9. Steel Wool
To tackle really difficult stains you may want to consider using steel wool which is more abrasive than anything mentioned in this article.
You can get super fine steel wool which I would advise you try first.
Steel wool will scratch away your stains but it'll also leave scratches in your cooler making it more likely to attract dirt and stains in the future. So for me this is a last resort and I would recommend trying the Magic Eraser first.
Get Your Cooler Looking Brand New
Using either one or multiple of the above cleaning techniques should get rid of most of the tough stains in your cooler.
Once you've given your cooler a good clean and remove the stains you'll be shocked at how new your cooler looks.
I've got two different coolers both of which are over five years old. One I've given a good clean to and it looks nearly brand new even though it has a few scratches.
The other cooler I left outside and it got moldy and has lots of stains which I haven't removed yet. Even though the cooler has been cleaned and disinfected it doesn't look very good with all of the stains.
Once you remove the stains from your cooler make sure you take good care of it and regularly clean it and dry it after each use so you don't get stains in the future.