July 31


How to Clean a Camping Cooler? Deodorizer Tips

By Michael Bryant

July 31, 2021

Have a moldy or stinky camping cooler? Let's show you how to clean a camping cooler.

It's currently the 31st of July and I know there are some of us out there are have avoiding opening that lid. Once it hits a certain point, it's stressful to think about what it may look or smell like.

Unfortunately, unless you want to buy a new cooler dumpster that one, which is a waste," you'll have to face the music. 

How and why to clean that camp cooler

Camp coolers these days can be an investment and you should probably treat it like one. Even if it may seem like just a cooler.

Luckily, there are some great products to sanitize that cooler. They will help lessen the amount of elbow grease you need to put in. 

So remember the dozens of times you didn't clean out your cooler the day you got home from car camping. Getting soaked food out as early as possible is key. But, it you didn't there are ways to get the funk and gunk out of that cooler.

The Best ways to clean a cooler

    •  Get everything out ASAP!
    • Hose that puppy down
    • Scrub with a mild detergent and baking soda
    • Rinse a hopefully this did the trick, if not, let's take more serious steps


  • Rinse your camp cooler with 1 C of Bleach and 1 Gal H20
  •  Let this sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse out thoroughly multiple time
  • Allow to dry open in the sun

The Natural way to clean your camping cooler

2. The Natural Way

  • Rinse with warm water
  • Use White Vinegar and water
  • Rub down with lemon juice
  • Sun Dry

how often should you clean our your camping cooler?

Honestly a basic cleaning with a little soap should be done after every trip you keep food in it. Mold grows quick and the stank sets in fast.

If it's just a drink cooler a quick rinse is all that you'll need. 

No matter what though a deep cleaning should be don every 3 to 6 months. And sometimes it's nice to clean it before a trip to start with a fresh base to toss in brewskis and sandwiches. 

Looking for a high end camping cooler? 


  • Long lasting ice
    Yeti is known for it's cooling properties and despite the higher price. You will save money on ice in the long run
  • Durability
    These coolers are built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Quality construction.
  • Size and Storage
    This Yeti can hold 28 cans of...whatever you put in it. Bubble water or beers.


In the end the biggest things is get it out of the car and emptied early. This will save you from having to do all of the steps above. Inevitably, we will all forget at some point and now you have the knowledge on how to properly clean and deodorize that camp cooler.

Lifer Tip: Always store your cooler with the drain plug open. Jut don't forget to close that baby back up. Or you might empty your cooler water in the trunk on the ride home. Or... maybe that's the wat to go. 

Have fun and be safe this summer share some of your trip pics in FB comments. 

Life it!

Michael Bryant

About the author

After a lifetime spent in the outdoors and 10 years in the outdoor sports industry, I figured out what I'm best at. Finding great mentors to show me the ropes. Without the Lifers that taught me all I know, I wouldn't be where I'm at, which is... "pretty solid" at most adventures outside.

Mentors are the best way to access the backcountry. Learn with us.