Regardless of whether you are an Australian who calls an ice box by the generic name of Esky, or are a New Zealander who calls the same item a Chilly Bin, these ice boxes are not cheap. Consequently, if you are paying good money for a quality cooler box you need to know how to maintain it. Part of the maintenance involves regular cleaning. In fact, if you keep your cooler box in pristine condition it will last you for many years and provide you with a good service throughout a long and useful lifespan.
Selecting the Right Box
You should select a cooler that is designed to reduce bacterial growth.
Many cheaper bands have ropes that are installed to support the lid. These ropes are made from twisted strands that can become contaminated by hanging down into the box contents. Contaminated ropes are very hard to clean effectively. A box that uses hinges that fully support the lid instead of ropes is the way to go.
Whatever you do, make sure you avoid the opportunity for mildew to develop. Once it is present, mildew is rather troublesome to completely get rid of and, allowing it to develop will ruin the resilience and durability of your cooler box. Cleaning with a water bleach mix will help keep the mildew at bay. Twenty percent bleach and eighty percent water should be fine for this. Rather than have stale odours seeping into food that you put into your cool box, ensure that you carefully and thoroughly wipe it out with your water and bleach mix.. This is never a particularly onerous task, especially if you keep on top of the job and get into the habit of always cleaning the inside and outside of your cooler after use.
Good quality plastic does not require tough cleaning products of the kind used in commercial premises. If mildew is not present, then just clean your cooler with warm water which has some kitchen detergent dissolved in it. Using this gentle mixture wipe down both the inside and the outside then dry the inside thoroughly. After you have finished wiping it dry, leave the lid off until you are absolutely certain that the inside of your ice box is completely dry.
Before you put your cooler box away for storage always ensure that it is completely dry. It is important to store plastic boxes away from heat sources as they can warp under high ambient temperatures. If you intend to store your cooler in a garden shed or a garage, you could find your cooler is likely to be exposed to quite high temperatures. To prevent the lid warping make sure you attach it firmly to its base using plastic ties to keep it in place if you can.
Plastic coolers that might be used to store food need to be free from bacteria. One way to avoid an overgrowth of bacteria is to allow your clean cooler to stand outside in the sunshine so that it is exposed to the rays of the sun. This UV exposure will kill off many harmful pathogens. Of course, if you are concerned about bacteria that could remain, then obtain some alcohol wipes and wipe over all the surfaces, both inside and out. Even once the moisture has evaporated it will leave an antiseptic residue to inhibit bacteria and moulds from growing. If you do not have access to alcohol wipes, you could dilute a cup of bleach dissolved in your ice box half-filled with warm water.
Carefully wipe a solution of this solution around your cooler with a sponge and swirl the bleach-water gently around the inside of it. Once you have disposed of the water allow your cooler to dry in the sun then rinse it carefully so ensure there is no bleach residue left on the plastic to damage it. After rinsing, allow your cooler to dry naturally before storing away. Taking these small steps to keep your ice box clean and dry and free of mildew should ensure that it will last you for a very long time.