Whip up a cleaning strategy to keep your outdoor kitchen sparkling
Outdoor kitchens are great for entertaining or just spending time on the patio cooking with your family. Though they’re fun to have, exposure to the outdoors 24/7 makes them difficult to keep clean. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor kitchen clean and maintained.
1. Protect Your Countertops
Granite and stone are popular counter types for outdoor kitchens due to their rustic appearance and heat-resistant properties. One drawback to these beautiful finishes, however, is that the materials are porous and can stain quite easily.
Sealing your granite countertops can prevent damage and extend the life of your outdoor kitchen. You’ll need to reapply sealant every three to five years, and it’s not a bad idea to hire a granite repair professional in your area to use a commercial-grade product.
If you decide to DIY, you can get sealant from your local hardware store for about $20. Professional jobs tend to last longer and run around $150 to $370. Be sure to wipe down your counters as soon as you can after using to prevent stains from setting.
2. Clean Your Grill Regularly
Keep your grill in tip-top shape by giving it a once-over with a metal brush, and do a bigger cleaning at least once a year before you put it into use. Before your outdoor cooking season starts, vacuum the inside of the grill and remove any debris from the burners.
If you have a gas grill, check that all the valves and hoses are in working order. Disconnect the fuel tank and make sure exposure to changing temperatures hasn’t caused any hoses to split and crack. If any are damaged, replace them promptly, or else you risk leaking gas into the atmosphere.
During the season, your gas grill’s flame should be blue with a yellow tip. If the flame is completely yellow, it could mean that the fuel valve pressure is off. Disconnect the fuel tank and check the pressure to ensure it’s working properly, and keep the burners free from grease buildup by doing a brief cleanup after every use.
These tasks will help you maintain your outdoor kitchen’s grill and keep it working well for years to come.
3. Keep Your Grill Covered
Exposure to the elements can make your grill age faster than it should, as most grills aren’t made out of weatherproof materials. Rain or snow can lead to corrosion, which means you’ll have to replace your grill sooner than you think. After each use, be sure to let the grill cool and then put the cover back on.
4. Cover Your Furniture
If you can’t bring your outdoor furniture indoors during the off-seasons and when rain and storms hit, protect it with a cover. Waterproof covers that fall about an inch from the ground will keep your furniture in good shape but still allow moisture to escape. These covers range from around $10 for a small chair cover to $300 or more for a full sectional cover.
5. Protect Your Space From Yard Debris
When you mow your yard, rake the clippings or use a mower with a bag to protect your outdoor kitchen from debris and dirt. If gunk does end up getting all over your kitchen, be sure to use a broom or leaf blower to remove it before it rains. Wet grass and dirt can leave stains on outdoor surfaces.
6. Use Caution When Power Washing
Many people choose stone for the facade of their outdoor kitchens. While manufactured stone usually comes with a 30-year warranty, natural stone is already millions of years old and meant to last. Once a year, you should power wash the stone to remove stains from grill smoke, food grease buildup, mildew, and dirt to help maintain this essential part of your outdoor kitchen.
However, keep in mind that natural stone is stronger and holds up better under pressure than manufactured stone. If you have manufactured stone, read the guidelines carefully to make sure that power washing is an appropriate choice for that material. On the wrong stone, pressure washing can eat away at the facade, ruining the look and structural integrity.
7. Disconnect Utilities When Not in Use
If you don’t use your outdoor kitchen year-round, there’s no point in having utilities wasting resources. During the winter, turn off the gas to the grill and unplug any appliances that aren’t in use. If you have an outdoor sink, save the pipes from freezing and bursting by making sure the supply lines are drained.
Now that you know how to maintain your outdoor kitchen, you can DIY these tasks or outsource to a pro. Some tasks, like cleaning your grill and countertops, are fast and easy DIY projects. But others, like power washing, are best left to an expert.