Whether you own a vehicle, boat, or in this case, an outdoor kitchen, if it’s located in an area where the metal is exposed to an extreme salty or chlorinated environment, over time you will experience rust.  While we boast a nearly maintenance-free solution in powder coating our stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinetry, it does not come without regular care and cleaning to keep your kitchen looking and functioning at peak performance. Cabinets, handles, and hinges all need to be taken care of, especially in saltier, more oceanfront environments. Here are some easy tips on outdoor kitchen cleaning and care.

Stainless Steel Cabinets 
For more corrosive, salty environments, we highly recommend upgrading to 316 Marine-grade stainless steel, as it is known for its longevity, durability, and greater tolerance to the elements. While stainless steel typically requires less maintenance, when cleaned, they should be wiped down in the direction of the grain. In a salt air environment, we recommend a slightly oilier cleaner like Sheila Shine.  You may have to clean more frequently (bi-weekly) as salt breaks down into highly corrosive chlorine that will attack the metal over time.  While the surface corrosion will not affect the performance of the product, it will affect the overall look.

Color & Wood Grain Powder Coated Finishes 
Because finding time to clean is not always easy in our busy lives, powder coating your cabinets provides a lower maintenance solution.  These finishes seal the stainless steel, eliminating the worry of pitting and surface rust.  However, because the sea air and heavy chlorine can still do damage, it’s important to wipe down the powder coated or wood grain finished cabinets with a simple 1:1 filtered water and mild soap solution.  A soft cloth should be enough to clean the surfaces of the cabinets and maintain the color, style and design you love.  Additionally, it is recommended to wipe down any exposed stainless steel areas, including inside cabinet boxes, once monthly to maintain their finish.

Handles & Hinges 
Stainless steel and solid bronze handles are becoming increasingly popular for outdoor cabinetry because of their sleek look and durability. However, salt air, combined with oil on our hands or from cooking, can tarnish these finishes over time. Sheila Shine will protect better against oxidation, putting, or slight surface rust on your stainless steel and solid bronze handles.

It is also extremely important that you pay close attention to your hinges as well. Hinges should be wiped and sprayed with WD-40, regardless of environment, but especially when located on oceanfront or poolside properties. This will keep the cabinetry from binding or rusting at hinge-points that often go under-maintained or overlooked when cleaning.

Your outdoor kitchen area is one that holds countless memories of summer barbecues with family and cozy nights around the fire with friends. Make sure that you take the time to wipe down and care for your cabinets, countertops, furniture, and appliances in order to create a lasting space to create memories in for years to come.


Credit: Lauren Rua 7/2016