How to Keep Your Outdoor Kitchen Clean

Published Categorized as outdoor kitchens

how to clean an outdoor kitchen

Depending on your outdoor kitchen materials and climate, your cleaning method and frequency can vary. Certain materials require more upkeep than others, and some environments require more frequent cleaning. Maintenance is reduced if you use durable materials and if your outdoor kitchen is covered.

Although stainless steel is durable, outdoor kitchens that include bare stainless steel components require regular maintenance to avoid rust and corrosion. For the best results in the outdoors, Trex® Outdoor Kitchens™ manufactures powder coated stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinetry that is attractive and durable with minimal maintenance required. If you’re looking for tips on how to keep an outdoor kitchen clean, continue reading our guide below.

Cabinet Material

Since certain materials hold up better than others in the outdoors, your outdoor kitchen cleaning process will vary depending on the material of your outdoor kitchen cabinets. With any cabinet material, food, debris, and grease should be regularly cleaned from the cabinets.

Wood will absorb moisture and stains, causing it to swell, contract, and eventually warp and rot. When using a cloth to clean wood, it should be dry or nearly dry. Wood can also be sealed, stained, or regularly treated with polishes and oils for protection.

Concrete is extremely porous, so keeping it clean in a cooking area is very difficult. Using a mixture of baking soda, dish detergent, and water will do the trick. Sometimes a pressure washer is necessary for more stubborn stains.

Plastic should be washed regularly with mild soap and water to avoid staining, but the color will fade over time with sun exposure. To avoid scratches, any outdoor kitchen cleaning process should use non-abrasive tools only.

Metal is more durable in the outdoors, but it needs to be kept clean and dry or it can rust and corrode. Hot water and a soft cloth are all you need, but reliable cleaners for all types of metals are available on the market as well.

Outdoor Countertop Material

The outdoor kitchen countertop material is important because it is the surface where food preparation will be taking place. Some outdoor kitchen countertop materials are more porous than others, which makes a difference as far as keeping the surface clean.

Quartzite can stain from cooking, so it should be cleaned often. Mild soap and water can be used, although there are stone-specific cleaners available.

Soapstone is non-porous, but it should be cleaned regularly. Again, mild soap and water is all you need. Soapstone can scratch easily, so the cleaning process should be non-abrasive.

Tile is durable, non-porous, and easy to clean. Commercial tile cleaners are especially useful with a soft-bristled brush to clean the grout of any food or grime.

Granite can be sealed regularly to prevent stains and make it easier to clean. Commercial granite cleaners can be used as an alternative to soap and water.


Climate is a major factor that determines the frequency and type of cleaning process for your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens in warm climates generally see more use year-round, meaning that food, grease, and other debris will need to be cleaned from the cabinets and outdoor kitchen appliances more often.

Climates with more frequent precipitation or salty air will require additional maintenance as well. As a general principle, cabinets of any material should be kept free of moisture as much as possible to avoid degradation. Salty air, salt water, or chlorinated water will encourage corrosion on metal cabinets. Although Trex Outdoor Kitchens offers 316 (marine) grade stainless steel cabinetry, which is more resistant to corrosive environments, your outdoor kitchen should be cleaned more often in these areas.


A stainless steel outdoor kitchen that is covered by a gazebo, canopy, or inside a Florida/California Room will require much less cleaning than an outdoor kitchen that is constantly exposed to the elements. Consider covering your outdoor kitchen to protect it from precipitation, wind, and sunlight. Although Trex Outdoor Kitchens do not require a covering, several manufacturers make custom covers that will fit your outdoor cabinets and appliances for extra protection.

An outdoor kitchen that is fully enclosed in a Florida/California Room with screened or glass walls will require similar maintenance as an indoor kitchen. With this additional protection, weather elements, climate, and wildlife will minimally affect your outdoor kitchen. As such, regular cleaning of everyday messes from food preparation should be sufficient.

How to Clean Bare Stainless Steel Appliances & Amenities

Bare stainless steel is stain-less, not stain-proof. Some grades of stainless steel are more resistant to corrosion than others, but this material requires regular cleaning and maintenance when kept in the outdoors. You should use cleaners that are alkaline, alkaline-chlorinated, and non-chloride. Avoid hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid). Any cleaning tools should be non-abrasive – so avoid steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers. Always clean in the direction of the grain in your stainless steel. Finally, make sure the stainless steel is thoroughly dry.

All stainless steel appliances and amenities should be regularly cleaned so that they are free of food, moisture, debris, and fingerprints. Food and drink should be regularly removed from your outdoor refrigerator and freezer, and your fridge and freezer should be cleaned on the inside and outside. Grills should be cleaned internally with grill cleaner or a degreaser and water with a wire brush to remove grease, debris, and food. Other bare stainless components, like handles, should be thoroughly dried. Hinges should be lubricated regularly to protect them and maintain their integrity.

For more information on care and cleaning of bare stainless steel in the outdoors, view the care and cleaning guide available from Trex Outdoor Kitchens.

Benefits of a Powder Coat Finish

The stainless steel cabinets manufactured by Trex Outdoor Kitchens are the most durable cabinets for the outdoors. The addition of powder coat adds an attractive finish to the stainless steel, and it also minimizes maintenance to a minimum. Your cabinets will not require as much maintenance as bare stainless steel cabinets.

To care for your powder coated stainless steel outdoor kitchen, the cleaning process should be regular and mild. Your cabinets should be rinsed with clear water, or with the use of a mild cleaner, and then dried thoroughly. If an abrasive or corrosive agent is spilled or used on your powder coated cabinets, the area should be cleaned immediately to avoid permanent damage to the finish.

Depending on your outdoor kitchen cabinet and countertop material, your care and cleaning process will vary. Outdoor kitchen cabinets are also affected by climate and the coverage of your outdoor kitchen. Most outdoor kitchens have stainless appliances and amenities, which require regular maintenance and cleaning. A durable stainless steel outdoor kitchen from Trex Outdoor Kitchens includes the addition of a powder coat finish, which adds beauty and minimizes maintenance.

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