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How to Winterize Your Outdoor Kitchen

Summer is gone and with the temperature dropping daily, it’s time to prepare your backyard for the winter months. After the fun of summer and memories made while taking advantage of your outdoor kitchen, protecting it from the harsh weather to come is essential. Follow these helpful tips and your outdoor kitchen will be ready for winter in no time! 

Clean Appliances and Surfaces

Stainless steel is typically the chosen material for appliances in any outdoor kitchen. Knowing how to properly clean your appliances, countertops, and cabinetry is a crucial step in the maintenance and upkeep of your entertaining space. Stainless steel should be cleaned with warm soapy water and wiped down with a soft cloth. When cleaning out your refrigerator, remember to empty and power down the ice maker. 

With the grill being the centerpiece for your kitchen, it is most likely in need of a good cleaning the most! Start with a degreaser paired with a metal brush to clean areas that are hard to reach. Empty the grill’s cleanout, and thoroughly clean the cooking grates.  When your grill is freshly cleaned, take the opportunity to season it properly for next year. Cleaning your outdoor space regularly means less cleaning to do before the winter months and longer-lasting appliances and surfaces.

Prepare Water Lines

This includes shutting off water lines, draining them, and positioning them for winter. First, locate and shut off all the water lines connecting outdoor kitchens to indoor plumbing. Use the indoor shutoff so you don’t have any water in the lines running outside. The next step is to drain them, don’t forget lines to the refrigerator, sinks, and ice makers. Neglecting this step could cost you in repairs to both the water lines and to your appliances. Lastly, position drain valves for winter. It’s important to leave your drain valves open all winter long to protect the lines from freezing water.

Protect Your Appliances

After your appliances are cleaned, you have a few options when it comes to protecting them. Coating all necessary surfaces with stainless steel polish adds a layer of protection to surfaces exposed to the elements. If your cabinets are made from wood, apply wood oil for the same reason. Depending on your appliances, adding covers to your outdoor kitchen may be unnecessary. Follow manufacturer recommendations for all appliances to assure they are properly stored through the off season. 

Outdoor Furniture

Depending on your outdoor furniture, it may be equipped to withstand the harsh weather of the coming months. Check labels and directions from the manufacturer to see if storing outdoor furniture is recommended. If you’re not in a position to store outdoor furniture during the winter months, securing the proper weather-proof covers is essential in keeping your furniture in looking nice for years to come. 

Consider Adding a Pergola or Roof

Although it’s not a necessary step, it’s a nice touch for any outdoor space lacking coverage. If your outdoor kitchen isn’t already covered, consider giving it some added protection. Adding a pergola or roof will not only help protect your outdoor kitchen from the elements, it will add further value to your home. With outdoor kitchens typically bringing back a 100%-200% return of investment (ROI), a pergola will also typically pay for itself when it comes time to sell your home. These will also provide shelter for your guests in the summer and fall months.

In order for outdoor kitchens to serve you well all summer, it’s important to give them the end-of-season maintenance they deserve. Follow these simple steps and your outdoor kitchen will be in pristine condition at the start of next year’s grilling season!