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The workmen have left and you’ve just wrapped up the very first barbecue with your outdoor kitchen. Now you’re thinking, “How much cleaning do I really have to do?”

Here’s the good news – you don’t need to do any more cleaning that you would do to your indoor kitchen. Just keep a few things in mind and you’ll have a space that’s ready to host your next fresh-air culinary adventure.

Clean like your inside while you’re wearing your outside shoes

If you treat your outdoor kitchen like your indoor kitchen, then you’re already starting off strong. When the party is over, be sure to wipe down your surfaces. Any grillmaster worth his salt has an abrasive grill brush, so be sure to give your grilling grate a quick brushing while it’s still warm. This will remove any loose debris and make it easier to clean the next time you’re getting ready to cook. Wipe up any spills and make sure to bag up your trash so you don’t attract bugs or other pests.

We’d also like to channel a little Hank Hill and remind you that this is a good time to close off your propane tank. Many people only switch off the burners on their grill, but closing the valve on the tank will ensure that you don’t lose valuable propane to a slow, hard-to-detect leak. Nothing kills a party like finding out that you have to put dinner on hold while you run out for a fresh tank.

Even steel, tile, and granite have a sensitive side

Stainless steel, stone, and granite can create some of the toughest surfaces around and they’re a perfect choice for outdoor materials. Even though they seem bulletproof, they actually have a soft side. Granite, for example, can be porous and prone to staining if it’s not maintained. Skip all the fancy cleaners and just get in the habit of using soap and warm water. It’s a great cleaner for untreated surfaces, and if you have a sealed finish on your granite, it won’t break it down like harsh cleaners and polishes. Tile and steel can also stain if you don’t clean up spills, splashes, or food debris.

Likewise, using a bit of care when you’re cleaning stainless steel makes a huge difference. You’ll also get best results by using a soft cloth to clean with nothing more than soap and warm water. Just scrub with the grain of the metal and you’ll get a fresh, like-new shine in minutes. Using steel wool or abrasive scrubbing pads might seem like the way to go, but it only takes a little bit of pressure to scratch the surface if you’re not careful.

Like anywhere else in your home, try to clean up any spills as quickly as possible.

Winterizing made easy

When the season winds down and you start wearing fuzzy slippers instead of flip-flops, it may be time to shut down the outdoor kitchen for the winter. In about 15 minutes you can have your outdoor kitchen buttoned up, and this easy routine will save you time and money next spring. Disconnect your propane tank and make sure there’s no standing water in your sink or refrigerator. Give the surfaces a quick wipe-down, and then cover the whole operation with a cloth or tarp to protect it from debris and bird droppings. Removable cushions on your outdoor furniture can be brought inside, or you can cover them with a tarp as well. When the weather starts to warm up, reverse the process and you should be ready to pick up where you left off in the fall. If you forget to close everything up for the winter, you’ll probably need to spend a few hours cleaning and you might even have to replace some parts that were damaged by frost, weathering, or animals.

Breakdowns happed, but don’t let it get you down

The inside of a grill is a pretty exciting place, with drastic temperature changes and all the roasting, basting, flipping, and searing that your culinary prowess is known for. It’s only natural that pieces will get damaged or wear out, and being quick to replace these pieces will help keep everything in working order. Most grill manufacturers supply a full line of replacements for the grilling surface, burners, heat shields, and connections. High-end manufacturers like Weber or Traeger often provide lifetime warranties for components, so keep their website handy and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger if it’s time to replace something.

When it comes to getting ready for the upcoming seasons, Red Valley Landscaping has all the tools you’ll ever need. Whether you want to fully transform your outdoor space or just give it a bit of a facelift, our skilled designers and craftsmen are ready to give your backyard its best life. One call is all you’ll need to take that first step into a more elegant world.

Don’t have an outdoor kitchen but want one? We can help!

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