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4 Tips To Keep Your Outdoor Kitchen From Rusting

The outside of a well-built outdoor kitchen can rust over time, especially when placed away from direct sunlight. Here are some tips to keep your barbecue, refrigerator, oven and smoker in good shape.

An outdoor kitchen is a fantastic, practical, and beautiful way to spend the summers outside and host great parties without being cramped inside the house. Cooking outside has a different feeling from cooking inside and can be more relaxing. One downside of having an outdoor kitchen is that it can easily rust.

Keeping rust out of an outdoor kitchen can seem like an impossible task, especially because rust can happen indoors as well, just not as frequently. Following these tips to prevent rust will work like a dream. If your outdoor kitchen already has rust, there’s no need to worry because there are easy ways to get rid of it.

Why Does My Outdoor Kitchen Rust?

Outdoor kitchens are gorgeous and add a special aesthetic to any backyard. Rust can easily ruin that aesthetic and make even the most well-cared-for outdoor kitchens look unsightly. 

Rust occurs when you let metal stay wet for too long, which being outside, can seem impossible. When metal is wet, it oxidizes and turns into rust. It is important to prevent rusting in as many ways as you can. It is also just as important to start removing rust as soon as you notice your metal starting to turn.

An old stove with rust on fire.
Rust occurs when you let metal stay wet for too long, which being outside, can seem impossible.

If you don’t work on removing rust as soon as possible, it can permanently damage your outdoor kitchen and you will need to replace parts, which can be extremely costly.

How Do I Protect My Outdoor Kitchen?

Protecting your outdoor kitchen is the most important way to prevent it from rusting. You can do several things to prevent your outdoor kitchen from rusting that are easy and won’t cost an arm and a leg. 

Cover Your Outdoor Kitchen

Covering your outdoor kitchen can seem like it will destroy the aesthetic of having an outdoor kitchen, but it doesn’t have to. There are two main ways that you can do this:

  1. Installing a canopy or gazebo.
  2. Purchasing covers for each appliance

Canopy or Gazebo

If you install a canopy or gazebo, you can do this in several ways. It’s essential to ensure that you have adequate airflow in your outdoor kitchen. A canopy or gazebo is a wonderful way to cover your outdoor kitchen from the rain, and it will also give you some coverage when the hot summer sun is beating down on you. 

Outdoor kitchen with a gazebo roof.
Gazebo is a wonderful way to cover your outdoor kitchen from the rain.

Additionally, some canopies and gazebos come with curtains, or you can purchase compatible curtains to close everything up during a bad storm or the off-season. 

Purchasing Covers  

Another way you can cover up your outdoor kitchen is to use covers for each appliance. While this can seem less than ideal, it is still possible. It’s not as permanent as installing a canopy or gazebo, but it can be time-consuming. If you live in a drier climate, this might be better for the off-season.

If you purchase covers, another possible downside is covering everything before a storm can be more urgent. If there’s a lot of wind, this can also be a difficult task.

Turn Sprinklers Away

Rust occurs when water sits on metal for too long, and it oxidizes. Outdoor kitchens can be very susceptible to this, especially if you have a sprinkler to water your lawn. If you have sprinklers in your yard near your outdoor kitchen, ensure that they don’t spray your outdoor kitchen. 

A kid running away from the sprinklers.
Ensure that sprinklers don’t spray your outdoor kitchen. 

Allowing water in an outdoor kitchen can lead to not only rust but also a safety hazard for slips and electrocution.

Keep Appliances Clean and Dry

One of the best ways to prevent rust in an outdoor kitchen is to keep your appliances dry. Besides putting a canopy or gazebo up and turning your sprinklers away, you can make sure to always keep your appliances dry, especially after cleaning or rainstorms. Allowing your outdoor kitchen to air dry will allow it to rust.

A manwiping the griller.
You can make sure to always keep your appliances dry.

The best way to do this is to keep a pile of bar rags handy in your outdoor kitchen, so when anything is wet, you can just give everything a quick wipe-down to dry it off. 

Winterize Your Outdoor Kitchen

If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, consider winterizing your outdoor kitchen to prevent any rusting while you aren’t using it. When you winterize your outdoor kitchen, some things you should do are:

  • Thoroughly clean and dry all appliances. Remove any interior parts such as fridge shelves and grill plates.
  • Turn off the gas, water, and electricity running to the outdoor kitchen.
  • Cover and protect any appliances you can’t store.

What Do I Do if There’s Rust?

You may already have rust in your outdoor kitchen or might just want to be prepared for what to do if you do notice that your outdoor kitchen is starting to rust. If you notice rusting early enough, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The most important thing to do is immediately take care of the rust before it turns into a problem.

Some things you can do if you notice there is some rust:

  1. Scrub the area with a hard-bristle brush to remove the rust.
  2. Make a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Always apply and scrub off going with the grain. Don’t use an abrasive tool to scrub like steel wool. 

Common Places to Find Rust in an Outdoor Kitchen

Even though you’re already taking all the precautions to keep your outdoor kitchen from rusting, you should still check some rust hotspots in your outdoor kitchen periodically to see if any rust has started to build up. 

A rust on the grill.
Taking care of rust before it becomes a problem is the best way to care for your outdoor kitchen. 

You should always check during the beginning and end of the season for signs of rust and maybe one or two times in the off-season. This is essential because taking care of rust before it becomes a problem is the best way to care for your outdoor kitchen. 

Some of the biggest hotspots for rust in an outdoor kitchen are:

  1. Inside the grill.
  2. Underneath the grill and refrigerator. 
  3. Sink faucets.


The most important thing to keep an outdoor kitchen from rusting is to keep it dry, whether you’re protecting it or drying it off any time it comes in contact with water. Remember that the best way to take care of a rusted outdoor kitchen is to act immediately. If you let rust build up over time, it will ruin your outdoor kitchen completely.

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