Having clean, well-maintained, and unique cabinetry is most home cooks’ dream. But fulfilling this dream is a tiring task in busy kitchens. There’s always moisture, heat, and wetness in a functional kitchen impacting its cleanliness and outlook.
Since wooden surfaces cannot withstand constant exposure to moisture and heat, they end up looking weary and dirty even when you try to keep them clean. Steam is a huge reason behind the wear and tear kitchen cabinets go through.
If your cabinetry is also a victim of constant heat exposure, or you’re conscious about keeping your new kitchen spick and span, you have landed in the right place.
Today we will talk about the damages steam causes in a kitchen and how you can timely overcome them. So read on and protect your precious kitchen cabinets from this prevalent danger.
Does Steam Damage Kitchen Cabinets?
Steam is the hot air that rises while you cook food in a stovetop pot or run your coffee maker for a cup of espresso. If this hot air continues hitting a particular spot, i.e., the underside of a cabinet, it can badly damage it.
If your kitchen cabinetry is painted or laminated, the steam will only damage its outer layer, and the wood inside will remain intact. But this is not the case with old, uncoated cabinets.
Most old kitchens have pure wood cabinets that look excellent but aren’t immune to heat damages. Let’s assume your coffee maker sits under a kitchen cabinet while the exhaust hood is away from it.
When you run the coffee maker, it releases a generous amount of steam that directly hits the underside of your cabinet.
You might not notice any damage because of this practice initially. But, if you don’t conceal the cabinet or divert the steam, it will indeed cause irreversible damage to your cabinetry.
What are the Types of Steam that Can Damage Your Kitchen Cabinets?
Before we head towards finding ways to fix steam damage in a kitchen, it’s important to find the reason behind it. Many home cooks are oblivious of the damage their electronic appliances cause and blame only the stovetop if their cabinets go bad, which is not true.
Here are the main culprits that cause steam and heat damage in a kitchen:
Stovetop cooking releases a huge amount of steam and water vapors into the air that hit all wooden and metal surfaces in their vicinity.
If you have an advanced ventilation system installed in the kitchen, stovetop steam won’t harm the cabinets.
But if the steam rising from your cooking pots hit directly under the wooden cabinets, you’ll soon see trapped moisture and chipped lamination there.
Water boils in the upper compartment of a coffee maker, and once it’s done, a strong steam wave rises from its vents.
Since most kitchens have electric outlets under the wooden cabinets, your coffee maker will likely be near the cabinetry, risking its well-being.
Coffee makers emit steam with a precise focus, so the wooden surface it hits is prone to getting extremely damaged.
Sure instant pots make cooking a breeze for you but don’t compromise your precious wooden cabinets because of it.
When you use a high-pressure setting in the instant pot, it releases a lot of steam through the pressure valve.
This steam can trap under the wooden cabinets’ lamination and damage their look if left unattended.
Dishwashers run a steam-drying cycle after washing the dishes, increasing chances for moisture evaporation in a kitchen.
If you see water droplets on your dishwasher’s door latch or upper side, it might evaporate and land on the nearest surfaces – the countertop and cabinetry being the easiest targets.
Homes where the dishwasher is regularly used, are prone to facing dampness and humidity in the kitchen; the cabinetry is no exception.
How Can You Protect Kitchen Cabinets from Steam Damage?
Protecting kitchen cabinets from steam damage sure takes some extra effort, but it’s worth the hassle. Whether you have laminated ply cabinets or wooden ones, follow these steps to prevent them from steam damage:
When moist air doesn’t have an outlet, it accumulates in a kitchen, eventually risking the safety of all appliances and fixtures. Therefore, having full-range ventilation is inevitable for any kitchen.
If you already have a ventilation hood above the stove, turn it on while running the coffee maker, instant pot, or stovetop to ensure no water droplets remain trapped inside your kitchen.
Another way of strengthening a kitchen’s ventilation is to keep its doors and windows open whenever feasible.
Let the fresh air come inside your kitchen while you use any of the above-listed appliances, and keep water-related damages at bay.
Leaving water droplets on any wooden surface can damage it; your kitchen cabinets are no different.
No worries if your kitchen doesn’t have an advanced ventilation system, keep some towels handy every time there are chances of moisture evaporation in the kitchen.
If you run the coffee maker while it sits on the countertop, wipe the underside of your kitchen cabinets afterward to ensure there’s no moisture left behind.
Do the same after using your instant pot, dishwasher, and stove so the steam cannot get inside the cabinets’ lamination.
Use a dry and soft cloth for cleaning kitchen cabinets because coarse sponges and rugs can leave tiny scratches behind.
If there’s grease build-up on your kitchen cabinets, use a soft sponge soaked in soapy water to clean it but don’t spray water directly on the wood.
If regular cleaning and proper ventilation don’t protect your kitchen cabinets from steam damages, you need insulation sheets. These sheets are either silicone or metal; you can choose whatever suits your budget/preferences.
Install insulation sheets under and over your kitchen cabinets to conceal them. When steam hits an insulated surface, it slides down instead of penetrating it. You can easily wipe the droplets from these insulated cabinets and prevent steam damage.
Steam and heat can badly damage your kitchen cabinets if you don’t find a practical solution for them. Ventilation, insulation, and maintenance are three surefire ways to protect kitchen cabinets from moisture damage.
Start by improving your kitchen’s ventilation, make sure water droplets emitted from electronic appliances/stoves are timely wiped, and cover your kitchen cabinets with insulation sheets to keep them intact.
Don’t leave the cabinetry unattended because it impacts your kitchen’s look and practicality. Keep it clean and airy to prevent these damages!
How to clean greasy stains from kitchen cabinets? Mix liquid dish soap with warm water. Soak a sponge in this solution and wipe the grease surface with it. If the stains are stubborn, rub them for 2-3 minutes and use some elbow grease. Rinse the sponge under tap water and use it to clean the soapy residue from the cabinet. Repeat this step unless the grease build-up and cleaning solution are off from the cabinet.
Can steam damage laminated cabinets? Yes, steam can damage laminated cabinets, but it is a slow process. When you don’t wipe water droplets from a laminated surface, they penetrate inside it and form small air pockets, slowly eroding the entire layer.