So, you’ve installed brand new kitchen doors. Your dream kitchen is complete!

Now the challenge comes… to keep it looking as good as new for months and years to come.

To help you, we’ve put together this guide to help you prevent damage to kitchen doors.

Avoid Damage to Your Kitchen: Make it Last a Lifetime

Okay, so a lifetime is perhaps stretching it a bit, but we all want our new kitchen to last.

After all, installing a new kitchen is usually one of the biggest single expenses that you come across in terms of home improvements.

Whatever budget you’re on, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is having to replace your kitchen every couple of years.

How to Avoid Damage to Cabinet Doors

A new kitchen might not be for keeps, but you’ll want it to be for a good while. So, avoiding damage to your kitchen is very important.

Let’s look at some of the things that can cause damage to your pride and joy. Some of these are obvious, others less so.

Obvious and Not so Obvious Causes of Damage

But all these things have something in common, they cause damage to your kitchen – and that’s what you’ll want to avoid.


Damage to Your Kitchen Can Come from the Unlikeliest of Places

The humble kettle – a staple of the kitchen – isn’t usually considered to be particularly dangerous. Yes, you need to be mindful of the boiling hot water and steam that a kettle emits.

But other than that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your kettle is harmless.

Actually, a kettle can cause a lot of damage to your kitchen!

How to Avoid Your Kettle Causing Damage

Kettles can be quite damaging to the décor of the kitchen.

Sometimes homeowners position kettles under cupboards, to save space and avoid clutter on the worktop surface.

Steam Damages Cupboards

Putting a kettle under a cupboard is safe and not a fire-risk. However, a kettle can cause damage to your kitchen. This is because the steam a kettle generates can harm the appearance of the cupboard.

If you keep a kettle underneath a cupboard for a long period of time, there’s a good chance that the wood will become unsightly and discoloured.

Not only that, the wood can be weakened too. Steam-burn is a white film that forms on the surface of wood over time.

Indeed, the damage to your kitchen from kettle steam can be even more serious. Melamine cabinets could melt. Frequent bursts of heat can also cause the cabinet to dry out. It can cause warpage and shrinkage. In the worst cases, it can even cause the structure to fracture and splinter.

In conclusion, it’s really not a good idea to keep a kettle underneath a cabinet, if you want to protect the woodwork in your kitchen.

Where should you keep your kettle?

So, the question remains: where in the kitchen should you keep your kettle?

If possible, you should resist the natural urge to place your kettle underneath overhanging top cabinets. This will prevent steam from coming into contact with the bottom of the cabinets and avoid potential damage to your kitchen.

Decent ventilation throughout the kitchen is the key to protecting your kitchen from steam damage. If the space is properly ventilated, the moisture has an exit point. This ensures that the wood of the cabinets isn’t damaged.

Why Not Invest in Heat Shields?

Of course, it’s easy to forget this sort of thing, so another option would be to invest in heat shields for your cabinets. As the name suggests, heat shields protect the surface of the cabinets by deflecting heat and steam away from them.

If your kitchen is large enough for an island, that is a great place to put your kettle.

How Heat and Steam Damages Surfaces

Wooden cabinets are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat and steam. Essentially, it causes the wood to either expand or contrast as a result of the changes in humidity. This can have a noticeable effect on the shape of the wood. It can also affect the structural rigidity and integrity of the cabinet, as well as altering its physical dimensions.

Hardwoods offer better protection

Hardwoods offer better protection than the likes of plywood, which will contort and disintegrate relatively quickly if left in prolonged contact with heat and steam.

Prolonged exposure will affect all wood types. Fibreboard will alter in thickness. In time, the joints of the cupboard will weaken. Lighter woods, such as white sapwood, will darken when exposed to steam. Similar damaging results will occur with any type of raw or untreated wooden kitchen cabinet materials.


How to protect your kitchen cabinets from excess moisture

If wooden cabinets are exposed to excess moisture in the kitchen, it is important to do everything possible to boost the airflow to dry the wood out. If you have a kitchen that generates a lot of heat, a fan and a dehumidifier are certainly recommended.

Excessive Steaming Will Cause Damage to Cabinets

It’s vital that you remember that excessive steaming will always cause lasting damage, if the area is left untreated – or ignored – for long enough.

Keep Humidity Levels Low

Humidity levels are best kept below 55% to avoid the deterioration of wooden cabinets. The good news is that once you have gotten the humidity level down to an acceptable level and that level is maintained, indicators of damage will lessen very quickly.


Keep the Kitchen Well Ventilated

It’s worth remembering that it can often be quite difficult and challenging to add decent ventilation to an existing and established kitchen. If you are designing a kitchen from scratch, make sure that you factor in issues such as heat, steam and moisture – and plan for adequate ventilation around the room.

Reposition the Kettle

When dealing with heat and steam issues in an existing space, repositioning the kettle is probably the best option. It will certainly be cheaper and less challenging than trying to add other ventilation solutions instead. One option is an open area away from the wall – anywhere where the steam is able to dissipate into the air freely is a suitable position to choose.

An Extra Layer of Protection

Laminated cupboards offer an extra layer of protection against potential moisture damage. Laminated cabinets aren’t waterproof by themselves. However, the smooth coating that the laminate creates prevents water from seeping into the hardwood and therefore causing damage. Laminated cabinets tend to be glossy by default. Having said that, they can be painted any colour to blend in with your chosen kitchen design.


How to repair steam damage to your kitchen

Naturally, prevention is always better than cure. However, advice articles such as this sometimes come too late. So, what do you do if steam damage to your kitchen has already occurred? Well, fortunately, it’s not the end of the world. Repairing steam damage usually isn’t too difficult. Typically, the damage is relatively superficial – and is to just the surface. There are a few simple ticks and tricks that can be employed to repair affected areas.

Sandpaper can be used on damaged areas

Sandpaper can be used on damaged areas. Fold the sandpaper into thirds and lightly sand the affected area in an oval motion. The oval shape is necessary as it will enable you to blend smoothly with the existing finish. If you can see that the shine has been removed and exposed wood is showing, don’t sand any further.

Add a Layer of Varnish

Ideally, once the sanding is complete, add a layer of varnish that is in keeping with your woodwork. For the best possible results, this should be followed up with another sanding, and the addition of one further coat of varnish.

An alternative to sanding is to dry the affected the area of the kitchen with a hairdryer. Hold the dryer around 20cm away from the surface. Repeat the process 4 or 5 times a day at regular intervals until you see an improvement. Be patient – improvement will come! The hairdryer method is most effective on new and recent steam damage.

Common oven damage problems

After steam and heat damage from the kettle, the other appliance in the kitchen that is most likely to cause you problems is the cooker. One of the most common issues is when the units appear to be burning at either side of the oven.

Door Seal Issues

When this occurs, it is normally due to a problem with either the door seal or the door itself. If the cooker is a few years old, it’s typical for the door seals to become worn. When this happens, the door does not seal properly. This causes heat to escape, and this will lead to damage to your kitchen units.

Fold-Down Door Problems

Another common problem can occur with the fold down doors of the oven. Over time, the door hinges have a tendency to fail. Often, people rest pots and pans on the open door. The problem is that the hinges aren’t really designed to take on the extra weight. It will eventually cause damage to the springs of the hinge. As they warp and become bent out of shape, the door will no longer create a clean seal around the edges of the oven door.

Problems With the Oven Door Latch

Problems sometimes also occur with the oven door latch. Again, over time and through natural wear and tear, the door latch will begin to allow a certain amount of ‘give’ or movement. This can also mean that the heat from the oven escapes, potentially causing damage to your kitchen cabinets.

The importance of keeping ovens clean

Microwaves and gas ovens, in particular, need regular cleaning if you want the appliances to maintain optimum performance. Without this regular cleaning, the efficiency of the equipment will be reduced. The heating coil of the microwave can also be impaired. Therefore, you should always clean your oven after use.

Cleaning Doesn’t Need to be Intensive

This doesn’t need to be intensive – all it requires is a wipe down with a soft sponge or cloth that has been dampened with a mild dishwashing cleaner or simply water mixed with vinegar. Keep on top of this and the appliance should work at peak performance for a longer period of time.

Overfilling the fridge and freezer and other common mistakes

Most people know that a full freezer, generally, is more efficient than an empty freezer. However, there is one important caveat to bear in mind. If you overfill the freezer, it can block the air vents. As cold air is restricted, the fridge’s condenser is affected. This can cause the fridge to burn out. Similar problems can occur if you overfill the fridge too. Keep things organised and you shouldn’t experience any problems.

Cleaning a Gas Stove Burner

You should be careful how you clean the burner of a gas stove. This is an important part of kitchen maintenance.

Soap can rust gas range burners. It can also clog up light holes. This will cause the burner to flame more slowly. Never use soap or a scrubber. You should use only a damp cloth to clean a burner.

Always Read the Manual

The best advice is to always read the manual and follow the cleaning instructions carefully.

The moral of the story is definitely to keep on top of the regular kitchen maintenance and cleaning of all your kitchen appliances.

Of course, we all know how easy it is to skip the day-to-day wiping down and such.

Don’t Rely Only on Deep Cleans

Many of us tend to leave things to the very occasional ‘deep clean’. The thing with this approach is that it makes things harder on yourself, and you also run the risk of allowing damage to occur, which then becomes harder to deal with.

Even something as innocent as food debris can become a stubborn problem if left for too long.

By this, we mean not only the buildup of bacteria but also the long-term accumulation of dirt, grime and food debris.

Whether this is on the kitchen sink, coffee maker or kitchen walls, the longer it is left, the longer it takes to clean away.

Kitchen maintenance is easier if you keep on top of things.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning cabinet doors and all around the kitchen can sometimes seem like a minefield.

In general, warm, soapy water and a damp cloth can be all you need.

But baking soda, lemon juice and disinfectant cleaner are often mentioned as great ways to get the best kitchen cleaning results.

In general, harsh bleach-based kitchen cleaners are best avoided. The abrasiveness of some of these products can be very damaging to surfaces.

As previously mentioned, you should also check cleaning guides and manuals carefully.

However, you can’t really go wrong with a clean cloth and warm, soapy water. It’s the staple equipment of good kitchen maintenance and all you really need for day-to-day cleaning.

How to minimise the risks

It’s also important to regularly check the cables and plugs of all your appliances and kitchen equipment. Fraying, exposed wires, dents, and burn marks can all be a warning sign. You should never attempt to repair gas or electrical items yourself. You should always leave this to the professionals.

Turn off Equipment and Appliances

It’s a good idea to turn off all equipment and appliances after use and at the end of the day. This will minimise risk and save you money on your energy bills.

Get in Touch With the Team

If you are considering having a new kitchen, get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team. We are always here to offer friendly advice and share our years of expertise.