How Do I Protect My Cabinets From Coffee Maker Steam?

July 28, 2022
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The Many Ways to Protect Cabinets from Warping and Discoloration

Who doesn't love a fresh-brewed cup of coffee in the morning? But coffee makers produce steam that can damage your beautiful kitchen cabinets.

Repairing damage from steam is tricky. But luckily, there are some ways to protect your cabinets from coffee maker steam in the first place!

Photo of a Man Examining Cabinets

Excess Moisture From Steam Can Damage Cabinets

You don't have to choose between your morning coffee and your beautiful kitchen cabinets. But don't wait until the steam burns show up or the cabinets start to melt. Take action now to protect your cabinets from the coffee maker steam.

Factors To Consider

The two factors below will affect the amount of damage steam from your instant pot coffee maker has on your nearby cabinets.

Cabinet Material

Higher-quality woods and other materials will be more resistant to heat and moisture. In contrast, lower-quality wood will warp and absorb water faster. The lacquer or finishing you have can also play a role. The thicker the finish, the less coffee maker steam will penetrate the painted cabinets.

Cleaning Habits

If you don't clean your kitchen cabinets regularly, especially the areas exposed to heat and steam, they're more likely to show damage. But if you clean your cabinets often and wipe them down, there's a lower chance you'll notice any issues.

So, How Do I Protect My Cabinets From Coffee Maker Steam?

Below are seven things you can do to protect your cabinets from steam damage.

Clean Regularly

You can wipe your cabinets at least once per day with a microfiber cloth to help preserve the material by removing excess moisture. Wipe the cabinets whenever you use the coffeemaker, or notice droplets on your cabinets. Keeping the cabinets dry and clean can prevent damage.

Improve Ventilation

If your kitchen has poor ventilation, this can worsen the steam damage to your cabinets. One of the most helpful things you can do to protect your cabinets from steam is to improve the ventilation in your kitchen.

You can do this by keeping windows open, turning on the ceiling or standing fans, and installing ventilation fans if you don't already have one.

Install a Heat Shield

Heat shiels are thermal barriers that protect materials from nearby heat, steam, and smoke. Heat shields will divert the heat and steam of the coffee maker away from your cabinets, and they're a pretty affordable solution.

Photo of a coffeemaker on a kitchen counter

A Coffee Machine Can Generate Steam That Could Put Your Cabinets At Risk

Laminate Cabinets

You can laminate the bottom and edges of your cabinets or the cabinet door to reduce the possibility of water damage and preserve the material.

There are many different laminate options available that can protect your cabinets. However, a laminate will not protect the cabinets 100%. If you add a laminate, you should also clean them regularly.

Install Water-Resistant Cabinets

This remedy is one of the toughest because it means completely replacing your cabinets. If you're installing new cabinets, this is the perfect moment to opt for water-resistant or waterproof plywood so that you can brew coffee freely.

But if you don't want to renovate your kitchen and add custom cabinets, try one of the other options discussed here.

Buy a Steam Diverter

A steam diverter is an affordable and decent solution to this problem. Steam diverters are hard plastic or silicone tubes that you can place on top of your coffee machine where the steam exits.

The tube has a bend, so the steam blows away from the cabinets. These diverters aren't the most effective way to protect your cabinets and are best when used in conjunction with routine cabinet cleaning.

Move Your Coffee Maker

If the above methods for protecting your cabinets sound like too much work, the most straightforward remedy is to move your coffee maker. You can move the coffeemaker forward on your counter every time you use it. You can also place the coffeemaker on a center island or table away from cabinets.

Photo of a Percolator on a Stovetop

Keep Your Coffee Machine or Percolator Away From Wooden Cabinets to Reduce the Chances for Damage

You can do this every time you use it and store it elsewhere. Or you can leave it out for convenience. Survey your kitchen and see if there's a good spot where you can easily use your coffee maker without putting your cabinets at risk.

Potential Cabinet Damage From Steam

If you're skeptical that coffee maker steam can damage a wood cabinet, the possibilities may surprise you. The below section details what can happen when you don't protect your cabinets from steam.


Painted cabinets can fade, and wood cabinets can darken. If you love the color of your cabinets, your coffee maker may ruin it in the long run.


If water seeps into wood cabinets or custom cabinets, it can result in the wood expanding, giving your cabinets a warped and distorted appearance. They may also not open or close how they should if the cabinet door warps.


Plastic cabinets or wood cabinets with lacquer could melt from the coffee maker steam. Not only is this frustrating and unattractive, but melting cabinets can also pose a fire hazard.


Steam burns are when the heat from steam scalds a material. Steam burns can create white streaks on your cabinets that are difficult to remove.

How To Fix Steam Damage

There is no remedy for some steam damage other than to replace the cabinets entirely. But there are some ways to reduce the appearance of steam burns or discoloration caused by your coffee maker or steam espresso machine, like those from Mr. Coffee.


The easiest way to remove the white marks from steam burns is to wash them out. This remedy won't be possible with all types of cabinets, but worth a try.

In a bucket, mix warm water with just a tiny squirt of dish soap. Don't use too much dish soap, or the cabinets will be sticky afterward. Add about a cup of white vinegar to the mixture and stir gently.

Using a soft sponge, dip it into the mixture and then wipe down the cabinets, paying particular attention to areas with steam damage. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Then wipe again. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the cabinets.

This trick should reduce the look of steam marks, but you can do this a few times every other day to try and eliminate them.


When there's no way to undo the damage, a common solution is to repaint or relacquer the cabinets so you can't see the stains anymore. But you can view this as an opportunity to try a new color in your kitchen!


Besides wondering, "how do I protect my cabinets from coffee maker steam?" people also ask these common questions relating to steam damage in the kitchen.

Can dishwasher steam damage cabinets?

Because dishwashers are lower than coffee makers, the damage is not usually as bad. But dishwasher steam can also damage cabinets if not cared for properly.

Can steam damage countertops?

Steam usually only damages laminated countertops. But sensitive countertops can take steam damage from dishwashers and other appliances.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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