Cleaning the Gap

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2011 • all rights reserved

On a boat, food and grease will get between the counter and stove. How do you clean it, without totally removing the stove?

After I wrote about using stove gimbals, Sally on Hopalong wrote and asked if I knew of any great ways to keep food from falling into that gap between the counter and the stove — where the gimbal is.

Periodically, you can remove the stove from the gimbals and “really” clean the sides with a good degreaser or ammonia (or even oven cleaner on metal surfaces) — check your stove documentation for details on how to remove your particular model.

But Sally’s question was more of what can I do to avoid the little bits of food and grease spatters from getting down there in the first place.

It’s just sort of gross when you see it, but more importantly it can attract bugs and other critters.  Getting rid of food debris is an important part of fighting — or better yet, avoiding — a bug infestation.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way to avoid having little bits of food fall into the gap.  Theoretically, you could have some sort of flap made to covOn a boat, food and grease will get between the counter and stove. How do you clean it, without totally removing the stove?er the gap, but it would have to be nonflammable and hinged so that the gimbal would still work.  I don’t know of anyone who has done this.

What I did instead was to use my bottle brush — it was just the right size to go in between — and some degreaser spray.  Since the brush handle wasn’t long enough to reach all the way back, I used some duct tape to attach it to a piece of dowel or a knife (see photo).

On a boat, food and grease will get between the counter and stove. How do you clean it, without totally removing the stove?You can spray the brush with a cleaner (I really liked a product called Awesome — first saw it in Baja, now it’s in Wal-mart and dollar stores) or degreaser, or try to spray it in the gap.  Ammonia in hot water also works well — swish the brush in the solution, then scrub.  (UPDATE:  My new favorite for any job like this is Krud Kutter.)

I did this probably once a week or so on our previous boat and we managed to avoid any major roach infestations. On our current boat, my stove isn’t gimballed but there is a small gap between it and the wall behind it . . . so I still have to clean it!

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  1. I have used a childs mop to get in the gap under the stove, your idea of the bottle brush will be very helpful. Thanks!

    • MONA BOYLE says:

      That would work well. I recently have taken to an extended handled Swiffer (which bends) and left the fluffy head on for traction. Then I use a magic cloth (with whatever cleaner you want) and use that to get into all the bendy corners under and around the stove. Works quite well for me 🙂

  2. I used a short strip of sail batten with a towel wrapped around one end secured with zip ties to clean the gap. The secret weapon was a product called Krud Kutter I bought at an Ace Hardware store. That stuff cut through the gap crud like a hot knife through butter.

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Thanks for adding that — I discovered that if you can’t find it near you, Krud Kutter is available on Amazon — a quart size spray bottle or a large gallon bottle. Very concentrated, non-toxic and biodegradable — in other words, good stuff!


  3. Ahh! Life is made of the ”practical stuff!”

  4. I HATE that place!! It is the gutter and sucker of all crumbs and nastiness! Thanks for the tips!

  5. Renee Klapper says:

    By the looks of the gimbal stove in the photo it has the same problem mine does. The lettering/numbering where the knobs are is almost worn off. I’d like to know if anyone else has had this problem and what you did to put the oven temps etc… back on in the right area. I’m afraid to scrub mine very much (it needs a good degreaser) so the remaining faint letters/numbers don’t come completely off.

    • Well, actually mine never had oven temps on it — it was just a knob you turned. I made marks with a permanent marker (you can also use a drop of nail polish if the knob is black) to show about where 350 was — I used an oven thermometer to know for sure. However, you’ll have to use the degreaser before making marks with either a marker or nail polish, as they won’t stick to grease.

  6. My husband made me a gap cleaning tool by ziptying a piece of microfiber cloth around the end of a batten. I used a product called Krud Kutter and it cut through the stuff on the walls like warm butter. Very easy!

  7. I recently bought some Krud Kutter to try, but I’m not totally out of my old degreaser so haven’t tried it yet. Couldn’t find it in a local store, so got it on Amazon:

  8. Dawna Bate says:

    Here’s a great bottle brush with a longer handle. (They’re actually called vase brushes.) I use these at home for all sort of cleaning and will have a set on our boat as well.,50560,10209

  9. Bejay Redford Linde Grackin on Facebook says:

    thank You!!!

  10. Well, I hadn’t thought about cleaning that but will do it. Thanks.

  11. OH let me count the ways. Finally I found a metal strip made for that purpose that fit well enough. Until then I wrapped a paper towel (or several) around the longest knife (or chop sticks or whatever) sprayed in KrudKutter and it melted gunk like a knife through hot butter.

  12. Pooh I needed this today! Great timing!

  13. I have slowly been cleaning mine as the previous boat owners never did. I would like to remove it but….so I spray any grease cutter I can down there and use a long dow rod with an old rag soaked in cleaner. Scrub, scrub. One day it will be all clean and pretty again.

  14. Not 10 minutes ago my husband dropped a pot lid down behind our stove (we have a Gemini 105Mc too!) and I know there’s already a fork back there, so tomorrow I’m afraid the stove will have to be pulled, then the side cracks can be cleaned completely!

  15. Another thing that’s a very good grease cutter is rubbing alcohol mixed with two-thirds alcohol one-third of water in a spray bottle.

  16. place aluminum foil between stove and wood, making sure no gaps exist and go for it..nothing gets in that space to need to remove. vacuum weekly and when needed

  17. I designed and made my galley with NO gap. Forward thinking

  18. My husband made me a cleaning tool out of a short piece of batten. He used tape to secure a dish towel to the end and it just fits between the gap. I use Krud Kutter sprayed on the towel to cut the grunge that’s in there.

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