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 cover 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).
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!