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

Cleaning the Gap

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!

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

  • Waterwoman
    Posted at 13 September 2011 Reply

    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!

      Posted at 08 December 2016 Reply

      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 🙂

  • Tammy
    Posted at 31 January 2012 Reply

    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
      Posted at 31 January 2012 Reply

      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!


  • Laura Zechin on Facebook
    Posted at 09 July 2012 Reply

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

  • Sailing Anastasia on Facebook
    Posted at 10 July 2012 Reply

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

  • Renee Klapper
    Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

    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.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

      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.

  • S/V Dos Libras on Facebook
    Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

    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!

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

    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: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000S8EQFO/?tag=theboagal0a-20

  • Dawna Bate
    Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

    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.


    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

      Thanks for adding that! I’ve never heard of them, but it makes perfect sense. As always, this is what I love about TBG — lots of people sharing info!

  • Bejay Redford Linde Grackin on Facebook
    Posted at 17 February 2013 Reply

    thank You!!!

  • Darlene Burnett Price
    Posted at 10 October 2013 Reply

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

  • Sami Bolton
    Posted at 16 September 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Heather Drost
    Posted at 16 September 2014 Reply

    Pooh I needed this today! Great timing!

  • Nancy Maurer Rieckmann
    Posted at 16 September 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Jennifer Kelly Majoros
    Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

    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!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

      If you look hard enough, there’s a silver lining in everything?

  • Sami Bolton
    Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Zee Hag
    Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

    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

  • Amy Adams
    Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

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

  • S/V Dos Libras
    Posted at 18 September 2014 Reply

    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.

Post A Comment