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My oven sits in between two countertops with perhaps 1/2 inch of total wiggle room, which means that I have two roughly 1/4 inch gaps that are ~36in deep in which all manner of crumbs and food mess falls on a regular basis. I'd like to clean these areas out to cut down on any food smells and potential insect issues, but I haven't come across any good solutions for doing so.

Anyone have any suggestions for cleaning crumbs (and potentially stuck on food) out of long but narrow gaps?

Edit: Someone asked about what I'd tried so far, so adding that as a note here: My first thought was to secure a Swiffer or other dust-collecting cloth to a meter stick to make the equivalent of a narrow duster, but this was still too thick to fit inside the gap. I haven't found any other long stick-like implements that are long enough to reach in far enough while still being thin enough to meet the gap. I'm in an apartment, so I didn't see how the oven was put in and thus am hesitant to try pulling it out of place. I have, however, removed the oven's bottom storage pan and cleaned underneath it. That's helped, but I suspect there's more waiting in the wings, so to speak

  • My first thought was to secure a Swiffer or other dust-collecting cloth to a meter stick to make the equivalent of a narrow duster, but this was still too thick to fit inside the gap. I haven't found any other long stick-like implements that are long enough to reach in far enough while still being thin enough to meet the gap. I'm in an apartment, so I didn't see how the oven was put in and thus am hesitant to try pulling it out of place. I have, however, removed the oven's bottom storage pan and cleaned underneath it. That's helped, but I suspect there's more waiting in the wings, so to speak – bgottfried91 Oct 30 '15 at 20:55
  • Please add your comments to the question by using the Edit link immediately below the question. Comments have a tendency to get removed... – Adam Zuckerman Oct 30 '15 at 21:35
  • can you put something down there, like a piece of cloth that will catch falling crumbs and so on, so you can just pull it out to clean up? That way you sidestep the issue – bigbadmouse Aug 1 '18 at 8:23
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If you have a spare wire coat hanger handy, you could straighten it out into a long thin pole and wrap some cloth around it tightly (enough for it not to fall off, but not too much so that it doesn't fit in the gap). Then use an in, wipe across, then out motion to get all the bits that are not reachable by hand.

I use this technique for cleaning down the back of my wall-mounted radiators as the gaps are too narrow for my hands. Hope this helps.

  • Excellent suggestion with the coat hanger! Thin, but strong enough to support the weight of the cloth. I'll be trying that in the next few days :) – bgottfried91 Nov 30 '15 at 20:55
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I can only think of two things which will fit in such a narrow gap - a bamboo cane (the sort of thing used to support plants in the garden) and, even narrower, a yardstick (http://www.amazon.com/Westcott-10420-Wood-Yardstick-36/dp/B00112U3JY). Bamboo canes vary in thickness though, and some of the longer ones are really quite thick, so you'd need to select one the right length and width. Yardsticks are usually only 3 feet long, so although it would fit in the gap quite well, it won't be long enough to reach right to the back. Either way, you have to wrap them in some sort of fabric - I use old pillowcases or large teeshirts, cut up, wrapped tightly round the stick, tied or stitched lightly in place at the top, insert and draw out several times to try to remove loose stuff initially. Then wet the material and cover with a cleaning product such as Mr. Muscle kitchen or whatever, then reinsert and draw out several times. If you've used a bamboo cane, it might be possible to rotate it in the gap, which does a better job of cleaning. It's not perfect as a solution, but it does a reasonable job with a bit of effort.

Long term, it's probably sensible to fix wooden battens between the two counters and your oven to prevent stuff falling down there in the first place, if at all possible.

  • Upvote; this is the solution I was thinking of too. Instead of the battens (in the second paragraph), you may be able to get away with adhesive tape that matches the color of or stove and counters. For example, our stove and counters are both black, so I could use either black electrical tape or a narrow strip of black duct tape. The intent, of course, is to "bridge" the space between the counter and the stove so nothing can fall in between. – BrettFromLA Oct 31 '15 at 15:22
  • I'm going to make use of techyTim's suggestion for an immediate scraper (if I can't get the oven itself out), but the suggestion of the battens/electrical tape is excellent! I'll be sure to do so once I've gotten it cleaned out to ensure I don't need to go through the process again. – bgottfried91 Nov 30 '15 at 20:54
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Assuming this is an electric oven, sliding it out from between the two side counters makes it trivial to clean both the counter and oven sides. Make sure to protect the floor from the sliding feet of the oven; squares of cardboard generally work well (as long as you make sure they move with the feet).

If you have a gas oven I wouldn't recommend this, as life could get very entertaining without much warning.

  • Electric, so I think I'll give this a shot some weekend; probably take an old cardboard box I have lying around and see if I can slide it under the oven before pulling it out. – bgottfried91 Nov 30 '15 at 20:55
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I have fashioned a broom stick with dollar store baby booties (or paper towels) rubber banded around the end of the pole to clean btwn my refrigerator and side cabinet. You’d think someone would’ve invented a product to sell by now. Sigh,

  • That adds little to the existing questions. Also, people have invented products to do this, they are available in any hardware shop. – Chenmunka May 7 '18 at 13:28
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I actually used a blunt metal sword that I had that I kept for the cool pirate look it had!! Maybe you can find something like this or even a hard plastic long sword now from a costume shop or second hand...I pulled a few sheets of wipes from a canister and folded them a few times and used the sword to push it down and pull it back out. Worked well for me!! Now I am probably going to put thin black electrical tape over the gap to close it up.

  • If the thinnest stick he has in the house with a single layer of cloth is too thick, I am sure your sword would be too thick as well, likely way to big. – Willeke Oct 13 '18 at 9:30
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Take the drawer out under the oven and suing a whisk broom sweep under the edge of the sides of the stove. I have the same problem and by the time you put a cloth around a stick it's to big.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • 1
    This was already mentioned in an edit to the question. – Willeke Dec 19 '17 at 17:40

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