Cleaning behind the stove

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Kitchen, Tips and Tricks60 Comments

Every time I move something from where it’s been sitting for a long time, I realize just how gross my family (myself included) is!  You know what I’m saying?  All of those spills and crumbs and dust-bunnies that haven’t seen the light of day and then they are exposed?  Even the cleanest, tidiest house has a few dirty secrets.  And one of the best hiding places for splatters, crumbs, and grease is behind the stove.  I mean, seriously, how often do we pull out the stove to clean behind it?  I don’t know about you, but in the 11 years I lived in my last house, I pulled out the stove three times – once for tiling the floor, once for painting the walls, and once for tiling the back splash.  Each time we moved it, I took a few minutes to clean the sides of the stove and all sides of the recess.

In the kitchen in our new house, we were having a gas line installed, so they had to pull out the range to do that.

And it was no surprise that there were some splatters and spills that needed to be cleaned.

Now, no judging!  This house was otherwise clean, so my guess is there hasn’t been an excuse to pull this stove out for a while!

There is our pretty, new gas line!

So, while the stove was pulled out, I took the time to clean back there.  I used SOS scour pads.  They are steel wool pads impregnated with grease-cutting soap, so you just wet one and start scrubbing.

Here it is mid-scrub…

I used the scour pads on the cabinet, the floors, and the walls.  Then, I wiped off the soap with a wet paper towel and lastly, sprayed them with Mrs. Meyers Lavender cleaner and wiped them down one last time.  That final step was to make it smell nice.  It was smelling a little like old grease back there.

And ta-da!  Soooooo much better!

I was nervous about getting too close to 220 volt power with a wet scour pad, so it’s still a little dirty around the outlet, but we’re having a new dual-fuel stove installed in a couple of weeks and I’ll take a few minutes to finish cleaning when that happens.

Until then, I thought this would be a good cleaning tip to share.  Curious what it looks like behind your stove now, hm?

It’s probably a good idea to do this once or twice a year, but you at least want to do this before you have repair/renovation work done that involves pulling out your stove!

Cleaning behind the stove

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60 Comments on “Cleaning behind the stove”

  1. Oh, man, that’s something that’s been nagging me in the back of my mind for some time now. Your post might be the nudge I need to do it already! Nice cleaning job – love the tip about the soap filled pads, too. 🙂

    Like others have mentioned before, I’m amazed at how much work you and your lovely helpers have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I love checking your blog daily for all the latest and greatest improvements. Keep up the amazing work; it’s looking so beautiful!

  2. I guess I’m old-school (actually I’m just old), but I grew up using S.O.S. or Brillo pads to scour our pots and pans, and I still use them on my pans that aren’t non-stick. I never thought to use them on anything else, but now I will. Just don’t use them on your stovetops or other finishes you don’t want scratched up.

  3. I too am old enough to be familiar with SOS pads but I have found that the steel wool has a tendency to scratch and stain especially on painted surfaces. Bon Ami is such a wonderful cleaning product that has been around for ever, too. It doesn’t scratch, has no odor and is made with four natural products. I use it on everything but sometimes grocery stores don’t carry it. They will usually stock it if you ask, though.

        1. Oh my goodness, I grew up with SOS pads, a powdered stainless steel cleaner that my mom used on her pots that I don’t even think is made anymore (Bar Keeper’s Friend makes a good one now), and Bon Ami, they were my mom’s favorite kitchen/bath cleaning products, along with Comet with bleach as a scouring powder. I now use BKF as a scouring powder, and their stainless steel formula in the silver container as a cleaner for pots.

          I’m in an older, non-updated apartment in L.A. that’s a bit on the skeevy side, and I know for a fact that not only is my gas range older than I am, but it likely hasn’t been moved or cleaned behind in this millennium. I know it hasn’t happened in the 13 years I’ve been living there, and I doubt the frat boys that lived there before me bothered. I’m TERRIFIED of what I’d find and/or disturb if I moved the stove! I’d rather just pack up my stuff and move house LOL!

  4. When we moved out of our house of 15 years, I moved the stove one last time to clean. Besides the typical grossness, mice had made a hole in the back wall and left lots of evidence of themselves. So it was smelling like grease and mouse (one of the worst smells, IMO). Luckily, the new owners were going to completely remodel the kitchen, so it would look much worse before it got better anyway. I hope they didn’t judge my housekeeping skills too harshly. It seems almost impossible to keep mice out of a house when you live in the country.

    1. Yes, it is very difficult to keep mice out of a house in the country, but I would like to warn folks about the dangers of the Hantavirus. It’s found in the droppings of deer mice, white-footed mice and other rodents. Please be careful around mice droppings, wet it down with bleach before removing it, as we had an aquaintance die from it just 3 years ago.
      Also, Marian, are my eyes deceiving me or are the sides of the cabinets painted white?

  5. I am probably off the charts OCD or its a holdover from my FLYLady days but any month that has 5 weeks (a week to me is more than 3 days) I move all my furniture and vacuum behind and under – which includes the stove and fridge. So about 3 sometimes 4 times a year I do this, I used a product called “Awesome” mixed with water. Spray down, wait a few minutes, wipe off! Works fantastic!!

    I will say that when we purchased our home, it had been a rental for 15 years; I pulled the stove out to clean behind it there was a fork imbedded in the grease on the side of the stove. I replaced the stove I was so grossed out!!

    1. AWESOME is truly awesome! I keep it all over…, bathroom, laundry and garage. You can buy it at Dollar Tree for $1.00! They also make a pre-laundry soak – same price.

  6. Another great product for cleaning, as well as for stains in fabric and carpeting, is SPRAY NINE. As a teen, my son worked at a car dealership and was given it to clean any grease that may have made its way into the interior of the car while it was being serviced. We have been using it since then and it is remarkable.

    Yep, moving a stove out is such a treat. Yuk.

  7. Hi Marian!
    I always read your post before any others and always enjoy them. You are kind, honest hard-working and generous. So, with limited time I read your post, was reminded to clean behind my stove and went on to one other blog I enjoy for her “blog roll.” I usually read the titles of the posts before clicking on any of them. I came across so many that seemed to want to encourage me to purchase something and then I saw yours (again)…and I had to come back to comment. I just love your blog for all of the tutorials and gorgeous eye candy but also the posts on everyday life. You are special! Have a great day!

  8. You are so brave to post a behind-the-stove shot. The before-and-afters are a tribute to the power of elbow grease + optimism.

  9. I have to admit~ I’m a freak as well~ I move my stove and fridge~ I also purchased that (probably to expensive, IDK what I was thinking) new vacuum cleaner a Shark? I love this thing. I also purchased the pet and extra parts for under the stove and fridge. It’s a BIG help and makes heavy once or twice a year cleaning behind the stove so much easier.

  10. I cannot pull my stove out by myself. But this morning it needed a repair and oh my! So funny this was your blog today – the day I got to see all the yucky stuff behind my stove!

  11. Oh my I do not want to pull mine out!!!! I know it has got to be done and it is one job I dislike

  12. Like you, we moved just a couple of months ago and replaced the brand new electric stove with my brand new gas stove – someone else had already done the cleaning!

  13. I recently found drip stains on the front of my stainless steel refrigerator. No one admitted to putting them there, so I don’t know what caused them. I have tried stainless cleaner, vinegar, baking soda,
    Dawn, and even a tiny bit of lemon juice. Does anyone have a solution for stubborn stains on real stainless? I sure would appreciate knowing what to do. Thanks, from a MMS follower.


    1. A couple of ideas….just hot soapy water, dry, then repolish with an oil based polisher for stainless by Misty.

      More agressive….LIGHTLY rub in the direction of the grain with a red/garnet/maroon 3M scotch pad…not back and forth….one direction only so as not to scratch. Or you might even try the same method with the less aggressive gray 3M scotch pad first before going to the red one. Then wash with hot soapy water and repolish.

    2. Ditto on the hot soapy water with a basic old fashioned dish cloth. This works best for me. If I don’t want to take the time, which usually takes at least 3 rinses, I’ll just use windex. I don’t bother with stainless steel cleaner anymore. My SS refrigerator is never without marks though, ever! I’ve just learned to live with it, which has been a bit of a struggle for me :/ My sister and I dream of white cabinet integrated refrigerators for our kitchens 🙂 So tired of the upkeep of ss.

    3. I worked in a restaurant with a kitchen open to the diners. We cleaned all of our stainless with club soda on a soft cloth. It worked wonders and left no streaks. Of course being a restaurant, we had club soda on tap. Now that I’m out of the restaurant biz, I buy club soda in the bottle to clean my stainless. An old tee shirt works great!!

  14. Ugh…I hate to think of what’s behind my stove…Now I’m not complaining, but behind my stove is the least of my kitchen issues…my husband and daughter are the new dinner cooks these days and oh my…the kitchen floor and cabinets, back splash, refrigerator, sink…actually the entire kitchen becomes a major disaster every night…but they are so proud and it is nice to come home to a prepared dinner…so behind the stove will just have to wait. I do love your cleaning tips but I may have to use them for all the parts that show. 🙂

  15. Diane,
    I was told by a Lowe’s appliance employee to clean stainless with Pledge spray. I have cleaned/polished my fridge and dishwasher with it for years…works like a charm. Good luck!

  16. I’m old fashioned and probably old too. I clean behind the stove once a year. I can’t stand the thought of how nasty it gets back there.

  17. So don’t laugh, but cleaning under the stove and fridge is my favorite kind of kitchen cleaning. Just cleaning something that needs it so badly and knowing it is clean makes me feel good. My third fav is the top of the fridge. I’m insane.

  18. Since I’ve recently shared that I just finished painting my entire kitchen (all white, of course) the moment I’d been dreading more than edging was moving the stove. When I did I cringed. Dust bunnies galore with evidence of the former owners cooking spills! Yuck. BUT I have a cleaner that made the task sooo easy. ZEP All-Around Oxy Cleaner & Degreaser. Just spray and it foams up and it does it’s thing. Return in a few minutes and wipe away. For behind the stove or frig it takes several passes but it gets the job done. But…you may want to keep a fan on or the window open. This works so well on ceiling fan blades.

    I’m retired and from the “Betsey Crocker Generation so I have no excuse for not doing this yucky chore several times per year.

  19. Ditto here. I pull out the stove and the fridge as part of my yearly spring cleaning. After seeing how nasty it gets back back there, I would hate to think about only doing it every few years!

  20. Moving into our rental house, we were greeted with layers of grease and dirt. I tried everything to remove it easily. Then my mother suggested a product called Krud Kudder. It can be found at Lowe’s. I couldn’t believe how great it worked. It is hands down my go to cleaner now. It’s also non-toxic and biodegradable. I would suggest it for those areas that you don’t want to scratch with the SOS pads.

  21. I’ll see your “behind the stove” and raise you one “behind and under the frig.” A new appliance demonstrated how stuff can build up (and apparently GROW) behind and under that heavy, not-easy-to-move thing. You’re brave to show the process. Thanks for sharing

  22. I’m curious…what dual fuel range have you decided on? My husband and I are in the process of building our retirement home and I’ve been shopping for a range. I’m strongly considering the Kitchenaid 48″ dual fuel range.

    I’m living in a rental right now and I don’t dare look behind the stove. Too scary to think about.

  23. My best tip is a bit of Dawn detergent on a really hot cloth. And lots of rubbing, then a microfiber towel for buffing .. sometimes I need to do this several times, but it works

  24. To Diane, I worked for a cleaning company and we used Windex for stainless and a microfiber cloth. The oil based cleaners just attracted dust and smudges.
    We used a wet Mr clean magic eraser for drips used ONLY in the direction of the grain with only as much pressure as needed start lightly. Finish with Windex.
    Hopes that helps.

    Oh behind the stove, we just put new flirting down last November I bet it’s really gross back there already ! I have a friend that does behind appliances once a month, more power to her !

  25. The best stuff to use is krud kutter! It dissolves grease and cleans just about anything! It is especially great when moving into a new house or apartment that needs to be cleaned in the kitchen. You can use it on cabinets counters stove hoods etc.

  26. I am from the SOS generation also, but love BKF too. Thanks, Marian for sharing one of the grossest of gross chores as a homemaker. I appreciate your openness and honesty in sharing your journey with us. Blessings!

  27. I love cleaning…I know I am a freak “). But one on my favorite products for grease removal is the Awesome Orange degreaser from Dollar Tree. It is better than anything else I have ever used and it is only a buck! Can’t beat that and as soon as you spray it on the grease just dissolves – no hard scrubbing. The first time I used it was on a barbecue, it was a mess but the grease just rolled down the front. I couldn’t believe it. Best cleaner ever.

  28. Spray Nine is THE BEST cleaner that I have ever used, just make sure you read the ingredient list before purchasing. This cleaner was used by the custodial staff in the school district where I worked before retiring. Unfortunately, it was banned because of the ingredients, and the school district felt it was unsafe to be usedaround children. Spray Nine is available at Home Depot in gallon size containers, but it is available in a smaller spray bottle. It is an industrial cleaner, and I have heard it is used in boat yards. I have used to clean grease stains from car mats. I hose them down in the driveway. Lots of soap suds. Beware! It will remove stains from carpet AND lighten the colour also!

  29. A few years ago we bought the house next door to us for my mother. It didn’t look bad at first glance, until we got a closer look at the appliances (which was written in the contract to stay behind – we REALLY should have looked closer). They were sosososososososo nasty they all ended up in the dumpster except the fridge, which my mom wanted to keep in the basement as an extra. I would have dumped it too. Wish I had known about all these great cleaners. We ended up using a PUTTY KNIFE inside bottom of fridge to get the gunk up! And we won’t even go into what we found when we pulled everything out! It was an experience for sure. We pull our stove out every now and then for cleaning. I like Super Clean – it’s an automotive cleaner, buy it in a spray bottle or by the gallon. I use it for laundry too, and it’s excellent for cleaning outdoor furniture, siding, etc. – anything with fly spots.

  30. Bought a dual-fuel seven years ago and had a gas line run to our kitchen – love, love, love it! Enjoy!

  31. I’ve used the liquid spray version of Bar Keeper’s Friend. Just rub with the grain with a microfiber cloth and some elbow grease. Takes some time but cleans stainless…even my outdoor stainless grill.

  32. Our stove is a drop in. We’ve had to move the stove twice in the last few years. However, our kitchen is very small and the stove is awkward to move around. Which means that you have to be an acrobat to even SEE behind the stove. Needless to say I hadn’t been able to clean behind it yet! I shudder think what’s back there!

  33. Since you are talking about cleaning again, I just want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU , THANK YOU, for sharing the info about the Pumie Scouring Stick a while back! We are getting ready to sell our home and I’ve tried everything on the hard water lines in the toilets. The Pumie made them look like NEW toilets!!!!!! Weird but I smile at my toilets now!

  34. I clean homes for a living and I pull stoves and refrigerators out twice a year generally. I use Awesome , Spray nine ,Dawn ect too. One of the tricks is to let it sit, which is hard when impatient (like me). I mix with baking soda in a thin paste leave it for an hour and walla it come off fairly easily. Next cleaning is usually a breeze compared to the first one. Of course my own are a few years overdue

  35. There are so many cleaning products available today that yo can surely find one that works for what is needed.

  36. Fortunately, I just have a cooktop and a built-in oven, so this isn’t an issue, but if you’re going to do the stove, you might as well do the fridge too. It can get lots of food gunk beside it & it’s very beneficial to vacuum out, with the brush attachment, the dust bunnies behind it & along the front vent too. This will give your fridge a longer life, and we all know they don’t make them like they used to for what you pay for one these days!

  37. Thank you Marian and all the ladies who responded to my SS fridge problem. I have several things to try now.
    Marian, you are amazing and a continual source of inspiration. God bless you and your family in your new home and ministry.


  38. I usually only pull out the stove when I spill something between it and the cabinets. It’s pretty gross. Question, why didnt you just unplug the stove, and turn the breaker off to clean closer to the outlet?

    1. Ha, good question! I probably should’ve, but I wasn’t planning on spending 30 minutes cleaning behind the stove that day! I got the bulk of the cleaning done and figured I could finish that little bit when we removed the stove to install a new one.

  39. I cleaned when I bought a new stove this spring -the previous one was very old and way too heavy to move. It was gnarly back there!!!

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