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Why You Shouldn’t Wait a Year to Clean Out Underneath Your Oven {Ahem}

I was looking for a mini muffin pan and couldn’t find it. So I had the “brilliant” {ahem!} idea to pull out the oven drawer and look underneath it.

Word to the wise: do not perform this exercise without seriously preparing yourself for what you might discover. I was thoroughly unprepared…

I pulled out the oven drawer and almost screamed. There were enough pieces of food living under my oven to fill up the entire dustpan. I kid you not.

It was nearly horrifying as I’d been feeling like I was doing a fairly good job of keeping my home clean and orderly recently. Yikes! Apparently not!

After using the vacuum attachment to sweep up all the nasty particles that had been residing under the oven for way too long, it stilled looked pretty awful.

It took lots of elbow grease, but I finally got it looking much better. And I’ve promised myself that I will do my best to not wait an entire year again to clean underneath my oven.

However, at least these pictures can make you feel better about any mess you might have at your house. Because I’m pretty sure that I win the award for Dirtiest Oven Floor of the Year. 🙂

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  • Sandy says:

    I’ll bet most of us are guilty of neglecting under the stove…and the refridgerator and the washer and dryer too. 🙂

    • Dahlia says:

      I can’t even get under my oven to clean it like that, the bottom part is a warming drawer and it is enclosed by the oven exterior. I stick the vaccum under there as far as I can (the attachments part) and hope for the best! Last time I vaccuumed out a basting brush!

    • Carol says:

      agreed! time for us all to add a thing or two to our homemaking binders!

  • J says:

    These type of moments are so scary. I found enough cat hair underneath a shelf in the hall way to knit 3 cats. Ugh. We vacuum daily and scrub floors once a week. Exactly where does t his come from?

  • Amanda says:

    I was expecting something living! I think growing up with cats who didn’t always make sure mice were dead before bringing them home does a lot to dispel squeamishness.

  • You haven’t seen yuck until you’ve cleaned out 6 years worth of the former owner’s behind-the-oven grime! Yay for purchasing a former “hoarder home”! I think it filled 4 or 5 dustpans and took several buckets of mop water. So…..your pics actually look pretty clean to me =).

  • Marty B says:

    I try to do it every few months or so but am always unhappy with what I find under there. My son is crazy about rolling things like blueberries under my stove. How it happens I just never know. Life goes on. 🙂 Same goes for the couch. I clean under it when I vacuum but it never stays clean for long.

  • Yup, under the oven is where every little bit in my kitchen seems to end up. If someone drops a ball or plays with toy cars or spills beads, it all heads under my oven!

    Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to take out the drawer to clean under there, but I don’t do it terribly regularly.

  • Debbie Bolen says:

    It seems like I am always finding places I have NEVER cleaned before. How does that happen. I am a clean freak so these places must really hide from me. LOL

  • Lyndsay says:

    I can make you all feel a bit better, I’ve been in my house for over a year and haven’t moved the stove. Maybe my next project?

  • Blair says:

    You’re supposed to clean under the large appliances? I missed that memo. 😉 we had a cat that used to take the new tamping from their box in the bathroom and hide/play with them. We used to find them stock piled under the stove of our first home. You never know what you might find under the stove or fridge.

  • Shaylin says:

    Our kitchen floor is slooped so in order to get a level surface, it is pushed up in the front…making it easy for very big things to get under our stove! But because bigger toys roll under regularly, I do tend to clean it out more often.

  • Lori says:

    I once waited longer than I should to clean under my fridge. I am still recovering!

  • Jolene says:

    Don’t feel so bad. My daughter went to camp and brought back a lizard. I had to go out and the lizard got out. I couldn’t find him anywhere. We also had a puppy, he’s now 4. We thought maybe he had a midmorning snack of lizard. Until one day, when I pulled out my stove to clean behind, and found a petrified lizard. That was enough to make me want to run for the hills. I can’t pull out my washer and dryer; they are too heavy. I don’t want to know what’s lurking back there.

  • michelle says:

    We have found missing toys under our stove…..seriously don’t know how they fit under there but they do. My son’s Henry the Train (from the Thomas series) was under there for like 6 months. We searched high and low for that train and gave up, when another toy got stuck under the stove we found Henry 🙂

  • Mary says:

    We recently moved to a rental with a gas stove and I was unsure how to open the stovetop to clean underneath. It doesn’t seem to get nearly as dirty as our electric did so I let it be. Well, the stove quite lighting and when the technician came to look at the stove he opened the stove top (which I had never done) and it was full of mouse droppings! I also have always prided myself on keeping a clean home! The mice had eaten through the electrical modulator that lights the stove and were living inside the stove top between the range and the oven. I was so disgusted and mortified!

    • Joy says:

      When I was growing up a mouse crawled into our gas oven. Unfortunately, we didn’t know it and my Mom lit the oven to preheat it. To this day after 30+ years, I am still haunted by the smell of burnt mouse fur. Ick!

      • Susan says:

        I live on former farmland surrounded by farmland that hasn’t been developed, so we do get mice from time to time. I grew up on a farm and I’m not overly squeamish about critters, but this grossed me out … one time I turned on my counter-top toaster oven to heat up and a few minutes later heard noises coming from inside. Yes, a mouse. Eee gads! I didn’t want to let the thing loose so I left the room and let it incinerate, after which the whole toster oven went straight outside into the trash. Like I’m going to cook in it now — not!

  • Hmm this makes me nervous to see what’s under mine. Come to think of it I probably havent given it a second look since we bought our home almost 2 years ago. Putting it on my list for this weekend 😉

  • Jenny says:

    On the bright side, this shows you are diligent homemaker, providing wonderful, homecooked meals for your family each night!!

  • Joy says:

    Wait until you have to clean your bathroom sink drain! That will make you hurl more. LOL.

  • Amy Stout says:

    LOL When I pull mine out there are always cat toys and magnetic letters and numbers under there.

  • Amie says:

    At 8 months pregnant, I’m thinking I’ll let mine go two years. I probably won’t be brave enough to blog about it, though 🙂

  • RuthS says:

    If you want a true confession, I’ve lived in this house 5 years, and this is the first time I realized I could pull the drawer out from under the stove 😀 (But I did clean underneath the stove within the last 2 weeks–I just use a yardstick to get the stuff out from under it.) Now I have some scrubbing to do 🙂

    • Holi says:

      I didn’t know it came out either!

    • Missy says:

      We had a mouse living in that drawer once! EEK!!! :/

    • Lorie says:

      I had no idea the drawer came out either! Been in our house for 7 years now. I do put one of those snaky cleaning things under there and pull out all sorts for things, but now that I know that the stinkin drawer comes out..not sure if I WANT to know whats there!

    • We’ve had our stove 13 years and I never knew that either! I think I’ve moved the stove twice (*blush*) in the 13 years to clean under it – we have a tiny kitchen and moving appliances is a major pain! I do slide the vacuum cleaner attachment under there fairly regularly and occasionally sweep the broom handle under there to get out anything “big” (like toys).

      The two times I’ve cleaned under it, we just have a million crumbs and random magnets from the fridge under ours. Maybe I should check just to be sure…….


      • Kathy L. says:

        Lea–I win. I’ve lived in my townhouse for 14 years and never even thought to clean under the stove. It wasn’t until two months ago when I bought my new stove and the delivery guys moved the old one out that the floor was cleaned. One of the delivery guys said, “I didn’t see anything” when I said how the floor was disgusting. Later he admitted that he always says that to people. I thought that was nice of him. Now I know that I can remove the bottom tray and clean, because there was no way that I was going to turn off the gas to the stove in order to pull out that heavy-ish appliance.

        • LOL!!! What a nice delivery guy – can he come to my house next time too?

          I did remove the dawer last night – ugh. Actually though, the inside of the dawer was worse than the floor! I don’t store anything in there but the broiler pan (which we never use) so I hadn’t looked in there for a while. I’m waiting until spring when I can take the drawer outside and hose it down! :S Yes, it was that bad!

          And I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I want to know what those delivery people see! Yikes!


  • Lana says:

    I have a drop in that has been there for 33 years. Let’s not think about what is under that one. 🙂

  • Jeanne says:

    When we purchased our house 7 years ago, the previous owners had the dirtiest floor under the stove ever. My husband pulled the stove out and there was so much spilled rotted food, grease and who knows what that I almost threw up. I could not stand looking at it and made my husband clean it up. And it was not easy for him to do. I bet it had never been cleaned in the 18 years they lived there! It was terrible. I don’t know how these people could live like that but then again, the rest of the house was pretty dirty too. Terrible!!!! You really need to pull the whole stove away from the wall the depth of the stove to clean well.

    • J says:

      I thought we bought the dirtiest house…must be more than one out there! Took two of us two solid months of heavy duty cleaners to dig through the yuck…

  • Jennifer says:

    Quick question: do you still use motivated moms planner? Wondering if it is worth trying? Thanks!! Love your website!! 🙂

  • Don’t look under mine! Having pets makes everything dirtier and hairy!

    • Lorie says:

      So true! We just bought a Rainbow Vacuum and i’ve been disgusted at the cat hair I’ve been picking up by vacuuming our floors that our old one left behind!

  • Heather says:

    If that had been me, I probably would have just thought, “Oh, it’s not too bad yet,” and put the drawer back! Ha ha ha. There weren’t even any toys, hair elastics, magnets, or pencils under there!
    I keep the visible parts of my house pretty clean and tidy, but I’m just not that motivated to clean stuff like that that people can’t see. But I do once in a blue moon. Like when a favorite toy goes under and the child fusses about it.

  • Diana says:

    Crumbs give me heebie-jeebies too! And I had to clean out the toaster today because a small slice of bread got stuck. I had no idea my toaster was as bad as it was and I was thinking the same as you–I’ll be doing this more often after this!

    And your ‘after’ photo looks great, too 😉

  • Sarah says:

    Wow! How much mess did yoy find? Enough to fill up a dustpan?! What has the world come to? LOL

  • Susan says:

    Okay, with the way this post started I thought you were going to say you found dead and decomposing mice under there. Dirtiest oven floor of the year award??? Girlfriend, I’d bet 99% of oven floors out there are worse than that.

    I bought a new refrigerator last summer and was horribly embarrassed at how awful the floor under the old fridge was. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when the delivery men pulled it out, but oh was it nasty. The men made me feel a little better when they brushed it off saying they see worse all the time.

  • Sarah G. says:

    Under my oven usually looks a lot worse than that – and I clean it every few months! 😀

  • Shauna says:

    My husband and I were just discussing that we need to pull out our fridge and oven. We haven’t moved it since we moved in 4 years ago. I cannot even imagine what it looks like back there.

  • Sol says:

    I forgive you and myself. 🙂

    • Jenny says:

      Ummmm….. I’ve lived here for 6 years and have never once even THOUGHT about cleaning under the stove……

      • Rae says:

        lol, I only clean it when we have to move the stove (didn’t even know the broiler drawer comes out) so when we get a new one or something drops back there. Mine is always WAY worse than that photo. Same with the fridge and washer/dryer. But then again, Crystal’s “worst ____ mess” posts are never as bad as some of the messes we’ve had here so … 😛 lol

  • Tina says:

    So…did you find your muffin pan? 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      No… and I’m not sure where else to look for it!

      • Tiffany says:

        Try looking in your toddlers things. I use my mini muffin pan for sorting activities and such. Good luck finding it.
        And btw I refuse to clean certain areas of my 1972 kitchen. We are going to demolition everything in there. Seriously everything. I won’t even paint over the peach color on the walls, because I know they are coming down. Praying for the new kitchen in the next few years. (Anyone know how to get on HGTV for a new free kitchen?) 🙂

        • WilliamB says:

          I’ve looked at many a house with a eye toward purchase. The kitchen is so bad (ugly, poor quality, badly laid out) that I had to mentally add the cost of a new kitchen to the asking price of the house.

  • Lynn says:

    What happened to the muffin pan? Did you find it?

  • Elizabeth says:

    Everyone’s ‘under the oven’ gets that bad and it’s often forgot about.
    I have a friend that pulls every appliance out near daily to clean but she’s the quite literal sense of OCD.
    Could be worse we took apart the stove last weekend because I got an awesome idea on how the clean the top and got water down into it (gas stove). Found an old mouse bed and needless to say the things that come along with it. Yeah needless to say I gloved up for that. *shivers in disgust*

  • lisa says:

    Eh my floors look like that not sweeping for a single day heck even an hour after sweeping and no one else home particles seem to appear out of no where and I have stuff to pick up if I go over the floors again.

  • Becca B. says:

    Thank you for the inspiration! I’m not sure if I’ve ever cleaned under my oven and we’ve lived here almost 2 years! I’m not very good about thoroughly cleaning my house, so when I see something that I never think to clean, I go ahead and do it. Mine was pretty disgusting, but is now sparkly clean. Thank you!

    • Kim says:

      I’m afraid to even think of pulling mine out. We have about a 1 inch gap between our stove and the counter and our utensil holder is right next to it. I swear I’ve dropped enough utensils behind the stove or down the gap in the last 7 years to supply a full kitchen, not to mention the kids and cats toys and such, but I’m just too afraid to pull it out and mess up the natural gas lines. Probably should just man-up and do it though lol

  • No good can come from looking under the oven…or behind the fridge 😉

  • Emily T says:

    …and theres nothing like hearing a mouse to get you to move your oven AND fridge to clean under and behind them…DURING nap time!

    • Dawn W says:

      I was also in the “dark” on this topic. I seriously had no idea the bottom drawer came out. Where have I been all these years? So today I cleaned under the stove and found all kinds of fun things…toys, markers, magnets and loads of dust. But now it is sparkling clean!! This discovery was the wake up call I needed and I also cleaned behind the fridge too!! Thanks Crystal for the inspiration 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    Crystal that’s funny I actually tackled the same thing today, we adopted a (new to us) older cat and he’s got some pretty long “arms” he kept trying to get something out from under my stove so I finally broke down and took out the drawer – I found no less than 10 cat toys under there! It was like Christmas for the kitties!

  • KimH says:

    lol… I had a sister in law who cleaned under her stove & refrigerator at least every other week.. I really hated that I did good to clean under mine every other year.. 😉
    I really need to do that right now too.. It is scary, isnt it… At least you know its all clean now! 🙂

  • Erika says:

    We rent our town-house. I never even thought about needing to clean UNDER the oven… but now I’m completely terrified to look. I can only imagine what would be under there from the previous tenants that lived where we are…
    Maybe I should convince hubby that *he* should check it out instead of me 😉

  • Jesilee says:

    Oh my gosh, soo many comments are much worse and down right scary at times… (thinking of mice and lizards…)

    My Oven doesn’t have a drawer, and I am not sure if I can really move it (its somehow lower because this is a handicap accessible apartment with cutaways under the sink and all) so I don’t want to think of things beneath it.

    However yesterday I decided to clean my drawers, and in doing so pulled them out completely for the first time. I found so many things! Like utensils and resume papers (not mine) and kid’s toys! (I don’t have kids yet!) Along with the crumby mess, it was very eww.

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