Saturday, 12 August 2017

A cold kitchen means time to clean the Aga

I can't remember a time before we had an Aga. It was one of the reasons I was so drawn to this house. The kitchen is warm and cosy, where lots of memories have already been made. I've been asked if I'm not scared of it, cooking on something you can't change the heat up and down without immediate effect. Truth be known, I would never be without one now. I've always enjoyed cooking but since moving here, this has become a bit of a passion be it cooking, preserving, baking etc. 

I've said many time before, the Aga is like a member of the family. We gravitate to it, dry clothes on it, air boots, defrost food (and ourselves after a winter walk), make toast, boil the kettle, cook tea, make one pots, keep food warm waiting to be served, warm plates, rise bread, keep your mug of tea warm and quickly dry out tea towels to name a few.

So when I came down this morning, on day 1 of my time off (yey, 2 weeks off work now!), I felt a shiver when I went in the kitchen to see the poor girl not very well. Despite it not being a cold morning, the kitchen was missing her heat and when I went to check, she felt cold and sad. Steven has taken a good look at her but despite our best efforts, she's going to need an engineer to come out to figure it out.

We decided to see a silver lining in all this and teach ourselves how to give her a really good clean. Now as many of you know, the Aga is always on, you can't clean inside and the best you can do on the top and front is wipe over it with a damp cloth. Well I haven't done a great job of this as when it was off the amount of build up behind the hot plate was immense. 


I started by taking the doors off. The roasting oven puts up with a lot, we cook everything in there on one way or another. The door was dreadful but I didn't realise until I'd cleaned it.


I lightly scrubbed it with a Brillo soap filled pad and it came up great.


I did the same for the simmering oven but that was still very clean.

Then sitting infront of it, I cleaned where the doors hang on. I didn't do inside the door holes too well as there's grease in there to help them swing easily however the little washers that are supposed to be there too had corroded so I need to get the engineer to get some more. 

It came up really well too. The odd tiny chip but you can't notice that when the doors on.


I then turned my attention to the front of the doors. There's only 2 that come off on my 2 oven model. They scrubbed up well and I just used a soft scrubber that you'd do the pots with, not very abrasive so no need to worry about the enamel.


The lids were removed to allow us to get right in and clean them. What a build up underneath. Not sure if it's all ours but they are sparkling now. 

Before we started we had visited a local aga showroom at Gateshead. I say local, it's 35 mins away. We bought the proper enamel cleaner and cloths which isn't a purchase I take lightly as for me, a cloth is a cloth and cleaner a cleaner. However as the old girl is probably twice my age but still looking brand new, I want to give her the attention she deserves. The cleaner will last a good while and the cloths wash and are fully reusable.


The also tried to sell us a razor blade cleaner but I knew Ste would be able to knock one up so we declined that offer!  You use them to scrape (not dig) along the surface to take off any build up. This takes it out of your fingers so we took turns. The white bit at the back is where I'd started using the cream cleaner and said to Ste to bring in the heavies as the cream cleaner wasn't going to cut it!


That left the front which didn't take long and the lids. Inside the simmering oven lid was worst but I'm not sure why as the spitting would come from the hot plate. Who knows. Anyway, that came up well using the Brillo soap filled pad too, gently though.


Before we put the lids back on, Ste lifted out the drum from the hot side and took a look in where we know the engineer cleans out. The wicks look like they've had it and they are dry as sticks so maybe the oil isn't getting through. We did clean out the little holes and hoovered using the soot Hoover but no luck when we tried to light it again (after waiting some time for new oil to flow through). 


She looks beautiful again. After seeing all the new modern ones in the shop today, as great as they are, I'd take this girl over them every time. 


Although this wasn't how i intended spending day 1, it's been productive and a good job done. Any tips from your experiences very welcome. Thank you for reading.

12 comments:

  1. We have the Legacy model of an AGA, one of the newer models. Same color as yours! Here in Canada, it wouldn't really make sense to have one that is literally on all day long but I truly wish we could have had an authentic AGA. Love ours to pieces and have regrets at all for the investment we made. Yours looks great again!! Thanks for sharing your AGA story today. X Chy

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    1. Hi Chy, lovely to have you commenting - thanks for taking the time to comment. I get really excited when I see another Aga the same colour as ours haha - sounds silly but it's like home from home. The newer models are much more efficient no doubt and if we had moved somewhere without one we'd have looked into them as I wouldn't have any regrets getting one, like you too. After seeing the new all singing and all dancing models, I felt like my girl was still holding her own which I was proud about :) Take care x

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  2. My mother in law had an AGA from about 1953, in Vancouver BC Canada, like yours, but I think the covers were chromed, the rest was cream coloured like yours. It was fuelled by coal, and it was hard to get the right kind of coal at times. We had wonderful dinners cooked on it, she also brought laundry in from the line, and smoothed it on the covers, made sure it was all dry before putting it away. One very bad winter in the 1960's the electric power went down for quite a few days. She kindly opened her house to all the neighbours with babies and small children to bathe and prepare food for them. We had wonderful meals cooked in and on her. Aga was definitely a part of the family. Life went on, and when the family home was sold Aga stayed, and was converted to oil or gas, and last we heard was still giving heat and comfort. (the hot water tank was connected to her). I have always wanted an AGA, but never lived in a house that was suitable to accommodate one. Such happy memories of her!

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  3. Hi Jeanne, thank you for sharing this lovely story - truly heart warming and it has brightened up my Sunday morning, thank you. You mother in law sounds like a lovely lady, very kind of her to open her house up to everyone. We've often wondered what it'd be like if we had an electricity cut here and the Aga would still be up and running - very cosy! Ours was solid fuel and the people before us had her converted to oil (no gas here). We have an oil fired boiler for the water otherwise would look into getting the water ran from it too. Thanks for commenting, lovely to see :)

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  4. Our Aga is very similar to yours and so true they are like a member of family! Definitely my favourite non-living thing in our home - I'd give up every other appliance before her!

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    1. Hi Teresa - I second this wholeheartedly. The Aga covers a variety of abilities, she'd definitely stay over anything else (non living ;) )

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  5. Your Aga looks beautiful. I'd love one - one day!! My mother in law's got one - she transformed hers using special enamel paint and it's now a gorgeous royal blue colour. Looks very professional - you can't even tell it's been painted.

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    1. Hi Mrs :-), I was so grateful this house had one, it really does make the home. I've heard about the paint transformations, very professional and a great way of upcycling. The Aga's will continue to be around a very long time if we manage to keep restoring them, which is great.

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  6. It looks wonderful! I still miss my Aga. I had a cream 4 oven electric one and it was definitely the heart of the home. There's a deep satisfaction in cleaning one isn't there? A real labour of love :-)

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    1. Hi Ali, thanks for stopping by. Do you know, it's funny you say that as I normally hate cleaning (so much more to life ;) ) yet I enjoyed doing this, to see it all shining and ready to be lit again (hopefully) is wonderful. A 4 oven - wow - that would be even more amazing.

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  7. So funny. Jon decided to clean out the flu on the Rayburn this morning. Not quite a spur of the moment job as we had said it needed doing before we lit it again next month. I've taken photos, too, and hope to share. She truly does look wonderful but sorry you'll have to have an engineer out to fix the problem.x

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    1. It must be that time of year! Going to read your post now x

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