Is it Time to Clean your AGA Oven?

Despite its sturdier build and overall solidity, an AGA needs just as much attention and care as a conventional electric or gas oven. While some homeowners use them throughout the year for cooking, the AGA’s ability to heat a home means that it really comes into its own. So if yours has been inactive or only partially used these last six or seven months, now might be the time to get it in tip top condition once again.

Inside, most AGA ovens are constructed out of cast-iron. As such, they’re pretty tough – particularly when compared with many modern materials. However, newer models do tend to have enamel exteriors, which are easier to damage. If these surfaces are getting a little grubby, make sure that you don’t use bleaches or any other potentially harmful cleaning products. Treat it with care, or you could risk ruining the finish.

 

As with any oven, you should look to carry out regular cleaning and maintenance to avoid any potentially problematic build ups further down the line. The more care an attention you pay over the course of a year, including wiping up any spillages and giving the inside a bit of a scrub every now and then, the less you’ll need to worry about later.

 As mentioned, don’t be afraid to really give the inside a good scraping, even using a wire brush if necessary. The AGA will be tough enough to take it, plus it allows you to get most of the accumulated dirt off without having to use potentially harmful chemicals.

If your AGA hasn’t been cleaned for a number of months or maybe even years, then it can be quite a tough job to get it back into shape. Again, you have to be extremely careful with how you actually go about it as there are some cleaners that can do more harm than good. Fortunately, as the individual doors can easily be detached, you should be able to get right into the belly of the oven and scrub away to your heart’s content. The location of the door and the extra care required around glass windows found on many modern electric ovens are immediately eliminated, making your task that little bit easier.

 Of course there are new AGAs and then there are models that have been heating the same home and providing meals to families for decades. If you have a contemporary oven, then you would be advised to consult the manufacturer’s manual before charging in and scouring every surface. Once it has been damaged or chipped off, enamel is extremely difficult to repair and replace. For those older cookers, it’s reasonably safe to assume that most already have scrapes and a little discolouration, although this is not an excuse to neglect them further.

If your AGA needs to be cleaned before the cold winter months fully kick in, but you don’t have the time or confidence to do so yourself, look to choose a specialist cleaning service. We help hundreds of customers who find themselves in this very situation every year. A little expert help, even if it is only once a year, really can go a long way.

This is almost on a par with ‘how long is a ball of string?’ After all, there are so many contributory factors that can affect an oven and the frequency with which it needs to be valeted. For instance, a cooker in a busy canteen is likely to be used with far greater regularity than one found in the average home. A great deal will also often depend on the kind of meals you’re preparing; roasting a belly of pork with fat spitting all over the place will probably hasten your need more than a slow cooked casserole.

 

So, in short, there is no definitive answer to the exact length of time that you can wait until cleaning your oven; however, there are plenty of things that you can use to guide your decision.

 

Visible Build Up

If you get to a stage where you can actually see the dirt and grime building up within your oven, it’s safe to say that it probably needs to be cleaned. As you’re probably already well aware, heating up fat can lead to instant combustion, as well as other unpleasant side effects. Therefore as soon as you notice that it’s looking a little bit grimy in the oven, you should start thinking about taking action.

 

Billowing Black Smoke

If you’re afraid to open the oven door when it’s in use purely because you know there’s going to be a waft of putrid smoke coming from within, then it’s probably a good time to do something about it.  Remember, if there is smoke coming out of your oven on a regular basis, and you haven’t burnt your meal, then there’s a good chance that there is dirt inside causing this reaction. Remember, this won’t just affect how your food tastes, but it can even be dangerous.

 

You Can’t Remember the Last Time

While hardly scientific, if you are struggling to recall the last time that you cleaned your oven, then there’s a fair chance that it is overdue a spruce up. Even if there are no tell-tale signs, there’s no harm in taking the time to clean it. After all, even if you can’t see grime or smell smoke, it could still be affecting the inner workings of the appliance; meaning that it takes longer to heat up or can never achieve the optimal temperature.

 

It’s certainly advisable that you take pre-emptive action, rather than waiting for your oven to become clogged up and inefficient. So the best advice is to simply keep an eye on how it performs and whether there is any grease building up. Even if you do give it a regular wipe down after cooking, it’s still important that you take the time to give it a thorough clean every now and then. This could be every six months or even just on an annual basis, only you can decide when it’s time – just don’t leave it too long.

 

Sometimes we will do anything to save a few pounds. Whether it’s buying cheaper products in the supermarket or hiring a friend of a friend to carry out building work on your home; if there is a way of cutting costs, it’s difficult to say ‘no’.

 

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t quite work out as planned. Maybe those low price beans are inedible or your friend’s friend accidentally puts his sledge hammer through the water mains. This kind of false economy happens all the time, and while it may all be a learning experience, sometimes it can be a painful one. So how might this translate to cleaning your own oven?

 

Poor results

 

DIY projects may provide a sense of enormous satisfaction when successfully completed; however, when the results don’t quite match your expectations, it can be more than a little disappointing. This is certainly true of oven cleaning.

 

You can spend hours getting the cleaning products, applying it to every inch of your oven, putting the trays on convenient bags only to then find that something has been missed or that not all the grease and grime has been removed. Then you’re faced with the prospect of trying again or just making do with a half clean oven; neither of which are likely to be particularly popular.

 

Damage caused

 

As with the earlier building analogy, there is always the chance that something may go wrong during the process. Whether you manage to crack the window or scrape off half of the enamel interior, any mistakes can be costly. Replacing a window, or even the whole door, may leave a severe dent in your monthly budget; if parts are particularly hard to find, you might even have to consider a new oven.

 

So you have to be careful. This means buying non-harmful cleaners and taking care when the oven door is open.

 

Personal injury

 

There are some cleaning agents that are relatively safe to use and unlikely to cause any damage; however, there are also those that are much more harmful. As a general rule, you should be wary of any product that includes caustic soda. This is can cause extreme irritation if it comes into contact with skin and can also wear away enamel.

 

It’s important that you cover up and take all necessary precautions, this may include wearing a long-sleeved tops and even goggles if you’re cleaning the roof of the oven. If the cleaner comes in contact with any part of your body, be sure to rinse it thoroughly as soon as possible.

 

Expense of buying products

 

While some may be concerned about hiring a professional cleaning service due to cost alone, you do have to factor in the price of buying the oven cleaner as well as any other equipment (sponges, scourers, gloves and goggles if necessary). It may still be cheaper, but that isn’t to say that it will be as cost-efficient as you first thought – particularly if you need to do it all over again shortly afterwards.

 

Of course it is always best to make sure that you clean your oven regularly. If grime is allowed to build up it can impair functionality and even cause a fire risk; so however you choose to do it, don’t hold back on oven cleaning.

Household fires can be absolutely devastating, particularly if they aren’t contained or dealt with swiftly. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common places for a blaze to begin is in the kitchen. With naked flames from gas hobs and 200 degree heat being produced by the oven, there is massive potential for accidents to happen.

When it comes to oven fires, there are a number of key contributing factors that could act as a trigger. These include the following:

Technical malfunctions

Due to the extreme heat within an oven, malfunctions are an ongoing risk. There isn’t a great deal that you can do to avoid any such issues, except to ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly or to report any potential issues that you spot – including erratic temperature variations or small flames and sparks.

Cleanliness

Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable. There really is no excuse for allowing your cooker to get to a state where it is so full of oil and greasy deposits that it is actually deemed unsafe to use. However, it does happen.

Every year thousands of fires are triggered by the residue of past meals. This is why it is so important that you take the time to clean your oven or choose an oven valeting service to do the work for you. Not having enough time really is no excuse for causing needless danger to yourself or your family; a few hours is all it takes to clean your oven and prevent a minor issue developing into something more serious.

Forgetfulness

Unfortunately a lapse of concentration can be critical, especially if you’ve left something in the oven. At best you might get away with blackening your shoulder of lamb or reducing your beef joint to inedible charcoal, at worst though it could mean a fire ripping through your kitchen.  Again, it’s not something you can necessarily guard against; after all it can be easy to get distracted by children, phone calls and everything else that goes on in the modern home. The only advice would be to always take care to double check, even when you’ve finished cooking that there are no issues.

What happens if you notice flames?

Whilst prevention is always better than cure, if you look through the oven door and notice that there are flames (or larger flames than usual in the case of a gas oven), switch off the oven and allow it to cool down. Don’t open the door, as this may only serve to add oxygen to the flames and could cause you to get burnt.

You should never attempt to tackle fires yourself unless you have been trained to do so effectively. Therefore, before you do anything else, assuming the fire hasn’t subsided, make sure you call the emergency services and request assistance.

The biggest lesson here is to always keep an eye out for technical issues, never forget that the oven is on and make sure that it is kept clean. A build up of grease and other materials isn’t just unsightly, it can also be dangerous too. So don’t take your health and safety for granted, make sure you clean your oven regularly and thoroughly.

Keeping your house clean and tidy is important. It prevents the spread of germs, dust and bacteria whilst helping to provide a spotless appearance throughout your home.

It can sometimes be hard to keep on top of all of the cleaning though. When you’re pushed for time and other chores are building up, it’s easy to forget or even ignore cleaning. However, it’s important that you don’t let it build up, especially in the kitchen, which is one of the main areas where bacteria can grow and fester. The reason for this is because where food is involved; there is a greater chance of residue and mould building on surfaces and preparation areas.

There are many areas in the kitchen that require cleaning after you have prepared and eaten a meal, such as the work surfaces, pots, pans and cutlery, the microwave and also the oven. It’s a big job and it will take time to do properly. If you are regularly cleaning the oven and surrounding surfaces then you are probably on top of all the house work. However, there may be times when the work load becomes too much. Christmas is the perfect example, whereby you are so involved with the celebrations that you haven’t had the time to focus on the cleaning the oven.

In this case it would be the perfect time to bring in the professionals. Hiring a company that offers oven cleaning services will not only reduce your workload, but should also ensure that you enjoy an impeccable finish – leaving your oven like new. If you allow the cleaning company to do the work, you can then focus on having a good time with your friends and family over the festive period, not on worrying about every small spillage or having to don the Marigolds.

Ultimately usage will determine how often you might require a professional oven cleaning service. If you live on your own and have a combined use of the oven and the microwave to cook your meal, then as long as you keep the oven clean you should only need a very occasional valeting service. However, if you live with six of seven people then it is likely that your oven is being used more often which will allow for a greater build-up of dirt over time if it is not cleaned.

Students are a prime example of those who fit into this category. Due to the social and work side of their studies, some jobs do get overlooked, including cleaning duties. This being the case students would most probably need to use an oven cleaning company once or twice a year when they are looking to leave the house in order to ensure they get their deposit back. If no attention is given to the oven then they may lose all, of part of their deposit.

Whatever your living situation, an oven cleaning service can be a huge help. It’s relatively inexpensive and will help to ensure that your oven is hygienic and in full working order at all times. Plus it will remove the hassle of day-to-day maintenance, allowing you to get on with the things that you really enjoy.

A self cleaning oven is exactly that, an oven that cleans itself. It supposedly ‘cleans’ your oven, without you having to do anything except switch on the self clean button. The way it ‘cleans’ is by using an incredibly high temperature (approximately 1200 degrees Celsius) to burn off the leftovers stuck inside of the oven. This turns into dust which can then be swept away once the oven has finished ‘cleaning’ itself.

All sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well self cleaning ovens have proven to be quite popular over the last couple of years, and there’s a good reason for this. We live busy lives, some of us don’t have the time to spend cleaning for hours and the thought of buying an oven that cleans itself is understandably appealing. But before you get ahead of yourself, there’s something you need to know about ‘self cleaning’ ovens.

It’s not that the process of burning left over’s into dust and sweeping them away doesn’t work, it does. However here at Ovenu we argue this doesn’t constitute as cleaning your oven, which needs a thorough clean all over, for you and your family’s health and safety.

In addition, for self cleaning ovens to be completely effective, they must be cleaned once a week. This means having your oven heat up to approximately 1200 degrees Celsius once a week for around 3 – 4 hours at a time. Can you imagine how much electricity will be used in this process? So not only are self cleaning ovens time consuming, they’re also very expensive, and at the end of it, you don’t have a thoroughly clean oven.

Whether you have a self cleaning oven or an ordinary oven, its best to make sure your oven is thoroughly cleaned. As we’ve said, self cleaning ovens are great at burning off existing food, but this isn’t a thorough clean and you need to make sure you clean all areas of the oven. So that’s the shelves, the door, the handles, even the hood and behind the fan cover.

The problem here is that if you have a self cleaning oven, and want to give it a better clean, you shouldn’t really just do it yourself or trust any cowboy oven cleaners. You need to make sure the right chemicals are used on self cleaning ovens, otherwise you’ll cause more harm than good.

So what do we mean by the right chemicals? Well most well known oven cleaners contain what’s known as caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). This particular chemical can be very hazardous, it can damage the seals, the trim, the chrome, the surfaces, as well as the heating elements. Doing the job yourself or choosing an unknown oven cleaning company may cost you a lot more in the long run.

This is where Ovenu are here to help, when looking to give your self-cleaning oven a thorough clean, be sure to choose a reputable company, with professional and highly experienced technicians who only use products that are completely free of sodium hydroxide.

Ovens accumulate grease, spilt foods and food particles, it’s an inevitability. However the amount of food spillage and grease that’s accumulated really depends on the individuals using the oven, what they’re cooking and how often they use the oven. This makes putting a time frame on cleaning your oven quite difficult, because some ovens maybe used more frequently than others, whilst different foods are used as well.

The best way to prevent grease and food building up is to give the oven a quick wipe and a clean after each time you use the oven. For example, if you’ve been frying and you can see fat and grease on the hobs, its best to give them a wipe down after usage. The same can be said when cooking inside the oven itself. However the problem with this philosophy is that not everyone has the time to clean the inside of their oven, whilst fat and grease spills are not always visible.

It’s definitely wise to remove and food spillages as often as possible from the insides of ovens. When foods have spilled and are left inside, this can cause unnecessary smoking which will not only set off your fire alarm, but the smell can permeate into rooms, and even ruin the food that you’re cooking in the first place.

It’s unrealistic for an oven to be cleaned every time after usage, and so many of us allow for dirt and grime to build up before we attempt to do something about it. However, in some cases it may be a year or even two years before the cleaning products are purchased and used to tackle the grime that has built up. This really shouldn’t be the case, because dirty ovens are inefficient ovens, it’s unhygienic and the smell can often destroy any nice smelling home.

So what’s the solution? It’s good to get into the habit of cleaning an oven thoroughly between every two and 12 weeks. Again the time frame needed is really down to the amount you use it and the types of foods that are cooked in it. For example, if the oven is constantly being used to cook large family dinners where foods can spill and cause odours, then it is advised to clean the oven thoroughly every couple of weeks. Whereas someone who uses a microwave or the oven hobs a lot may not necessarily need to clean their oven every couple of weeks because it may have only been used a couple of times in that period.

Also think about the times when you’re entertaining guests or have family round for holiday periods. Would you feel embarrassed if guests came round and you opened the oven door to reveal a stench that could seep into your home?

It’s advisable to clean your oven as often as possible, not only for aesthetics, but for hygiene reasons as well as for efficient and effective cooking.

Don’t you just hate it when you look inside your oven and are met with the ugly sight of food bits, grease and grime? You have a think about the last time it was cleaned and realise that it’s been way too long. You say to yourself, ‘never again’ and commit yourself to cleaning the oven so that grease, burned food and odours become a thing of the past.

So what’s the best way to make sure this doesn’t happen and that you don’t spend days on end trying to get your oven back to its once normal state? What are the best ways to clean your oven?

1. Clean after usage

First of all, for anyone cooking a particularly messy or large meal where fat will splatter and foods will spill, it’s wise to give the oven a clean after usage. Whilst this may not be needed for cooking the odd pizza, it should definitely be considered if the food you’re cooking is particularly smelly and messy.

It’s also good practice to make sure the oven is clear of any food spills. This is because foods that are left inside the oven can cause severe problems the next time it’s used, such as smoking and ineffective cooking. Excessive smoking will affect the way your food is being cooked, not to mention give it burned taste.

2. Clean every two to twelve weeks

Whilst it may not be practical to clean your oven every time after it has been used, it’s important to not let years pass without the inside of your oven seeing a cloth. The amount you clean your oven really depends on your individual circumstances, such as how often you use your oven and the types of food that you’re cooking.

In this case it’s good to get into the habit of just spending an hour every two to twelve weeks to give the inside of your oven a thorough clean. This will remove any food spills, and grease which can cause ineffective cooking, as well as remove any odours which can give the foods you’re cooking a bad taste.

3. Purchase a self cleaning oven

The invention of the self cleaning oven is a godsend for anyone who wants their oven cleaned from time to time, allowing them to enjoy their spare time as they see fit without spending hours and even days scrubbing off food residues and grime every few months.

Whilst this method is excellent at reducing dirt and grime into ash, it still requires a certain degree of cleaning from the individual. The build up may be less extensive, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need some form of attention.

4. Use an Oven valeting service

So if you’re not able to clean your oven as often as possible, and can’t face the prospect of a day scrubbing off grim and grease, what’s the next best thing? That’s easy; it’s using an Oven Valeting Service.

Just like the way your car gets valeted, your oven can receive a meticulous clean, not just to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing, but also so that it’s hygienic and functions to its optimum. In today’s busy and hectic world, we don’t all have time to be as domesticated as we want. So you don’t have the arduous task yourself, this is the perfect solution and probably the best way clean your oven, by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing.