Every Aga range cooker uses a spring handle of some sort. Post 95 cookers have a longer version than the one used before that but the principle is the same. They are great and look lovely except for one thing - they collect grease, gunk and dust like crazy. They can be a challenge to clean but fear not, I can help! No need to turn your cooker off, just follow the instructions below...
Remove the spring handle. Stand to one side and grip one end of the spring with both hands. Pull towards you and bed slightly at the same time. As the spring compresses you'll be able to slip it off the 'nub' that it sits on. Keep your skin away from the very ends - believe you me it hurts if you don't quite get the spring off and it 'pops' back on trapping your skin!
Discard the caps at either end. The caps can be plastic or metal 'mushroom' style and are often rusted, broken or just plain grim! Buy new ones here.
For greasy spring handles (often with dust trapped in the grease!)... Simply pop them through the dishwasher with your cutlery. Dishwasher detergents are tough and they'll sort most handles!
For spring handles with 'baked on' muck... If your handles look rusty don't panic - they seldom are. It is much more likely to be really hard baked on grease. Sadly your dishwasher won't work on these! Instead mix a super strong solution of soda crystals (freely available from supermarkets) with hot water. Soak the spring handles in this solution overnight. Remove the spring handles from the soda crystals and run them under a warm tap to move any loose muck and then grab an e-cloth or similar. Thread one side of the cloth into the spring and hold it tightly to clean inside the spring. Rotate it and the cloth will move back and forth along the handle. After a few goes it should bring with it the softened dirt and grease. Rinse the spring under warm water again.
Replace the spring handles. Dry the spring handles on your cooker and pop your replacement caps over the 'nubs' on your lids. Stand to one side and place one end of the spring over one of the 'nubs' and cap. Pull the spring towards you and simultaneously bend the end towards the other nub until it can 'pop' on - again be careful of trapping skin!
Clean handles on your cooker obviously looks lovely but new end 'caps' can stop the springs getting super hot and make it nicer to use too!
If all of the above seems too much trouble or your spring handles are beyond hope or rusted then new spring handles are the solution!
Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with these fabulous cookers in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!