What not to use; the Aga cleaning product danger list

Cleaning an Aga, Rayburn or other range cooker (don't miss our 'Cleaning' category) can be a fraught process. Some people will have you believe it will fall to dust at the sight of a scouring pad and others will tell you that 'Agas don't need cleaning'. Both are categorically not true! The cleaning method I advocate is a very manual safe one and it takes a bit of time on a cold Aga (see our cleaning kit). Should you wish to use a cleaning spray of some kind to help things along that is fine but you need to be very careful about what you use.

The general principles are these. Your Agas enamel is tough. It is resistant to scratches, heat and alkalis. The one thing it runs home in horror at the sight of is acid! Your cooking (jam for example) can be acidic, your ingredients (tomato or lemon juice) can be acidic and your cleaning products can be acidic. Don't let any of them get on your Aga, especially the front where the results are more serious (black enamel is more acid resistant than coloured). 

Red Aga enamel damaged by Cillit BangAcidic cleaning products are normally to be used in bathrooms but some don't specify this. Acids cut through limescale and bathroom grime but they will also damage the top glaze on your enamel almost instantly in some cases. The products below are fab at what they are designed to do I'm sure, the list is purely to give you some guidance on products that are definitely not safe for use on Agas and other enamelled range cookers based on the experiences of our little Aga community! If you have any experiences you'd like to share do get in touch - it might save someone a lot of bother in the future! 

The NOT SAFE FOR USE ON YOUR AGA list...

  • Cillit Bang (more info on their website). Most Cillit Bang products are aimed at the bathroom and while they do have a kitchen cleaner it does not specify whether is is safe for enamel so I think its safer to keep all Cillit Bang products outside the kitchen! I use Cillit Bang in our bathroom on a regular basis as we have such hard water in Wiltshire, just keep it away from your Aga! Fran on our Facebook page shared this heartbreaking picture of her Aga that had a run it with Cillit Bang.
  • Dettol 'Power & Pure' (more info on their website). This one is marketed as a kitchen cleaner and while it does not specify that it is for use on enamel it also does not say to avoid it! It was Rebecca who e-mailed about this one. You can see here pics of what happened to the black hob of here new Aga here.
  • Bar Keepers Friend 'All purpose Power Spray'. No specific warning about using on enamel but it did this to Lynns cooker so safe to say it is best avoided for use on your Aga! Another Facebook comment mentioned a different Bar Keepers Friend so be very careful to check labels for this brand. I'm sure its great in bathroom and other parts of kitchen but not on the Aga! 
  • Vinegar. Yes basic vinegar! It's often touted as a miracle cleaner but it's acidic so don't be tempted to try it on your Aga! 
  • Limescale remover. By definition all limescale removers are acidic. Avoid anything marketed as 'Lime & Grime' or similar!

Here is my top tip! Move anything not safe for cleaning your Aga away from the kitchen and definitely out from under the sink. Last new year I had a call from a distraught customer whose son-in-law had attempted a post Christmas clean of her Aga. He was aiming for some easy brownie points but grabbed the first bottle he saw from under the sink to do the job with. It was Cillit Bang. The story does not have a happy ending...