|WARNING: Please read these advisory instructions and guidance carefully before you proceed. Take care over electrical matters.
Ensure you follow sensible practices with heavy items and sharp tools. Check carefully for oil leaks which can cause extensive damage.
If in doubt, stop and ask. We cannot take responsibility for your accidents or errors.
What is the best way to clean my Rayburn?
The answer divides into two parts:
WARNING: TAKE CARE WHEN WORKING ON OR
CLEANING A HOT Rayburn!
Cleaning the vitreous enamel top and front:
By far the best advice is to mop up spills as they happen.
This is best achieved with a damp soapy cloth (a touch of Fairy
Liquid on an old flannel or similar is fine) because, for small
spillages or splatter, the cloth softens the deposit as it is
removed (and the thickness of the flannel gives some limited
protection from the heat and retains more moisture than a J-Cloth).
Propriety non-scratch vitreous enamel cleaners or mild
cream cleaners such as Cif work well, but the high temperature
of the Rayburn top makes this quick work! After cleaning, buff the
surface with a dry cloth. If you do not seem to be making progress
with a spill, or it is obviously baked on, do not despair -
see the section below on cleaning a cold Rayburn.
The flue and the vent cover at its base should be treated the
same way as the top and front of the Rayburn and cleaned accordingly.
The enamelled lids can be cleaned in the same way, as can the
underside, which is stove enamelled. It also gets splattered
and can look unsightly. A mild cream cleaner on a soft nylon
scouring pad can improve the appearance. But see instructions
below on cleaning a cold Rayburn.
Do not experiment! Any acid-based cleaner
should be avoided, and fruit juice, milk, vinegar should be
cleaned off immediately because they will permanently mark the
These do not need the traditional form of oven cleaning, because
spills are baked to death and can be brushed out hot or cold
(take great care though to ensure that you dont get burnt).
Deft work with a tapered vacuum cleaner hose is also effective
on cremated remains, providing you do not loiter too long
in the hot oven!
When your Rayburn is turned off for servicing, you have an ideal
opportunity to deep clean it. The best advice is
to clean and service it yourself immediately, so that
it is ready to relight when a cold snap reoccurs. The techniques
are rather different to cleaning a hot Rayburn, so read this guidance
carefully. It may sound like refurbishment, and you could reduce
the effort expended. But a properly maintained Rayburn despite
daily use and lots of cooking, animals and children can
be kept looking very new. It just takes discipline and technique.
Depending on the age of your Rayburn, for older ones the lids
are hinged on pins, and these pins are hard to remove. The lids
are best cleaned in situ, rather than trying to remove them.
For newer ones the lid hinge can be unscrewed at the base.
The metal hob must be attended to in a similar way. First, wipe
it clean. Then scrape it with a palette-type knife to remove
any lumps of baked food. A paint scraper is just as good. Then
rub the surface with a mild emery cloth in a circular motion
to clean the surface properly. Vacuum, wipe and dry the surface
and then lightly oil it without getting oil on the insulating
rope packing around the edge. (If the surface is badly pitted
and obviously corroded see the section below on Restoring
the hob surface).
The hob is heavy, so care must be taken with its removal, and
it is bulky (see the servicing instructions). Older ones need
to be prised up from an edge to get a grip of the hob plate.
Newer ones have a lifting recess in the centre. See below.
With the hob out of the way, you now have access to a major
area of accrued surface splatter.
Start by cleaning the area with a propriety non scratch cleaner
such as Cif. Baked on areas will gradually soften (you can lay
a damp cloth on them to maintain the damp contact). Try not
to spill water into the insulating packing around the hob plates.
Methodically work your way around the top surface of the Rayburn.
It takes time. You may be tempted to take a knife or more abrasive
approach. DO NOT! The maximum leeway you should allow yourself
is the use of a nylon pad, but with care because the enamel
is softer than it once was. The only real way is patience and
elbow grease. But the results can be spectacular.
The tops of the lids are cleaned up in a similar way.
Put the plate rings back. Reattach the lids. Ensure the hob
and ring surfaces are still lightly oiled because this protects
them from rust that can emerge when the lids are left down,
due to poor air flow.
Finally, a few words on a very rare occurrence: SWEEPING
Rayburns, properly set up and maintained, operate at an impressively
high efficiency in the way the oil is burned. There are very
few deposits created, and most flues are left untouched for
years. Most Rayburn service engineers do not try. But, in case
you have had some very sooty experiences, here is what to do:
Cover the cool Rayburn top with a layer of newspaper and then
an old rug. You can sweep the flue yourself using a flue brush
(available from most hardware stores and email order firms)
with a very flexible set of connecting shafts. The technique
is to remove the flue access panel (which can be sited in a
variety of ways), slide the first section of the brush in a
short way, place the vacuum cleaner hose just inside it, and
then place (or tie) another old rug around the flue to trap
the soot and dust into a confined area. Then turn on the vacuum
and work the brush up the flue in short circular movements,
adding sections, until you reach the cowl. Do not knock the
cowl off! For an oil fired Rayburn, there should be very little
soot. Slowly withdraw the brush and clean up. But, before you
remove the newspaper, vacuum around the overheads above the
Rayburn. THEN ENSURE THE FLUE ACCESS IS
PROPERLY RESEALED TO ENSURE NO EXHAUST VAPOURS CAN ENTER THE
How do I restore the hob surface?
If the hob surface is badly pitted, corroded or uneven, this
is usually caused by the hob covers being left down for lengthy
periods with the Rayburn off, when condensation and corrosion
can play havoc.
Removing the central hob for cleaning/replacement or refurbishment
READ THIS IN FULL FIRST! This job
is difficult for one simple reason: the hob is a very large
piece of iron and is heavy! Why
would you want to remove it? For replacement, to clean around
it, or to refurbish it out of situ. To take it out (obviously
the Rayburn needs to be off and cold) select a suitable and
strong tool to fit snugly under the lip, and long enough to
give you some leverage (say 12-18). Place newspaper
around the top to protect the enamelled surface. Select two
pieces of wood (about an inch square and six inches long) to
act as a pivot for the lifting tool you have selected. Now,
when you lever together with these tools, the hob will lift
clear and level, and you can then jamb it in the half removed
position. TO LIFT IT OUT FULLY, YOU WILL
NEED TO PROTECT YOUR BACK BY EMPLOYING PROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUES.
Refitting is the reverse but, remember, one slip and you will
damage yourself or the beautiful enamel surface you have lovingly
maintained for years.
As mentioned, newer Rayburns have two lifting recesses set into
the face of the hob and you can use these. But do be careful
not to let the hob slip from your grasp and fall back onto the
Finally, in this section, if your Rayburn is a much older design
which was converted from solid fuel you may have to remove the
hob to get at the burner - not something for the weak. But beneath
the hob is a simple baffle plate that can be lifted clear to
give good access.
The hob surface can be removed to be restored, or dealt with
in situ, by using grinding paste and an oilstone or suitably
shaped flat piece of steel. It does need to be reasonably flat
in order to get efficient heat transfer between the hob and
the base of the pot or kettle. But, what ever technique you
use, dont get the paste on the enamel surface!
You will need to purchase the instructions
for further TECHNICAL information and answers to questions like:
How often should I service my Rayburn?
What basic checks should I do first?
Does it matter what sort of oil I use?
Why is it hard to get a Rayburn relit?
Why does the oil flow reduce?
Does it matter how the wick is inserted?
Why does my Rayburn make a popping sound?
What does a yellow flame mean?
How does the Temperature Control knob work?
Can I change the thermometer?
What sort of cowl is necessary at the chimney head?
How do I get spare parts?