A good takeaway pizza can satisfy a craving, but when you’ve baked your own, it’s hard to go back. Adding as much cheese as you want, customising your toppings, getting that nice crispy crust… You’ll want a pizz’a that action.
Building a pizza oven is too much work, though, so just get yourself a pizza stone. And if you do, learn how to clean a pizza stone too!
First off: do not use soap and water to clean a pizza stone. You’ll give your pizza dough a soapy taste and damage the stone itself.
Instead, let the stone completely cool before taking it out of the oven. Use a plastic spatula or silicone scraper to remove cheese, pizza crust, and toppings. Then wipe down the stone with a damp cloth. If there’s grease, use a baking soda paste.
So – here’s what you knead to dough.
What is a Pizza Stone Made Of?
Most household pizza stones will be made of ceramic or cordierite stone, both of which are porous materials. Other stones can be made of stainless steel, cast iron, or soapstone.
Before Cleaning Your Pizza Stone
Because your pizza stone is made of a porous material, you should absolutely not use soap and water. Don’t put it in the dishwasher either.
Excess moisture in the porous stone will prevent you from getting a crispier crust. It could also superheat while you’re baking and cause the stone to crack. Plus, it invites mould.
Meanwhile, the stone’s porous surface will absorb any cleaning chemicals applied to it, and those will transfer to your pizza.
Also, let your stone cool completely before cleaning or taking it out of your pizza oven.
If a hot pizza stone comes into contact with cold air or water, it’ll undergo temperature shock. This is when sudden temperature changes cause breakage in an object.
How Often to Clean a Pizza Stone
Wipe down your pizza stone every time you use it – that’s when it’s easiest to remove baked-on cheese and food residue. This will also prevent grease and debris from building up.
For a deep clean, you can get away with waiting until your pizza stone has undergone several uses. A dozen is a good benchmark, but you can just use your instinct.
If you feel your stone is too dirty, get cleaning!
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
So you’ve finished baking your margherita and now it’s cleanup time. Leave your pizza stone in the hot oven and let both of them completely cool, then you can clean.
Regular cleaning for a pizza stone
Brush off any crusty bits that haven’t dried and stuck to the surface.
For any baked-on cheese, crust, and toppings, you can scrape them off using a silicone/nylon scraper or rubber spatula. For more stubborn bits, try a dull butter knife.
Afterwards, quickly wipe the surface with a damp cloth (as little water as possible!) to remove remaining debris. Then let the stone dry completely before storing it away.
NOTE: At some point, after repeated use, you’ll just have to accept that pizza stone stains are part of life. The stone absorbs sauce, dough moisture, and other substances that will eventually discolour the surface. It’ll still be functional though!
Getting stuck food off a pizza stone
If the stuck-on bits are particularly stubborn, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water. Use a nylon-bristled brush to apply the paste onto the surface and gently scrub at the stuck-on food.
Wipe away the residue with a damp cloth.
Getting grease stains off a pizza stone
For pizza stones that feel tacky or greasy, mix equal parts baking soda and water. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the paste and use it to scrub the greasy areas. Work in small circles until the residue is removed.
Take a damp rag and wipe the surface clean, then let the pizza stone completely dry.
How to Deep Clean Pizza Stones
Stains and discolourations on your pizza stone are a sign of love and good meals. Beyond cleaning up food debris and spilled sauce, there’s no real need to remove stains.
But if you feel your good ol’ stony friend needs a thorough clean, there’s a way.
Mix up equal parts baking soda and water, then apply the paste to the stains. Take a soft-bristled brush and scrub the surface (gently!). Wipe off the residue with a damp cloth, then use a clean cloth to wipe it dry.
Cleaning Other Types of Pizza Stone
Pizza stones made from non-porous material are the only ones that you can clean using water. Always use a soft cloth when drying, and allow them to air dry completely.
How to clean a stainless steel pizza stone
Scrape away food bits and give it a wash with hot water and dish soap. Rinse and allow to dry.
Avoid using abrasive scrubs, and do not put your stainless steel pizza stone in the dishwasher.
How to clean a cast iron pizza stone
Don’t let this kind of pizza stone soak in water for very long. Scrape any food bits then do a quick wash with hot water and dish soap. Immediately dry afterwards.
You can season a cast iron stone with a light coating of vegetable oil after cleaning.
How to clean a soapstone pizza stone
Natural soapstone is non-porous and very dense. Use hot soapy water to clean after the stone has cooled, then rinse well and dry.
How to Clean a Burnt Pizza Stone
Maybe you accidentally left your pizza baking too long in the oven, or you set your oven too high. And now your pizza stone is discoloured and darkened.
How to clean a pizza stone that is black? Honestly, it might be a lost cause. But before getting a replacement, you can try and see if baking it clean works.
Preheat your oven to 260ºC (500ºF). Once it’s reached that temperature, set the pizza stone in the oven and let it bake for about an hour.
Switch the oven off and let the stone cool inside (should take about 1–2 hours). Use a stone brush to gently scrub the black stains off. Use a damp cloth to wipe any residue off.
If that doesn’t work? Well, your pizza stone has bitten the crust.
Cleaning a Mouldy Pizza Stone
If you leave water trapped in the cracks of a pizza stone, the moisture could cause mould to grow.
Most mould cultures cannot survive in temperatures above 60ºC, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. No one wants mould on a good slice!
You can try cleaning a mouldy stone using vinegar and baking soda. Mix 2 parts baking soda with one part white vinegar, then apply to the mouldy areas. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub in a circular motion.
Wipe the stone clean with a damp cloth. Do not bake while the stone is wet – it should be completely dry before you stick it in the oven.
Under no circumstances should you use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or detergent to try and kill off the mould.
What Not to Use on a Pizza Stone
We’ve told you what to use when cleaning pizza stones, but is there anything that shouldn’t go near one? Absolutely!
- Soap (dish soap or otherwise)
- Chemical products (especially liquids)
Additionally, do not use steel wool, a metal spatula, or any other metal implements when cleaning.
These will scratch the surface and cause nicks where debris could get stuck. The nicks could lead to larger cracks through repeated heat stress.
Regarding oil – you may feel like you’ll need to season your stone like a cast iron skillet. Resist the urge – it doesn’t do anything. In fact, applying oil to a porous surface might do more harm than good!
What If Someone Soaped My Pizza Stone?
Maybe your well-meaning partner decided they’d do the dishes for you. Maybe your friend washed up to return the favour of a good pizza.
But now you’re worried that your next pan-tastic creation will taste of soap with a soggy dough.
Horrible breach of crust, really.
You can still fix it, though! Cover the surface with old pieces of white bread and bake until the bread is toasted. That should absorb any soapy residue and flavour. You can also do a quick clean afterwards to be extra sure.
NOTE: If you’ve hired a professional cleaner to help tidy up after a pizza party, let them know not to wash the stone!
It’s a Pizz’a Cake!
If you take care of your pizza stone well, then it can last you years. Know how to clean a pizza stone, store it well, and maintain its structural integrity. It’s the yeast you can do for a tool as handy as this one.
There are times when you shouldn’t use a pizza stone, like when you’re hangry and need food immediamente. But for the true pizza aficiona-dough, a pizza stone is an irreplaceable member of our kitchen cookware.