A pizza stone is a handy kitchen tool that lets you make restaurant-quality pizzas with a home oven. When you cook a pizza on a pizza stone, you get a deliciously evenly cooked and crispy base.
So, if a pizza stone makes a much better pizza, why isn’t everyone using them?
One of the most common misconceptions about pizza stones is that they are almost impossible to clean. But that’s just not true. Sure, you need to follow some basic rules when cleaning a pizza stone, but it’s actually quite straightforward. All will be revealed when you read this guide to how to clean a pizza stone.
What are pizza stones made from?
To understand how to clean a pizza stone, it’s essential to know the characteristics of the substance you’re dealing with. A pizza stone is made from a thick, heavy sheet of stone, ceramic, or other dense and porous material.
The magic of a pizza stone is that when you heat your oven and the pizza stone to a high temperature, the stone stores heat and transfers it to your pizza base evenly and consistently. In this way, the pizza stone mimics a classic brick pizza oven, and your pizza will have a crispy, brown, and delicious base.
Since a pizza stone is absorbent, food sticks to it easily. You can take steps to avoid this, like seasoning your pizza stone with oil. But even a well-seasoned pizza stone gets dirty. Since pizzas cook at very high temperatures (around 500°F), it’s common for pizza stones to become covered with difficult to clean burnt dough and other materials.
A note on glazed pizza stones
some manufacturers make pizza stones that aren’t absorbent. These stones have a nonporous glazed surface. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you have one of these stones.
If you do, then you will find that they are a breeze to clean. Since they don’t absorb the water, you can use a scraper to remove any surface debris and scrub them thoroughly under running water, which won’t damage them.
What tools do you need to clean a pizza stone?
Okay, so you don’t actually clean a pizza stone with oven gloves. But it’s a great idea to obey the golden rule of never take a pizza stone out of the oven without using oven gloves. Pizza stones retain heat well, and you need to allow the oven and the pizza stone to cool before removal. But, I guarantee you, you’ll forget this sometime. It’s better always to use oven gloves and then you won’t ever get burned.
Metal scrapers are excellent tools for the first stage of the cleaning process. A flat thin scraper will easily remove all but the most stubborn material from a pizza stone.
You can buy special pizza brushes designed specifically for cleaning pizza stones. These brushes are made from stiff wire that is perfect for scraping blackened debris from the stone. But a pizza brush is an expensive specialist utensil, so if you can’t find one or justify the expense, don’t worry; you can do fine without one.
Scouring pads are handy abrasive tools that work well at removing surface debris from a pizza stone.
While a nylon brush isn’t as effective as a wire brush at cleaning a pizza stone, it can still remove plenty of burnt crust.
Using water to clean a pizza stone is controversial because many people suggest that it’s a bad idea because water permeates the stone and can damage it when it heats and cools. If you do clean your pizza stone with water, then it’s much better to use a lightly dampened cloth than to run the stone under a tap.
As we’ll see shortly, putting your pizza stone back in the oven is an excellent effort-free way to clean it.
How to clean a pizza stone by hand
Step 1. Make sure the pizza stone has cooled down
pizza stones are highly efficient at holding heat. Make absolutely sure that you give your pizza stone enough time to cool down properly, and this will prevent you from burning your hands and also from damaging the stone.
Step 2. Scrape off the surface of the pizza stone
it’s likely that your pizza stone has some burnt material stuck to its surface. First, use a scraper to take off the worst of this material.
Step 3. Use a scouring pad and/or nylon brush
For the next stage of cleaning, use a dry scouring pad or nylon brush to scrape away stubborn debris from the pizza stone.
Step 4. Use a little water
Now, this is where the controversy comes in. Some people are adamant that you should never use water when cleaning a pizza stone. I haven’t found this to be the case, however. Sure, I agree that you should never place your pizza stone under running water, but I’ve never had a problem with using a damp cloth or a little water with scouring pads and brushes.
The reason people say you shouldn’t use water to clean a pizza stone is because they are porous, and the water can get into the stone. This is bad because it stops the stone from being nonstick, and as it heats in the oven, the stress of the water boiling away can damage the stone.
However, I believe that as long as your pizza stone is well seasoned with oil, which it should be, then there’s no problem using a little bit of water during the cleaning process. A damp brush or pad effectively abrades those last bits of dirt from the pizza stone.
By now, your pizza stone should be smooth and clean again. If you used water to clean it, then make sure that you give it plenty of time to dry before you think about using it again.
Don’t worry about those black markings; they are part and parcel of a well-used pizza stone and simply add to its character. If, for some reason, you’re not happy with the results of your cleaning, then you can also clean the pizza stone in your oven.
Note: Never use soap or other detergents to clean a pizza stone. Pizza stones are absorbent, and if you clean them with soap, that will go into the stone, and the next time you cook, you’ll have a soap-flavored pizza. Not a good idea.
How to clean a pizza stone in the oven
I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised with the result of cleaning your pizza stone in the oven. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1. Scrape off the surface of the pizza stone
firstly use a metal scraper or a pizza brush to scrape away any burnt dough or pizza topping from the pizza stone.
Step 2. pre-heat the pizza stone in the oven
Next, we place our pizza stone in a cold oven and turn it on. Set the oven to 500°F and let it heat up. Remember never to put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven since you risk damaging the stone.
Step 3. “Cook” the pizza stone
Once the oven and the stone are heated, then leave it there for fifteen minutes to burn any debris and blackening off the surface.
Step 4. Allow the oven to cool, and then remove the stone
next, turn off the heat and allow the overland stone to cool down. Remove the stone with oven gloves and look at the surface. You should see that many of the black markings have burnt away if there are any stubborn materials still adhered to the surface scraper again with a metal scraper or pizza brush.
Step 5. Repeat as necessary
If this first oven cleaning hasn’t given you the result you’re looking for, then just repeat the process as many times as you want until your stone is clean.
Always bear in mind, though, that it is perfectly normal for your pizza stone to be deeply discolored and darkened. This is to be expected and doesn’t mean that your pizza stone isn’t clean.
Now you know that it’s very straightforward to clean a pizza stone again and again. As an expert pizza stone chef, you now know that a well-used pizza stone has a characteristic blackened appearance that doesn’t detract at all from the finished pizza.
Pizza stones should never be cleaned with soap or chemicals, although a bit of water is okay.
I’ve shown you two highly effective techniques to clean pizza stones both inside and outside the oven. If my pizza stone is particularly dirty, I usually run it through the oven cleaning process once or twice and then move on to cleaning by hand.
Using these two pizza stone cleaning techniques has never let me down, and I’m sure it will work for you too.
If you have any comments or questions about how to clean a pizza stone, please share them with us below.