Pizza parties are always fun! But what’s not fun is witnessing a dirty pizza oven that ran like a boss to fulfil everyone’s craving at the party. Once a pizza party is over and all the guests gone, my heart melts to see my bad boy dirty. Yes, I am talking about the show stopper oven that just delivered mouth-watering pizzas.
If this happens to you as well, you might be worried about the cleaning chore afterward. Don’t worry, because you have landed on the relevant page to make your job effortless. I will be sharing every tip and necessary stuff essential to clean up your bad boy. Just hook to this article till very end.
It is quite normal to get stains and burnt spots while cooking, but, if these stains and spills are not cleaned on time, the buildup may form soot that will lead to bacteria growth and also nasty and unpalatable food. In the case of wood-fired ovens, you’ll also have to deal with leftover ashes as well. To ensure your outdoor oven delivers you flavorsome pizzas every time, you must clean them after a certain period.
To be more on the safe side and to prolong your oven life, I recommend you to clean after every major cooking round is done and when you call it a day. At least, it is my way of doing things. What happens is that you make sure that the oven’s life and performance is not cut short due to your negligence.
If you want your oven to feed you with delicious pizzas time and time again, then stay along in knowing “how you can clean an outdoor pizza oven properly in simple steps?”
Do Outdoor Pizza Ovens need to be cleaned?
Outdoor pizza ovens are assumed to be self-cleaning, there is no doubt about it. The high temperature of brick and wood-fired ovens burn down spills and prevent bacteria growth. But, in many cases, cheese or toppings may fall or sauce may spill when sliding the pizza or rotating it inside the oven. When it gets burnt to the maximum, it may produce nasty smell and some stains might be difficult to remove. This might also affect the taste of the pizzas cooked later. However, to ensure the optimal working of your outdoor pizza oven, cleaning and maintenance plays a significant impact.
Outdoor pizza ovens require a good sum of investment and installation is another hill to climb. After investing your money and time, the least you want is to get an unpleasant taste of pizza. To embrace the joy of a backyard pizza party, you need to clean your pizza oven at least once a week. But if your pizza oven is being used frequently, you might need to clean it regularly to avoid the buildup of ashes and dirt.
The exterior of the brick oven doesn’t get dirty as much as the stainless body. But it’s a good practice to clean the exterior as well. Cleaning your outdoor pizza oven may seem a little grinding task at first but once you know the right steps and have the right tool, it becomes quite easy to get your ovens clean as before.
Let me just discuss how I clean my ovens. Let’s suppose that we are talking about any portable outdoor pizza oven as they are loved and used by larger audience. Don’t worry, the tips and tricks can be done exactly on any pizza oven.
Let’s suppose that I had my lovely Ooni Koda 16 running on a party today and we are done with the party. Its clean-up time now!
Let’s walk through these steps one by one.
Cleaning an Ooni Pizza Stone
The pizza stone mostly used in outdoor pizza ovens is cordierite. It has super characteristics of absorbing the heat to cook delicious pizzas ensuring that the base gets equally cooked too.
Ooni pizza stones work effectively to bring you perfectly baked pizza crust. These stones are usually made from ceramic and cordierite with high thermal mass. They tend to absorb heat and retain the intense temperature inside the oven. When pizza is placed on the pizza stone surface, the bottom of the pizza base gets crisp up evenly and more effectively than from a normal baking tray.
Why Should you Clean your Ooni Pizza Stone?
Pizza stone delivers you crispy and evenly baked crust, they also require some extra care to keep their longevity and quality. Because of their porous surface, they tend to absorb spills of sauce or any liquid content. If not cleaned properly, the buildup may burn on every next use which results in molds and an unpleasant smell from the pizza crust.
Can I use water or soap for cleaning my pizza oven stone?
Unlike your regular baking trays, the pizza stone is not meant to submerge in hot water for too long because of its porous surface. The stone tends to absorb water and may get cracked when exposed to intense temperature. So, water and soap are a big no!
Then how can you clean your pizza stone without two of them?
Step 1: Best way to clean Ooni pizza oven stone
If you are running out of time, a quick fix is to just leave the pizza stone in the oven at a high temperature for some time. As the pizza stones are made from good heat-conducted material, they can pull through extremely high temperatures without getting damaged. When the oven is cooled down, take out the pizza stone and just wipe off the burnt particles with an Ooni Pizza Oven brush. However, the righteous way is to spare some time and follow some elementary steps to clean your Ooni pizza stone effectively.
Tools Required to Clean Ooni Pizza Stone
Make sure your pizza stone is cool down to room temperature before starting the cleaning process. If your pizza stone is too hot to touch, you can burn your hand before even starting cleaning. Also, when a hot pizza stone is exposed to water, it can cause cracks on the surface of the pizza stone.
Any process requires some essential tools to get the job done right and effectively. You’ll probably find some of these tools in your home kitchen, if not then you should get your hands on some of these handy tools.
Ooni comes with numerous pizza oven cleaning accessories to walk you through easy cleaning. Ooni pizza oven brush is designed to effectively wipe out dirt, ash residue, and burnt particles. It is a 2-in-1 pizza oven brush and scraper tool with a long wooden handle. This wooden handle gives access to the very end corner of the oven for precise cleaning. It features a stainless-steel scraper and bristles which provide durability as well as assistance in easy cleaning.
You can also check the following pizza oven brush from amazon.
These super heat resistant gloves by Ooni are made by super comfy leather exterior and internal aluminum insulation makes sure that they remain resistant to heat even at very high temperatures. Falling amongst the top heat resistant gloves across the globe, they are a necessary accessory when it comes to working with high temperatures or dealing with super hot products.
A bench scraper is a multipurpose tool that can make your cleaning process so much easy. It comes in handy to scrape out stubborn debris from your pizza stone. It is made from stainless steel making it last longer. This versatile tool can be used as a dough cutter and scraper. The cylindrical handle provides a firm grip and the measuring guide is there to help in precise measurements.
You can also check the following bench scraper from amazon.
The scouring pad helps to scrub off any dirt and food residue without damaging the surface of pizza stones. Since pizza stone has a porous surface, the scouring pad makes sure to scrub off the smallest of particles within the pores of the pizza stone.
How to Clean the Pizza Stone?
Pizza stone gets dirty by the flour, remaining dough, or by pizza sauce and drips of cheese. These particles get hard and dried out as the next pizza bakes in the oven. If you don’t clean your pizza stone, these spills can build up with every baking session and you may face difficulty in cleaning afterwards. It is recommended to clean your pizza stone whenever you notice any leftover spills or any dirt particles.
Normally, what we do is make use of “Pyrolysis” when cleaning our pizza stone. In short, pyrolysis is a thermal decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen.
After done with cooking pizzas, you just turn the flame to the maximum and leave the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Make sure that pizza stone is still in there and you haven’t taken it out. What will happen is that due to the intense high temperature, the leftover material will decompose and you will notice that your pizza stone will become cleaner.
When you have noticed that the stone is not clean enough, turn off the oven and wait for it to cool down. Now put on the gloves and carefully take out the pizza stone from the oven. Scrap off the leftover particles with your brush and you are all good to go.
If you are not satisfied with the cleaning, repeat the above process. If still not satisfied, see the methods below. We have covered each and everything for your convenience.
Ooni pizza stones are mostly removable, so are other oven’s stones. So, it’s quite convenient to take out the stone. Follow these simple steps to clean Ooni pizza stone:
If you have just finished baking, allow your pizza stone to cool down to room temperature.
- Remove the pizza stone and place it near the sink.
- Sprinkle very little hot steam water on a cloth and with your gloves on, wipe the stone to loosen the residue on the surface of the pizza stone.
- Use a bench scraper or a blunt knife to scrap off the burnt food.
- Use an Ooni pizza brush in a circular motion to dust off the scraped pieces.
- Wipe off the pizza stone again with a slightly damp towel or cloth.
- Put back the pizza stone in the oven and bake it at a high temperature.
Baking your pizza stone is recommended only when you don’t use the pizza stone frequently. But if you are a professional baker, you can skip the last step. Another thing to consider is, that using water might not be necessary if you can easily scrap off the dried stuff.
How to Clean Stains from Pizza Stone
This is done using the pyrolysis effect as explained earlier. Anyhow, here is a detailed step by step guide which you can follow.
Since pizza stone absorbs the moisture from pizza dough to make it crispier, this will lead to stains on the surface of the pizza stone. Some chefs think that stains on pizza stones can be good as they add flavor to the pizza. But for some people, this site can be a little unpleasant. If you want to remove unwanted stains from your pizza stone, then follow these steps:
- Scrap off the dried residue with a bench scraper or a metal spatula.
- Create a mixture by combining equal parts of baking soda and water in a small bowl.
- Rub this mixture against the surface of the pizza stone using a small brush in a circular motion until the stain is removed.
- In case of stubborn grease stains, coat them with the prepared mixture and set the stone aside for a few minutes before wiping them off.
- Repeat the step until all stains are removed and you get a clean canvas.
- Wipe off the residue with a damp cloth and set aside until the stone is completely dry.
Baking soda will effectively remove the stains without affecting the taste of the pizza. The stains won’t compromise the performance of the pizza stone so you should least worry about them. However, the more stained stone means you’ll get flavor-rich pizza.
How to Clean Burnt spots from Pizza Stone
Burned spots are a little hard to remove and need special attention. Follow these steps to clean the burnt areas of the pizza stone:
- Set the oven at the maximum temperature.
- Place the pizza stone inside the oven and wait for at least 30 minutes.
- When the stone is still in the oven, you may notice smoke from the bubbles popping from burnt spots. Don’t panic because this is what we are expecting to achieve.
- Let the oven cool and remove the pizza stone once it fully cools down.
- Scrap off the burnt flakes with a bench scraper or a metal spatula gently without damaging the surface.
- Wipe off the stone with a damp cloth and set it aside until the stone is completely dry.
How to Clean a Moldy Pizza Stone
Pizza stones that are exposed to excess moisture tend to form molds. This may happen if you haven’t completely dried out the pizza stone after cleaning. Don’t worry! You don’t have to throw away your pizza stone. We have got you covered with these simple steps:
- Create a mixture by combining equal parts of baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl.
- Rub this mixture against the surface of the pizza stone using a small brush or a cloth in a circular motion.
- Using a damp cloth, wipe off the pizza stone and set it aside until the stone is completely dry.
If this method fails to get rid of the molds, then it’s better to replace the pizza stone with a new one. I know is hard to throw away your pizza stone in the trash but trust me that is the only way. The moldy stone will eventually break as it can’t survive in the high heat of the oven.
Things to avoid while cleaning a Pizza Stone
The last thing you want is to break the pizza stone with misapprehended mistakes. There are certain things to avoid while cleaning the pizza stone.
- Don’t use excessive water or soak up your pizza stone in water overnight. The only thing it does is make your pizza stone prone to break. Use as little water as possible to wipe off any dirt.
- Never use a detergent, soap, or shampoo to clean the pizza stone. The porous surface of pizza stone will absorb these chemicals and you’ll transfer tier taste on the next baking session.
- Don’t use a sharp knife to scrap off the dried food as it is more likely to damage the surface of the pizza stone. Use a bench scraper or blunt knife instead.
If you are able to avoid these things successfully Congrats! Your pizza stone is going to serve you long.
Step 2: Cleaning the Inside
Once you are done cleaning the pizza stone, move ahead with cleaning the inside of your oven. The outdoor pizza ovens have a blazing hot interior due to the intense high-temperature range, which makes the spills of sauce and cheese burnt down instead of sticking to the cooking chamber. Regular cleaning is essential to keep the performance of your oven as effective as it was in its first use.
Tools Required to Clean Inside of the Outdoor Pizza Oven
The cleaning of the interior part of the oven might take some time, but the process can be smooth if you have the right tools with you. These tools are recommended to have before starting the cleaning process.
Most outdoor pizza ovens are wood-fired ovens which means you have to deal with ash residue. Ash rake comes in handy to collect the ash without making your hands dirty. This particular ash rake is built of stainless steel that prevents rusting or cracks. It has a 25.2-inch-long heat-resistant handle that provides a firm grip and safety. This is a versatile tool and can be used as a fireplace cleaning tool and grill cleaning tool.
You can buy it from amazon by clicking here.
The ashcan is used to collect the ash for later disposal. This ashcan comes with a shovel and has generous space to fill in a lot. You can keep the shovel in a small compartment attached to the bucket after use. The lid helps to keep the ash from spilling onto your backyard floor.
You can buy it by clicking here.
You can also check out this ash cleaning kit with an additional brush to sweep away the ash and dirt.
The cleaning of an outdoor oven means you’ll be going to handle a great mess. So, for your safety and keeping your hands clean, a pair of waterproof gloves is a must-have. Get your hands on these silicon-made, heat-resistant, and waterproof gloves for comfortable and safe cleaning.
You can buy the waterproof gloves by clicking on this link.
Once you get your hands on these tools, follow the next steps
Collect the Ash
Since wood-fired pizza ovens operate at extremely high temperatures, the intense heat burns spilled or food bits from the oven and form soot. The high temperatures burn and evaporate the soot during every baking session. However, what’s left is the ashes!
The ash can hinder the performance and taste of the food, so it is advisable to remove it after every baking session. Follow the steps to collect the ash.
- Wait for the oven to come back to normal temperature.
- Using an ash rake or shovel, collect the ash that accumulates at the base of the oven and dispose of it in the ashcan.
Scrape off the Interior
At this stage, most of the spills and drips have dried out from the intense heat. It will now be easy to scrap off the walls and base of the oven. You only need to scrape off the debris.
- Use an Ooni pizza brush or any scraper to scrape off the remaining dried-out food.
- Don’t use any sharp knife as it may damage the cooking area.
- Again, with the help of a shovel, collect the remaining filth in the ashcan for later disposal.
Step 3: Cleaning the Exterior
Cleaning the exterior depends on the outside material of the oven. Usually, a brick ovens don’t get dirty and are resistant to rust. They do not require special care, just dust them off with a brush and they are all squeaky clean. However, if the exterior of the oven is made from stainless steel, you have to save some time for outside cleaning.
Stainless steel tends to show up fingerprints and even the finest dirt particles. You can use a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt. If the outer body gets stains or greasy marks, you can also use non-caustic cleaners.
After cleaning, make sure the door of the oven is shut down properly to avoid water leaking into the oven from rain. It is recommended to cover up the oven with a pizza oven cover. This will protect your oven from sun rays and even rain.
It is recommended to use microfiber cleaning wipes to wipe away the dirt and to give the extra shine finish for a sleek and shiny-looking body. The founder of Gozney recommends using a Bar Keepers Friend Power Spray that will effortlessly remove the stains and also gives shine.
Step 4: Cleaning the Chimney
With frequent baking, the chimney of the pizza oven tends to accumulate soot and get dirty. This soot needs to be cleaned after a certain time period to avoid building up and end up causing a fire and damage. The idle way is to brush off the soot with a pizza brush.
The cleaning of the chimney can be influenced by how frequently you bake pizza in the oven. The pizza ovens that are always in operation with a high production ratio may need to be cleaned more regularly than those that are not used quite often. Don’t use any cleaner or soap as it may damage the inside of the chimney. If the chimney gets blocked with soot, smoke will not properly ventilate and your pizza will end up tasting smoky and burnt.
Tips and Tricks to Clean an Outdoor Pizza Oven
If you came along this far, you probably have got an idea about the necessary steps involved in the cleaning process. Now, I will share some amazing tips and tricks that can surely come in handy and ensure safety while cleaning your pizza oven.
- Before starting cleaning the oven, always turn on the oven for a minimum of 30 minutes at high temperature settings. This will burn down the spills and make them easy to scrape off later.
- Never clean an oven that is still hot. As the outdoor pizza ovens are known to be extremely hot. Wait for the oven to cool down completely before starting cleaning. The hot surface of the oven might burn your hand. Also, the surface of pizza stone is more prone to cracks when hot.
- It is highly advisable to wear waterproof and heat-resistant gloves for hygiene and safety.
- You can use non-caustic cleaners to remove stains and greasy spots from the outer body of the oven. But, don’t use these cleaners when cleaning pizza stone.
- Avoid using excessive water to clean a pizza stone, just use a damp cloth if necessary.
- It is a good practice to clean your pizza oven after you finish cooking. It will save your time and effort and prevent the accumulation of debris ad piles of ashes.