How to Clean a Pizza Stone for a Long Lifespan

by Alexa

By Alexa Erickson

From rolling out the dough to putting on the toppings and finally cutting into the pie, homemade pizza is a delightful experience. One of the most essential parts of a perfect pizza is a pizza stone, which is a popular oven tool that at-home pizza makers use to make their own pies. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to care for your pizza stone, from general cleaning to tackling stains and burns, and even tips for keeping your pizza stone in tiptop shape so it lasts for years—and pizzas—to come.

how to clean a pizza stone

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What is a Pizza Stone Made Of?

Despite its name, a pizza stone isn’t actually made from real stone. The term refers to a material that is sturdy, heavy, and heats up like a stone. Pizza stones can be made of ceramic, cast iron, cordierite, and most commonly, unglazed clay.

Your at-home oven doesn’t get hot enough to effectively cook certain styles of pizza. That’s where a pizza stone comes in: the flat, one-inch-thick, and round item was invented to mimic the high heat environment of a brick oven in order to achieve the perfect dough for thinner crust styles. The stone absorbs and retains heat well and for a long period of time, so you can achieve that perfectly thin pizza pie just like the pros. 

How Often Should You Clean a Pizza Stone?

You should wipe a pizza stone clean after every use, but only deep clean it when there’s food really stuck on the stone that a spatula can’t lift or if there are stains and burns that bother you.

Because pizza stones can survive extreme temperatures, the heat from cooking alone is capable of killing off germs and bacteria. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The temperature you will be cooking at using the pizza stone will be at least three times as hot.

This means you don’t have to scrub your stone often. However, after each use, you should plan to wipe down the stone, removing stuck-on food items like cheese and its oils. Pizza stones are porous and can absorb oils which can eventually break down the material. Stuck-on food should come off fairly easily if you tackle it while the stone is still hot by using a spatula to help lift the food off.

How to Clean a Pizza Stone

Every now and then, when too much food debris is stuck on the stone, it comes time to deep clean a pizza stone. Here’s what to do.

Tools and Materials Needed

Step 1: Allow Stone to Cool

The best time to clean a pizza stone is when you already have it out for cooking! Once pizza time is up and the stone has cooled, it’s time to get to work. 

Step 2: Scrub the Stone

Use a stone brush to scrub the pizza stone. Remove the loosened bits with a damp rag. 

Step 3: Air Dry

Allow the stone to air dry, making sure it’s completely dry before storing it away

how to clean pizza stone stains

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How to Clean Pizza Stone Stains and Burns

Dark marks left behind on the stone are signs of a well-used stone, but if you’re yearning for a fresh look, you can easily remove the stains with the help of abrasive baking soda. Here’s what to do.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Stone brush
  • Water
  • Baking soda

Step 1: Scrape Away Food

Use the stone brush to scrape away food. Then, create a paste consisting of one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of baking soda. 

Step 2: Apply the Paste

Apply the paste onto the stains, then use the brush to scrub the paste into the stains using circular motions. Keep working at it until the stains lift.

Step 3: Wipe Away the Paste, Clean, Let Dry

Once the stains are removed, wipe away the paste using a damp cloth. Allow the stone to dry completely before storing it away. 

Store Your Stone in the Oven

Consider storing your pizza stone in the oven. This will ensure that the stone never experiences rapid temperature changes that can lead to cracking, note the pizza-making experts at Pequod’s Pizza. Another benefit: Keeping your pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven can help the equilibrium of heat in your oven, reducing hot spots that can cook food too quickly.

General Care for a Pizza Stone

There are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when caring for your pizza stone. 

  • Don’t use soap or other cleaning chemicals when cleaning your stone. The porous nature of pizza stones can trap these chemicals and affect the taste of the food cooked on the stone. 
  • Don’t season your stone. It offers no benefit, and the oil will just soak into the stone. 
  • Don’t put your stone in the dishwasher, or attempt to clean it using your oven’s self-cleaning setting.
  • Do stick to a stone brush when cleaning stuck-on bits off the stone. Using anything more abrasive, such as steel wool, can scratch the stone. 
  • Do allow the stone to air dry as opposed to baking it dry in the oven, which can cause the stone to crack.

Do you own a pizza stone? Share your experience with cleaning it below!

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  • Can10385378 Can10385378 on Jan 10, 2022

    My pizza stone is 20 years old. Yes you have to remove food bits, excess visible grease, etc. However, the oil and grease that has soaked into the stone over those years turning it black are what seasons it and prevents the bits from sticking in the first place. The first tips are good. Deep cleaning your stone will ruin it. The best pizza ovens, which are similar inside, are seasoned in the same way.

  • Howard Howard on Jan 11, 2022

    I agree with the commenter Can10385378 and I can add that I have taken several classes taught by professional chefs and every one of them said you never clean your pizza stone. At most, once it has cooled, you may brush off some burnt on remains.