The Easiest Way to Clean a Pizza Stone (Without Ruining It)

updated Apr 30, 2024
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you love artisanal pizza, you’ve probably invested in a pizza stone by now. These specialized cooking tools heat evenly in order to deliver the just-right baking temperature for pizza dough, and they have a porous surface that draws out moisture from the dough as it bakes, so you can get a crispier crust than you would with a traditional baking sheet. (If you’re confused on the difference between a pizza stone and a pizza steel, learn more here.) A pizza stone is a great tool — you just have to be a little careful with how you clean it.

Why You Need to Clean Your Pizza Stone

Over time, like with any tool in your kitchen, food bits compound and can affect the effectiveness of the tool — and, of course, the flavor of the food cooked on it. This is especially true with pizza stones, which don’t exactly look dirty after using, so you might not clean it after every use. However, the cheese, tomato sauce, dough, oil, flour, and toppings will soak into the porous surface over time, which can shorten the pizza stone’s lifetime and give you a funky flavor in your pizzas.

How Often Should You Clean a Pizza Stone?

In theory, you should clean a pizza stone after every use for the best-tasting pizza, and the longest-lasting pizza stone. You should at least wipe it down after every use and try to get stuck-on cheese or sauce off. This way, you won’t have to deep-clean it (steps below!) as frequently — that should be done after every few uses.

Common Pizza Stone Cleaning Mistakes

  • Soaking your pizza stone.
  • Using dish soap, cleaning chemicals, or oil on your pizza stone.
  • Putting your pizza stone in the dishwasher.
  • Trying to get every stain out (staining is normal!).
  • Leaving your pizza stone in the oven during a self-cleaning oven cycle.
  • Not letting the pizza stone cool before cleaning it.

Because the stone is porous, it will absorb any soap or cleanser you put on it, so never clean it with anything you wouldn’t be comfortable eating. You should also always make sure it’s cool before you go to clean it, as sudden temperature changes could shock the stone and crack it. And if you soak it in water, it will retain that moisture for a long time.

The Best Way to Clean a Pizza Stone

Without further ado, here’s how to clean a pizza stone without damaging it — or your future pizza (or other creations you can make on it).

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Pizza Stone

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Let it cool: Allow your pizza stone to cool completely before cleaning it. Again, it could crack or break if it comes into contact with cool water while it’s still hot.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Scrape lightly: Use the spatula to loosen any melty cheese or stuck-on bits. Do not use a metal spatula or knife, as these can scratch the pizza stone.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Wipe the stone: Wipe off any remaining debris with a soft cloth.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Make a paste: If some crusty bits remain, try spot-treating them: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Use it as a scrub: Apply a small amount of the paste to the spot and scrub it gently with your brush in a circular motion.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Wipe the stone again: Wipe up any debris with your damp cloth.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Cook off stubborn bits: If there are still chunky bits that you can’t remove, place the pizza stone in the oven, then turn the heat up to 500°F. Once it reaches that temperature, let the stone cook for about an hour to cook off the stubborn bits.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Let dry: Allow your stone to dry completely (for at least 1 to 2 hours) before using it again.

One final note: Accept that your pizza stone will stain with use and some will not come off, no matter how many times you do the steps above. But know that most stains won’t affect the taste of your food (some people think it might even enhance the taste!). There are also alternatives to a pizza stone in case it suddenly breaks.