How to Clean a Pizza Stone in 5 Easy Steps

A pizza stone is an essential tool for making crisp, restaurant-quality pizza at home. Over time, residue from oil, sauce, and burnt cheese can build up on the porous surface of the stone. Knowing how to properly clean a pizza stone will help maintain its performance and extend its lifespan. Follow these easy cleaning methods after each use to keep your pizza stone looking like new.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Pizza Stone

Cleaning your pizza stone after every use is highly recommended for optimal performance and longevity. Here’s why it’s so important:

  • Prevents Flavor Transfer – Built up residue can lead to imparting off-flavors to your future pizzas. A clean stone ensures you only get the intended tastes.
  • Avoids Damage – Letting oils and acids sit on the surface for extended periods can start to breakdown the material over time, causing cracking or deterioration.
  • Improves Heat Conduction – For quick, even cooking a pizza stone needs to transfer heat efficiently. Grease and food particles act as insulators negatively impacting results.
  • Extends Lifespan – With proper care a quality pizza stone can last for many years. Regular cleaning prevents premature wear and keeps it looking like new.
  • Avoids Messes – Leftover debris can smoke, flake off, or even catch fire in extreme cases. A clean stone is a safer stone.
  • Kills Bacteria – Burnt on food residues can harbor harmful bacteria. Sanitizing the surface avoids any risks of cross-contamination.

With so many benefits, taking the time to clean your pizza stone after each and every use is a simple practice that pays off.

Step 1: Allow Stone to Cool Completely

After removing your finished pizza, it’s important to let the pizza stone cool completely before attempting to clean it. Extreme shifts in temperature can lead to cracking. Letting the stone cool prevents:

  • Thermal Shock – Sudden temperature changes from hot to cold can cause rapid expansion and contraction leading to cracks.
  • Steam Burns – Dousing a hot stone with water creates scalding steam that can burn your hands.
  • Messes – Warm, cooked-on food debris adheres more stubbornly to a hot surface.

For food safety and ideal results, allow your pizza stone to cool naturally to room temperature before cleaning. This make take 1-2 hours after use. Be patient.

Here are some don’ts while your pizza stone cools:

  • Don’t place in cold water or the freezer. Allow natural cooling.
  • Don’t scrub or scrape off any debris until fully cooled.
  • Don’t stack items on top that can trap in heat like pans or foil.

The short wait is worth it for the best cleaning experience and safety. Mark your mental checklist, step 1 complete!

Step 2: Remove Loose Debris

Once fully cooled, the next step is removing any large leftover food particles or debris sitting on top of the pizza stone surface. This prevents these pieces from getting harder to remove if left to sit longer.

Use a Plastic Scraper

A plastic scraper or spatula is effective for gently lifting off any large leftover crumbs, cheese globs, or sauce drippings. The plastic won’t scratch the stone like metal tools can.

  • Hold scraper nearly parallel to pizza stone surface.
  • Apply light pressure while scraping debris away.
  • Try not to dig in too deeply to avoid scraping stone itself.
  • Sweep all loose pieces into garbage.

This simple manual cleaning clears off the easy stuff first.

Employ Paper Towels

For any oils or sauces that remain in a liquid state after cooling, you can use folded paper towels to blot them up.

  • Place sheets of paper towels over oily areas.
  • Apply pressure with your hand to absorb liquid.
  • Remove and discard soaked towels.
  • Use new towels as needed until all visible oil is removed.

Scrape off what you can, and blot up the rest for less mess in the next steps!

Step 3: Wash With Mild Soap and Water

Now that any large food pieces are removed, it’s time to wash the pizza stone surface to lift away remaining stuck-on residues. Avoid harsh cleaners, only use mild soap and warm water.

Choose a Gentle Cleaning Agent

Harsh chemicals and cleaners are too abrasive for the porous material of a pizza stone. They can degrade surfaces and cause damage over time.

The safest cleaning solutions for pizza stones are:

  • Dish Soap – Use a couple drops of ordinary dish soap. Look for unscented and non-antibacterial varieties.
  • Baking Soda – Make a gentle scrub with baking soda and water. Baking soda lifts residues without harsh chemicals.
  • Vinegar – The acid in vinegar cuts grease. Mix a tablespoon or two into wash water.

Stick to simple mild cleaning solutions, and always avoid these damaging products:

  • No bleach, ammonia, or other harsh cleaners.
  • No gritty powders like comet or abrasive scrub pads.
  • No soap containing citrus oils which can break down stone.

A gentle scrub with dish soap or baking soda gets the stone clean without risk of degradation over time.

Make a Mild Soapy Scrub

Here’s a simple scrub that’s safe yet effective for cleaning pizza stones:

  • In a bowl or sink, mix a few drops of dish soap into warm water.
  • Use a soft sponge, rag, or brush to apply the soapy solution to the stone.
  • Gently scrub any remaining residues still stuck to the surface.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap.
  • Dry completely with clean towels.

Repeat as needed for stubborn spots, then let the stone air dry to finish.

Step 4: Sanitize with Heat

For optimal sanitation and performance, the next recommended step is to heat your pizza stone after washing. High heat both removes any remaining hidden grease and kills any bacteria.

Bake in Oven

An effective way to sanitize your cleaned pizza stone is by baking it in the oven.

  • Heat empty oven to 500°F or maximum temperature.
  • Place pizza stone directly on oven rack.
  • Bake for 30 minutes once fully heated.
  • Turn oven off and allow to cool completely before removing.

The high dry heat destroys any lingering food residues or bacteria for a fully sanitized stone surface. Just be sure to allow gradual cooling to avoid any thermal cracks.

Grill Over Fire

If you have a grill available, you can place your pizza stone on the grates while heating the coals.

  • Build a charcoal fire or heat your gas grill to high.
  • Set pizza stone over hot fire.
  • Close lid and let stone heat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool slowly before removing and storing.

The intense open flame heat helps leave your stone sanitary for its next pizza job.

Step 5: Store Properly After Use

Once fully cleaned, sanitized, and cooled, don’t neglect proper storage between uses. Setting your pizza stone on an open rack allows air circulation to prevent any moisture or smells from getting trapped under the surface.

Let Air Circulate Underneath

After cleaning, allow your pizza stone to fully air dry in a rack before storing to prevent any odors or moisture being sealed in.

  • Place stone on oven rack, grill grate, or wire cooling rack.
  • Allow 1-2 hours for thorough air drying.
  • Rotate periodically for even circulation all around stone.

Drying in open air is an important last step before storing your cleaned pizza stone.

Store on Stable Surface

It’s best to keep your pizza stone stored on a stable, elevated surface rather than sealing in a cabinet.

Ideal pizza stone storage spots include:

  • Pizza stone racks designed for air flow underneath.
  • Wire oven racks standing vertically.
  • Shelves lined with spacers to prevent surface contact.
  • Pizza peel handle to elevate stone off counters.

Avoid stacking anything heavy on top during storage to prevent chips or cracks. With proper care between uses, your pizza stone can deliver delicious pizzas for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Pizza Stones

New pizza stone owners often have additional questions about keeping their stones clean. Here are answers to some of the most common cleaning FAQs.

Can you use soap to clean a pizza stone?

Yes, you can use mild soap and water. Just avoid harsh soaps or detergents which can degrade the stone over time. A few drops of ordinary dish soap in warm water is effective yet gentle.

What happens if you don’t clean your pizza stone?

Not cleaning your pizza stone can lead to permanent stains, flavor transfer, bacteria growth, cracks, and reduced performance. Failure to clean will significantly shorten the usable lifespan of your pizza stone.

How can you clean burnt on food from a pizza stone?

For stubborn burnt-on food, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently scrub with a plastic scraper or brush. You can also boil water and pour it on the stone, then scrape once cooled – but ensure the stone is heat-safe to avoid cracks.

Why does my clean pizza stone still look dirty?

Minor discoloration is normal even on a fully cleaned pizza stone. Stains indicate it was properly seasoned from use rather than being brand new. As long as you don’t have carbon deposits or grease, a stained stone can still cook beautifully.

How do you deep clean a pizza stone?

For a deep clean, use coarse kosher salt and scrub with a damp towel. For tough stains, make a paste with salt, water and vinegar to scrub. Just avoid using salt on fragile or thin stones. Boiling water can also help lift deep stains.

Should you wash a pizza stone before first use?

It’s a good idea to give a brand new pizza stone at least one initial wash before cooking on it the first time. This removes any loose manufacturing residues. However, don’t scrub aggressively – a basic first wash helps prime it for use.

Maintain Your Pizza Stone Properly

Caring for your pizza stone doesn’t end after cleaning. Follow these tips to maintain its integrity and performance between uses:

  • Always allow gradual preheating and cooling during use to prevent thermal shock.
  • Avoid dropping the stone or exposing it to strong impacts which can cause chips and cracks.
  • Never add cold liquids like water or oil to a hot pizza stone which can damage it.
  • Rotate the pizza while cooking for even wear and tear rather than just sitting in one spot.
  • Consider periodically re-seasoning your stone by rubbing in a thin layer of oil to maintain a natural non-stick patina.

With the proper care tips, your well-cleaned pizza stone will cook pizza after pizza to crispy perfection.


Regular cleaning after each use is essential for keeping your pizza stone in top performing condition. Allowing food residues to build up can lead to permanent damage and require replacement sooner.

Follow these easy steps to clean your pizza stone like a pro:

  • Let the stone fully cool after baking to prevent cracking
  • Scrape off any loose debris gently with a plastic tool
  • Wash with mild dish soap and water using a soft scrub brush or sponge
  • Sanitize by baking in a hot oven or grill to remove hidden residue
  • Allow thorough air drying before storage to prevent odors

Learn the proper methods for cleaning a pizza stone, and it will provide many years of crispy, restaurant-worthy pizzas straight from your home oven or grill. With just a little regular care after each use, your pizza stone can look and function like new every time.