If you’re looking for a fun way to cook in your garden this year, may we steer you in the direction of the best pizza ovens? Whether you’re an Ooni, Gozney or Sage fan, pizza ovens make delicious pizza that’s far better than any frozen option on the market. Pizza oven creations may take slightly longer to prepare than ordering from your local takeaway, but they’re simply unrivalled when it comes to taste, texture and authenticity.
But, even the best pizza ovens out there need a bit of TLC from time to time. Cleaning your outdoor cooking equipment might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re tackling a grimey barbecue or dirty pizza oven, but it’s surprisingly easier than you might think.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to cleaning your pizza oven, including tips on how to get started and the tools you’ll need.
Things to remember when cleaning pizza ovens
Before we get started, it’s important to understand the type of pizza oven you have. There are three types of pizza ovens on the market: wood fired, gas and electric. Depending on which one you own, the clean-up will be a little different, especially with a wood fired option as it produces more ash than the others. Oftentimes, you’ll also find hybrid options like the Gozney Dome which is gas and wood pellet powered, so make sure you double check what type you have before starting any cleaning.
To keep your pizza oven clean for longer, invest in a waterproof cover so it’s not affected by the elements. If your pizza oven is getting battered by the wind or rain, it can cause the outside to rust and corrode, and if you have one that doesn’t have a door, things can fly inside and contaminate it, making your next meal unhygienic. If you’re not using your pizza oven during winter, make sure to store it properly, too.
How to clean a pizza oven: the step-by-step guide
1. Put your pizza oven on at full temperature
Instead of turning off your pizza oven after you’ve made your pizza, let it run at the highest temperature for at least 30 minutes. What this does is burn off any food or debris on the pizza stone or inside of your oven and turns it into ash which you can sweep up – more on this in the next step. This first step minimises your overall clean up and makes the inside more hygienic, ready for your next meal. After you’ve done this, turn off your pizza oven and let it cool completely before you do the next steps.
2. Remove any ash
Once your pizza oven is off and cool, take a brush and remove the ash and leftover food from the inside. You can dispose of the ash in a fire pit or compost pile (see the best compost bin for options). If you’re using a wood fired pizza oven, take this time to clean out the fuel tray, fuel hopper and chimney if it has one.
3. Clean the pizza stone
The pizza stone is where your pizza sits when it’s being cooked by your pizza oven so it’s often the dirtiest spot. After you’ve removed all the ash, carefully remove the pizza stone, flip it over and return it to the oven before turning it up to the highest temperature for 30 minutes. This is similar to the first step, but you can do this again to the pizza stone if some food won’t budge.
After your pizza oven has cooled and if there’s still food on your pizza stone, remove it and scrape off the food with a brush or spatula. Next, rinse it with water and scrub it with a sponge to get rid of any burnt bits that are still lingering. If there’s still food on your pizza stone, tackle this and any stains by making a quick cleaning solution, using baking soda and water. Once you’ve made a paste with these ingredients, spread it on the pizza stone and leave it for 5-10 minutes before removing it with a brush. Rinse it with water to remove any excess paste and leave it to dry.
4. Wipe down the outside
Once the inside is taken care of, you can clean the outside of your pizza oven. All you need is warm water and a cloth to give the exterior a wipe down to remove any grease and ash. For tougher stains, you can use soapy water but make sure you don’t use any cleaning products with harsh chemicals as this can corrode the metal. Leave your pizza oven to dry before putting everything back together and covering it.
How often should you clean your pizza oven?
As we found in our 5 things I wish I’d known before buying an Ooni pizza oven, pizza ovens are surprisingly easy to clean and don’t get as dirty as you might expect, especially compared to the best smokers. That being said, it’s worth wiping down your pizza oven and its accessories after each use. This just makes your next pizza oven session cleaner, easier and more hygienic. A deep clean like the tutorial above doesn’t need to be done every time but it’s worth doing step 1 and 2 after you’ve made your pizzas. If you start seeing build-up on your pizza stone, then it’s time to do the full cleaning process.