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How To Clean A Pizza Oven

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The best way to cook the most delicious pizza is with a pizza oven. You must ensure your pizza oven is well-maintained to get the tastiest treats.

 Luckily, this is easy to do, but you must follow the correct method. Having a well-maintained oven is key to making delicious pizza and the longevity of your outdoor pizza oven. 

Want to learn how to clean a pizza oven properly? Read on for our guide!

Pizza Oven Basics

What is a pizza oven? Its name is self-explanatory; it's a specialized oven primarily used to make pizza. 

Along with an outdoor grill, it often becomes the centerpiece of an outdoor cooking setup.

When you use a pizza oven, the source of the fire doesn't cook your food – instead, the entire mechanism of the oven provides the heat needed to bake your pizza. 

These ovens are heated using fire fueled by either gas or wood. When lit up, the dome and base of the oven absorb and retain the heat from the flame.

It then traps the heat with the insulated materials of the oven, allowing it to reach temperatures as high as 800F easily.

There are several types of pizza ovens. The most well-known ones are classic outdoor brick ovens. These take up a lot of space, so it takes longer to heat up. 

However, since it uses brick, it can retain heat for longer.

Stainless steel ovens are also a popular choice for many. While these can't retain heat as long as brick ovens, they're just as effective in making delicious, homemade pizza. 

You can choose between gas-fired stainless steel ovens or wood-fired ones for your outdoor setup. 

More recently, portable pizza ovens have gained a following since they're a breeze to use, easy to carry around, and can produce tasty food as well as larger models do.

Why Clean Your Pizza Oven? 

Some may say that it depends on your oven type, but cleaning it is the best way to ensure its longevity and food quality. 

Cleaning your oven is essential, especially if you're burning fuel. Not doing so will affect the taste of what you cook, making them taste like soot and ash. 

Apart from making your food taste weird, soot, dirt, and grime also accumulate in the different parts of your pizza oven. 

This dramatically reduces how well your oven performs and how efficiently it operates. It may affect how your oven retains heat, how quickly it heats up, or how even the heat is inside. 

How to Clean a Pizza Oven

While you may think pizza ovens are intimidating to maintain, think again. Yes, there are specific steps that you need to follow, but they're easy to do. 

If you want to learn how to clean an outdoor pizza oven, here's what you need to know.

Cleaning Outdoor Brick Pizza Ovens

The cleaning process is quite simple if you have a pizza oven made of brick. 

  1. Brick pizza ovens can retain heat for days so make sure it's completely cooled down before anything else.
  2. Gather the ashes inside your brick oven using an ash rake specifically for pizza oven cleanup. Bring them to the mouth of the oven and pile the ashes up for easy collection.
  3. Collect the ashes in an ash can and dispose of them later. You can add it to a compost bin, too.
  4. If burnt food and grease residue are in your oven, scrape it away using a copper or brass bristled brush

Make sure only to use copper and brass, as other metals may damage your oven's interior heating surface. Also, avoid using soap products or solvents.

  1. After scraping off food residue, sweep the interior of your oven again to get rid of the extra debris.

Stainless Steel Ovens

Most modern pizza ovens are made of stainless steel. While these may look like they're made up of many parts, cleanup is a breeze. 

Here's what you need to do to clean and maintain pizza ovens made of stainless steel.

Like brick pizza ovens, you should avoid cleaning hot stainless steel pizza ovens. So, wait for your pizza oven to cool down before starting the cleaning process. 

Cleaning a Wood-Fired Oven

Wood Fired Pizza Oven

When people talk about wood-fired ovens, many think of outdoor brick ovens. 

However, stainless steel wood-fired ovens are also a popular choice for many. They make delicious pizza, and they're easy to maintain!

A wood-fired pizza oven will leave soot and ash inside. If you have an oven that's properly working, there won't be much of these since they'll be incinerated. 

But some debris is inevitable, and you need to clean these up, or else they'll accumulate and affect your food's taste.

Here's how you can clean your wood-fired pizza oven:

  1. Many modern, stainless steel pizza ovens are self-cleaning, including wood-fired ones. 

These ovens do so through pyrolysis, which helps incinerate any organic materials left in your oven, including soot and ash. To do this step, you must keep your oven at 1,000F (500C) for five minutes.

  1. After pyrolysis, wait until your entire oven has cooled off before cleaning leftover debris. Using a small shovel (made of material that won't damage your oven's surface), scoop out most of the ash and debris.
  2. Then, using a soft brush, sweep, gather and collect the ash, soot, and debris left inside your pizza oven. 
  3. If food debris is stuck on your pizza oven's interior surface, use a soft wire brush to scrape it off. Avoid using wire brushes with stiff bristles, as they can damage the surface of your oven's interior.
  4. Then, make it a point to clean the chimney. Since soot is a byproduct of burning wood, this can build up in your pizza oven's chimney. 

Clean the chimney regularly to avoid any buildup that can affect your oven's performance and the taste of your pizza.

  1. Next, clean the stainless steel parts of your oven, including the exterior. You can use a soft, clean rag soaked in a solution of equal parts water and soap. 

You can also use stainless-steel cleaners on the exterior.

  1. Reinforce the stainless steel protection by rubbing vaseline or baby oil on the surface.
  2. To protect your stainless steel oven when not in use, make sure to protect it with a pizza oven cover

Cleaning a Gas-Fired Oven

When you use gas-fired ovens, you don't have to worry about soot and ash, unlike the wood-fired types. So, this is likely the easiest pizza oven to maintain. 

Here's how to clean a gas-fired oven:

  1. Even though you don't have soot and ash to worry about, debris from burnt food and stains can still be found in the interior of your gas-fired oven. 

Start your oven's cleanup by letting it undergo pyrolysis.

  1. After the pyrolysis process, let your oven cool down before cleaning the interior. Sweep and collect the debris left over from the pyrolysis process. 
  2. After dealing with the debris, you must also clean off the grease. You can use a soft wire brush to scrape away grease stains safely. 
  3. After this, you can clean the stainless steel parts of your oven using a soft rag soaked in soap and water. You can also use commercially sold stainless steel cleaners for this step.
  4. You should reinforce the stainless steel's protection after cleaning by rubbing baby oil or vaseline on its surface.
  5. You should also check and maintain the gas burner and valves when cleaning gas-fired stoves. You can remove debris that ends up stuck there using a wire brush. 

Additionally, make it a habit to clean nozzles at least once a year to prevent any clogging from happening. 

  1. To protect your stainless steel oven when not in use, make sure to protect it with a pizza oven cover.

If you want to know how to clean a portable pizza oven, the steps are generally the same as its larger counterparts. 

And it mostly depends on what type of portable oven it is – whether it's wood-fired or gas-fired.

How Often Should Pizza Ovens Be Cleaned?

Alfa Pizza Oven

For the best upkeep of your pizza oven, regular cleaning is advised. Any spills that may happen inside it should be immediately removed to avoid staining. 

A good rule of thumb is to clean it after every use. 

If that's too high maintenance for you, you can clean your oven once a week of regular use. Or you can also clean it once after every five uses if there are stains and spills inside.

Maintaining Your Outdoor Pizza Ovens

Having a pizza oven as part of your outdoor setup is always a treat. After all, it's the best way to cook one of the tastiest and most popular dishes. 

But if you want your pizza oven to last a long time in tip-top shape, you must be vigilant and keep it well-maintained.

While cleaning kitchen appliances can be intimidating, especially for beginners, knowing how to do it is crucial to upkeep your kitchen items. 

Discover how to clean a pizza oven properly, and see the difference it makes when cooking some delicious pizza to share.

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