How to Properly Clean an Outdoor Pizza Oven

It only takes a few simple steps to clean an outdoor pizza oven, an easy task when you have the right tools on hand.

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Introduction

Your outdoor pizza oven is most likely the pride and joy of your backyard cooking area. It's also really easy to clean and maintain. Thanks to the high cooking temperatures in an outdoor pizza oven, most food debris — whether it's tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese or a stray slice of pepperoni — will burn off rather than sticking to the interior of the oven. Follow these simple steps between uses and your outdoor pizza oven will continue to work perfectly for years to come.

Note: The first four steps apply to wood-fired ovens. For tips on how to clean a gas-heated outdoor pizza oven, see Step 5.

Tools Required

  • Ash rake
  • Ashcan
  • Copper or brass oven brush
  • Fireplace shovel

 

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Collect the Ash

  • Wait until your outdoor pizza oven has completely cooled before you start cleaning. We recommend waiting until the next day, after cooking.
  • Using pizza oven tools like an ash rake, collect the ash and wood remnants into a pile near the mouth of the oven.

Collect the AshElizabeth Heath for Family Handyman

Step 2

Scoop Out the Ash

  • Using the ash rake and a fireplace shovel, or similar small shovel with a flat tip or cutting edge, scoop the ash out of the oven. Don't worry if you can't capture it all.
  • Collect the ash in a covered ashcan for disposal later, or for adding to your compost bin. If you have a small amount of ash, consider scattering it around nearby plants.

Step 3

Scrape Off Baked-On Debris

  • While most food spills will likely burn off in the oven's high heat, you may have occasional residue.
  • Use an oven brush with copper or brass bristles to scrape away any baked-on or burnt food, grease or other materials from the oven floor.
  • Don't add any soap or solvents.
  • Don't use any brush that's not made of brass or copper. Other metal bristles can damage the heating surface of your oven.

Scrape off the baked bitsElizabeth Heath for Family Handyman

Step 4

Give It a Final Sweep

  • Brush out any remaining ash with the oven brush, put the oven door in place (if you have one) and you're all set for the next time you're ready to fire up your outdoor pizza oven!

Step 5

Cleaning a Gas Oven

  • For cleaning a gas-heated stainless steel pizza oven, start by removing the pizza stone.
  • Wipe the stone with a damp, soft cloth, and use a copper or brass wire oven brush to scrape away any baked-on debris.
  • With the pizza stone still removed, spray the interior of the oven, including the heating elements if necessary, with white vinegar. Wipe everything down with a soft cloth.
  • Reinsert the pizza stone and you're ready to go.