How to clean your ooni/uuni pizza oven

Do I need to clean my Ooni pizza oven?

Well that depends, but in a word, yes! This is especially true if you are burning solid fuel such as wood pellets, kindling, or charcoal.

Cleaning ooni pizza oven
Cleaning my ooni pizza oven

Over time, soot will gather inside the components such as the hopper and the chimney, reducing the efficiency of your oven.

You may find that your oven doesn’t get as hot as it used to, isn’t as consistent, or it takes longer to get up to heat (or all 3!). This is a sure fire sign that your ooni/uuni pizza oven needs a clean.

soot buildup in ooni/uuni pizza oven
Solid fuel such as wood pellets cause soot buildup

The other problem is that soot can gather on the ceiling of your pizza oven. When this happens, it can fall onto your pizza during cooking, resulting in a sooty flavour and appearance to your pizza.

When I’ve looked on the ooni website, I haven’t found any information about cleaning out your pizza oven which I’m amazed about! Maybe it’s because they don’t want people taking apart the ovens. But cleaning your ooni is really easy to do (and quite satisfying) and your pizzas and pizza making will be all the better for it.

Do I need to clean my gas pizza oven?

If you’re using gas in your ooni, you may find that you don’t need to clean it much at all. There shouldn’t be any soot build up so the main thing that you will need to keep clean is the pizza stone.

How do I clean my OONI pizza oven?

When I clean my ooni pizza oven, I like to get all the car washing materials out. I dismantle the oven and then scrub everything with a brush or sponge and soapy water, before rinsing down thoroughly.

materials for cleaning your ooni pizza oven
Everything you will need to clean your ooni pizza oven

What you’ll need to clean your pizza oven

All these are just the materials that I had available. Just use whatever you have but bear in that they will get covered in soot!

Cleaning your ooni is a bit of a messy job!
Cleaning your ooni is a bit of a messy job!

I find the brush very handy as it easily scrubs off thick soot, as well as allowing you some extra reach. You could just manage with a sponge though if you don’t have one.

The hose is also very useful as you can build up some pressure to give everything a good rinse down after cleaning. But again, you could just dry everything down with a towel instead (although this will be a bit tricky).

The best brush for cleaning your Ooni

We have found a car alloy cleaning brush to be the best type to use, like this one on Amazon.

The great thing about this type of brush is that the bristles go all around the brush. This enables you to clean multiple surfaces of your oven at once.

It also makes it much easier when cleaning the chimney. Using a brush with bristles on one side makes cleaning an Ooni pizza oven a bit trickier.

How do you clean an OONI 3?

The most important part to get clean on the ooni 3 is the shield that surrounds the top of the pizza, guiding the flames across the pizza.

The pizza oven I have is an early version of the ooni 3 (it was called uuni back then!). Fortunately, I can remove this part to give it a good clean (see picture below).

Removing soot from the inside of the ooni
Removing soot from the inside of the ooni

On later models, I think this part is fastened down. If you cannot remove it just ensure that you get your arm inside the oven and scrub it clean with a brush/sponge.

Getting your arm inside the ooni/uuni is a messy job!
Getting your arm inside the ooni/uuni is a messy job!

Soot collects on this part, as it is essentially the ceiling of the pizza oven. If this is not kept clean, the soot can fall onto your pizza, producing an overly smoky and sutty flavour.

Clean underside of ooni pizza oven
Nice and clean now! (A bit of rust didn’t hurt anyone)

Also be sure to remove the hopper from the back of the oven. Dismantle this, place all the components inside a bucket of soapy water, including the grate, and clean them thoroughly.

Cleaning Ooni components
Ooni components (hopper) in a bucket of water

Don’t forget the chimney!

A lot of soot builds up on the inside of the ooni chimney. I always remove the chimney to give it a good clean.

Cleaning the ooni chimney with a brush
Cleaning the chimney with a brush

Once removed, you can scrub the inside of it (preferably with a brush) from each end in order to clean the entire length.

How do I clean my OONI pro?

To clean your ooni pro, you can follow the cleaning process above. The only real difference is that cleaning the ooni pro will be easier than cleaning the ooni 3 as it is larger. You will probably find it easier to get your arm inside and also to see what is clean and what isn’t.

Obviously with the Ooni pro you will have 4 pizza stones to clean instead of 1. I would recommend taking out and cleaning each stone one at a time.

Once the stone is clean you can replace it and then start on another. This just makes the process much safer, preventing you from breaking a stone.

How do you clean an OONI pizza stone?

Whilst you’re cleaning out your pizza oven, you can clean the stone down with a sponge and soapy water. Don’t forget to clean both sides and be sure to wash as much of the soap away as possible afterwards.

Scrubbing an ooni pizza stone
A good old scrub works well!

A word of warning though, be careful with your pizza stone, they can break easily. Handle them with care and place them on a flat surface before cleaning.

After rinsing your ooni pizza stone down, be sure to leave it to fully dry before getting it up to temperature in the oven. Pizza stones are slightly porous and if there is moisture left in the stone, it may cause it to crack.

However, the best time to clean the stone is when it is up to temperature. At this point you can tie a damp cloth to the end of your peel (with string or rubber band) and brush it against the stone. The extreme heat, along with the damp cloth will leave your stone beautifully clean.

You don’t have to do this every time, however. Each time you take out your ooni to cook pizza, flip the stone before lighting. You will be amazed at how clean the underside of the stone is.

Clean ooni pizza stone
There’s nothing like cooking on a clean stone!

This is because the extreme heat produced during the previous cooking has freed any burnt flour from the underside of the stone and allowed it to fall off.

Burnt cheese on pizza stone

Burnt cheese on a pizza stone is pretty much the worst thing for your stone. In fact, it can even crack your pizza stone so try to avoid this for happening as much as possible.

Burnt cheese on a pizza stone
Burnt cheese on a pizza stone

If you ever notice a tear in your pizza, be sure to fix it before loading your pizza into the oven. If you can’t patch the tear, you’ll have to make another pizza unfortunately. You can salvage the toppings but the dough will have to go!

Trust me, it’s not worth the risk. I had a pizza stone break on me in the early days when I left a ripped pizza in the oven. The melted cheese ran onto the stone and cracked it, straight through the middle.

Even if your stone doesn’t break, cheese on a hot stone results in a burnt pizza stone, which is a pain to clean!

How do you clean a burnt pizza stone?

A burnt pizza stone can be tricky to clean. But do not worry, all is not lost, it can usually be cleaned. Also, remember you can always turn the stone over and use the other side!

A burnt pizza stone can be a pain to clean!
A burnt pizza stone can be a pain to clean!

Once the burnt stone has cooled, you can clean it with a sponge and soapy water. You should be able to clean up the pizza stone pretty well just by doing this.

Cleaning pizza stone with a sponge
A sponge and soapy water should help

But to get the rest off, the best way is to clean the stone when it is up to temperature. I like to use the sharp edge of my metal peel to scrape off any burnt bits from the hot stone.

If you don’t have a metal peel, you could use a metal spatula or something similar. Just be careful not to press down too hard, we don’t want to break the stone!

Then I use a damp cloth tied to my peel to clean the stone as best as possible. If there are still some loose burnt bits on the stone at this stage, you can use the sharp edge of the peel/spatula again and repeat the process.

If there are still some burnt bits left on the stone, it may be wise to turn the stone over and cook on the other side. Over time, the underside will clean itself with the extreme heat of the oven.

To avoid burning your pizza stone in the future, make sure you don’t overload your pizza with cheese.

Modest cheese on pizza
Use a modest amount of cheese on your pizza

If you use too much cheese, you risk your pizza ripping and/or melted cheese flowing onto the stone. A true Neapolitan pizza shouldn’t use a lot of cheese anyway.

As soon as the cheese runs off the pizza it will burn onto the stone. Also, do not load a ripped pizza into the oven.

Do you put anything on a pizza stone?

You should not put anything on your stone at all (other than pizza or bread!). A pizza stone is made to be cooked directly on without anything on the surface.

Should I oil my ooni pizza stone?

Do not oil your ooni pizza stone! Adding oil to the stone can create smoke and a terrible odor! 

Worse still, adding oil to your pizza stone could make it crack when it gets up to temperature. A pizza stone will naturally season itself overtime as you cook pizza so you don’t have to do anything special to it.

flames cleaning and seasoning the pizza stone
The flames clean and season the pizza stone

All you need to do is keep it clean and cook pizza on it!

Can you leave a pizza stone in the oven all the time?

I leave my pizza stone in my pizza oven all the time and have never had any problems with this. The pizza oven is also left in the garage where it often gets freezing cold but it hasn’t caused any problems with the stone.

The main key is that the stone is heated up and left to cool gradually, as the oven heats up and cools down. Any quick changes in temperature can cause expansion and contraction which can lead to cracking.

For this reason, it is generally recommended to leave your stone in the oven.

If you are using a pizza stone in a domestic oven, however, you will probably want to remove the stone when you are not using it. When you want to use the pizza stone, make sure to place it in the oven before turning the oven on. Also, be sure to allow the stone to cool before removing it.

The other problem with removing the stone from the oven each time is storage. You should ensure to rest the stone on a flat surface, and not to place any items on top of it.


Keeping your ooni pizza oven clean is really important if you are burning solid fuels. Removing the soot build up will improve the taste of your pizzas as well as improving the efficiency and consistency of your pizza oven.

All you need is a pizza oven (really?!) and some household cleaning materials
All you need is a pizza oven (really?!) and some household cleaning materials

It is really easy to do with household materials and it only takes about 20 minutes.

I have had people asking me if it’s safe to clean your pizza stone with soapy water. Many people say that it isn’t and Ooni themselves don’t recommend it. In fact, all I could find on the Ooni website was this response in the support section.

However, I have never experienced any issues with cleaning the stone. I have never damaged my stone and it never tastes of soap afterwards. As long as you rinse thoroughly and heat up your stone properly you should be fine.

Pizza made in a clean ooni/uuni 3 pizza oven
Delicious pizza made in a clean ooni/uuni 3 pizza oven using this recipe

So give your pizza oven a good clean and let’s get making pizza! 

Tom Rothwell from My Pizza Corner eating homemade pizza

About Me

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!

Ooni Pizza Ovens
Tom Rothwell's Ooni pizza oven

My Pizza Oven

I often get asked what type of oven I use for my pizzas. Well, I use a pizza oven made by a company called Ooni.

The range of pizza ovens that Ooni offers is just brilliant. They cover all bases, and all price points. There's affordable and portable models such as the Fyra 12 Pizza Oven and then there's state-of-the-art models such as the Karu 16 Pizza Oven pictured below.

In all honesty, I would say that the oven makes a huge difference. If you're looking to make authentic Italian pizza, a pizza oven is a must.

Pizza cooked in Ooni pizza oven

By clicking the link below and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I've been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't believe in their products.

Time to make some amazing pizza!

K16 - US
  1. Avatar for Joseph Cennamo Joseph Cennamo says:

    How can you get the bottom crispy with out burning the top of the pie

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Hi Joseph, getting the bottom crispy in a pizza oven is difficult because they’re generally designed for Neapolitan style pizza. This type of pizza has a soft bottom with crispy crusts, and is a result of the extreme temperature (450C/850F).

      However, you can still try cooking the pizza at a lower temperature for longer (say 350C/650F). This should help you to achieve a crispier bottom.

      Also, cooking pizza in a regular home oven can be a great way to achieve a crispy pizza. You can simply cook the pizza at around 250C/480F (will probably take 5 minutes or longer). At much lower temperatures the pizza spends more time in contact with the stone which results in a crispier base.

      This may sound counter-intuitive but lower temperautes actually produces a crispier pizza. This is why Neapolitan style pizza tends to be soft – it cooks at around 450C/850F for just 90 seconds.

      Personally, I love Neapolitan pizza with the combination of a soft base and crispy crusts. But I know a lot of people prefer a crispy base so just experiment with the temperature and see what works for you.

      Good luck!

  2. Ooni Karu
  3. Avatar for Tony Bairstow Tony Bairstow says:

    Thanks Tom. That was great advice and so clearly explained. I didn’t realise how sooty our Ooni oven was until setting up yesterday and my whole forearm came out black! I am going to follow your advice and name my next creation the ‘Rothwell Pizza’ !

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Haha thanks Tony. Good luck, I hope it turns out well!

  4. Ooni Karu
  5. Avatar for Tim Tim says:

    Great article and great advice. Thanks for the cleaning tips and cooking advice. Only recently got my Ooni so need all the help I can get ! :-))

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      No problem Tim! Thanks for the kind comment. Good luck! And be sure to check out my Neapolitan Pizza School series if you haven’t already.

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