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.

Ooni Fyra

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.

How do I clean my OONI pizza oven?

Cleaning your Ooni pizza oven is super easy and it may help to achieve a more efficient burn as well as making your pizzas taste better. It will also make your oven look nice and fresh, and it’s really satisfying!

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. Really, the only part that cannot be cleaned with soap is the stone, but more on that later.

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

I’ve listed the items you’ll need to clean your pizza oven below and I’ve provided links to Amazon where possible. Not all of this is required (but it tends to make the job easier), you can just use whatever you have:

  • Brush (car wheel brush)
    This can be used inside the pizza oven and also on the stone itself.
  • Garden sprayer or hose
    This is handy for giving everything a good rinse down but you could just use a towel instead.
  • Pizza Peel
    A square peel can be used for scraping the stone (as well as loading the pizza!) but a round peel is handier for wiping the stone (as well as turning pizza!) with a damp rag tied to it.
  • Kitchen sponge or cloth
    Ideal for wiping the pizza oven.
  • Rubber gloves (optional but you will get messy!)

You will probably also need:

  • Somewhere to carry out the cleaning – it will get messy!
  • A table to save the old back!

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

A good brush is pretty much neccessary for cleaning your Ooni. The Ooni pizza oven brush is an excellent option for brushing the stone as it has a long handle with a long stiff brush on one side, and a sharp scraper on the end.

For cleaning the oven itself, I have found car cleaning brushes work well, such as these ones 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, but it’s still very doable.

Cleaning the removable parts

I like to start by placing the removable components in a bucket of soapy water first. These parts from the back of the oven, such as the grate, often get covered with a lot of soot. Allowing them to soak should make removing this easier later.

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

When you have cleaned the rest of the oven, you can come back to these and give them a scrub. Of course, rinse them off thoroughly afterwards to ensure all the soap is washed off.

Cleaning the main body

The main part to get clean here is the ceiling inside the pizza oven. Soot collects on this part and if this is not kept clean, the soot can fall onto your pizza, producing an overly smoky and sutty flavour.

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

Soot also collects on the walls of the oven, so it’s important to clean these too. Soot build up on the walls can also fall onto the stone, or your pizza.

How to clean an Ooni chimney

A lot of soot builds up on the inside of the Ooni chimney. It’s probably a good idea to remove the chimney and give it a good clean. This should help the oven to run more efficiently, and should prevent any soot falling from the Ooni chimney and onto your pizza.

Cleaning the ooni chimney with a brush
Cleaning an Ooni pizza oven chimney with a brush

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

Be sure to rinse the chimney thoroughly afterwards to ensure all soap is removed.

Do I need to clean my gas pizza oven?

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

Ooni Koda

Cleaning an Ooni Koda

In general, the Ooni Koda should be very easy to keep clean. Given that the Koda is fuelled by gas only, your pizza oven should be soot free. You will still probably get some burning on your pizza stone from flour, and possibly toppings such as cheese.

Cleaning an Ooni Koda
The Ooni Koda 16 – an easy pizza oven to clean and use

Of course, to protect the stone, you should avoid using excess flour and spilling toppings as much as possible. But to clean the stone, simply firing the Koda at maximum temperature for around 30 minutes should do the trick.

Cleaning an Ooni Koda 12
The Ooni Koda 12 – the smaller brother to the Koda 16

Turning the stone over before heating up is a good idea too. It’s easy to do and should provide you with a clean surface each time.

Cleaning an Ooni Fyra

Cleaning an Ooni Fyra is fairly straight forward. Simply burning the oven at high temperatures will generally do a good job of cleaning the oven and the stone. In most cases, just getting the oven up to temperature should help to clean the oven.

The stone in the Fyra is quite light too, which makes turning it over easy. This can be done before lighting the oven (when it’s cool), and this allows the underside to clean itself. Each time you turn the stone over (before lighting), you should expose the clean side of the stone.

Cleaning an Ooni Fyra
The Ooni Fyra – an affordable and portable wood fired pizza oven

Removing and cleaning the pellet hopper and chimney on the Ooni Fyra is probably a good idea too. These can get covered in soot and may effect air flow. Giving them a good clean with soap and water could help to improve the efficiency of your oven.

If there is a lot of soot, this could be an indication of incomplete combustion. In this case, be sure to use hardwood pellets and make sure they are always kept dry and tightly sealed.

Also, try not to overload the hopper as this could be restricting airflow. It is also recommended to make sure that the chimney baffle is left fully open while cooking.

Cleaning an Ooni Karu

The Ooni Karu is possibly the easiest solid fuel Ooni pizza oven to clean. The basket is very easy to remove, as is the chimney, which makes for simple cleaning. The stone is also fairly lightweight and easy to access, making turning it over a straight forward process.

Neapolitan pizza in Ooni
Inside my own Ooni Karu 16 – a beast of a pizza oven!

As with any Ooni pizza oven, you’ll want to make sure that you keep the inside clean and free of soot too. You can probably do this with a damp cloth or some damp paper towels.

Ooni Karu

If needed, you can easily remove the Ooni Karu stone and basket to clean the oven thoroughly. As always, be careful with the pizza stone.

How do I clean my OONI pro?

The Ooni pro should be easier to clean than most other Oonis since 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 if needed.

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.

Due to it’s construction, the Ooni Pro does tend to be a bit more likely to rust on the outside. This shouldn’t affect it’s performance in any way though and it can be cleaned up with some Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish.

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How do you clean an OONI pizza stone?

In general, you shouldn’t need to remove an Ooni pizza stone in order to clean it. The extreme heat should help to clean the stone, especially when you first fire up the oven. If the stone needs a good clean, you can leave the fire raging a little longer before launching the first pizza.

It’s also a good idea to avoid using any kind of soap. Since pizza stones are porous, this flavour may get stuck in the stone where it could taint the flavour of your pizzas.

A good tip is to carefully turn the Ooni pizza stone over before lighting the pizza oven. This way the bottom of the stone should clean itself when it gets hot, with any debris falling off.

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

Once the oven is up to heat, another good method is to clean your stone with a damp rag wrapped around your peel. You can tie this to the peel using some string or a rubber band if you like.

Then you can carefully wipe this across the stone, removing any debris as you go. Be sure to have a bucket of cold water ready to drop the towel in as it will be hot! You can also do this with paper towels which can then be thrown on the fire (if using a wood fired oven such as the Ooni Karu 16).

Ooni Fyra 12

The extreme heat, along with the damp cloth should leave your stone beautifully clean.

If you really can’t get the stone clean, you may need to try giving it a good scrub once it’s cooled down. The Ooni pizza oven brush is an excellent option for this. You should be able to do this without removing the stone.

You may need a little water to help but avoid using any soap as this could taint the flavour of your pizzas since pizza stones are porous. You can also use the other side of the Ooni brush (or something like a spatula) to scrape if needed.

Scrubbing an ooni pizza stone
Cleaning with soap is generally not recommended since you could taint the flavour of your pizzas

If you rinse your Ooni pizza stone down, be sure to leave it to fully dry before getting it up to temperature in the oven. Since pizza stones are slightly porous, any moisture left in the stone may cause it to crack.

A word of warning though, be careful with your pizza stone, they can break easily. Handle it with care and place it on a flat surface if you chose to remove it for cleaning.

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 stone so try to avoid this for happening as much as possible.

Burnt cheese on a pizza stone
Burnt cheese on an Ooni 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 in my early days of pizza making, 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 Ooni pizza stone – a pain to clean!

Once the burnt stone has cooled, you can clean it with a brush and some water. Any more stubborn bits you may need to scrape off. The Ooni pizza brush is excellent as it has a long brush on one side and a small scraper on the other side.

But 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, or the Ooni pizza brush, 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!

Ooni Karu

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.

Pizza stone burning in the oven

One of the worst causes of a burnt pizza stone is getting toppings on the stone, mainly cheese. This could be caused by poor loading, but mainly by small rips in the pizza. A small rip allows saice and cheese to flow onto the stone, causing it to burn.

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.

It is also very important to get your shaping skills as good as possible. Make sure to check out my article (with a video) on shaping here.

How to stretch pizza dough evenly
A good shaping technique should help you to avoid ripped pizza

If you are still struggling with pizzas ripping, your dough may require more kneading. Be sure to check out my article (with a video) on kneading here for more details on this.

Kneading pizza dough by hand
Well kneaded dough has good gluten development which should prevent ripping

Also, never load a ripped pizza into the oven. As soon as the cheese runs off the pizza it will burn onto the stone

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.

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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 on 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 Ooni 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. My Ooni pizza oven is also left in the garage where it often gets freezing cold (in the winter) 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.

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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.

Final thoughts on cleaning your Ooni pizza oven

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.

Getting your stone clean can be tricky, especially if it is badly burnt. In general, it’s best to clean the stone while the oven is hot. If you keep burning your stone badly, it could be due to toppings spilling onto the stone, especially if your pizza is ripping.

Pizza made in a clean ooni/uuni 3 pizza oven
Delicious pizza made in a clean Ooni 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 Fyra
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!

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Comments
  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 16
  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. 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.

  5. Ooni Karu 16
  6. Avatar for Melanie Escott Melanie Escott says:

    My chimney is stuck and I want to put the cover on. Any ideas on how to get it out?

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Hi Melanie. Sorry but I’ve never experienced this problem unfortunately. Which oven do you have? Thanks

Ooni Accessories
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 Karu