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From Grimy to Gorgeous: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Brick Pizza Oven

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Key Takeaways

How to Clean a Brick Pizza Oven

It is essential to clean your brick pizza oven regularly to maintain proper ventilation and prevent creosote buildup, vapors, or a fire hazard.

To clean a brick pizza oven, you should:

  1. Allow the oven to cool completely.
  2. Remove any large debris and scrape off any stuck-on food.
  3. Wipe down the interior, including the oven floor, walls, and ceiling.
  4. Clean the exterior, including the oven door.
  5. Dry the oven and store it in a dry place or place a cover.
  6. Repeat as needed.

Remember that you should never use an abrasive cleaner because it could ruin the bricks and impart unwanted flavor to your pizza.

Are you the proud owner of a brick pizza oven?

Do you love delicious cooking pizzas in your brick oven for your family and friends but dread cleaning them afterward?

Don’t worry – cleaning a brick pizza oven can initially seem intimidating, but it is easier than it may seem!

With just a few simple steps, the right supplies, and techniques, anyone can master the art of upkeep, and you can quickly and easily make your oven look like new!

So grab your supplies, put on some music and let’s get started on how to clean a brick pizza oven!

About Brick Oven Pizza Ovens

Brick ovens are one of the best ways to make a delicious, authentic Italian-style pizza and baking wood fired bread. But even if you’re an expert at making pizza, your brick oven can look worse for wear.

After all, it’s common for them to get dirty!

Brick pizza ovens add a rustic, homemade charm to any backyard. But with that old-fashioned look comes the need for some modern cleaning techniques!

If you’re like us and your outdoor pizza oven looks more like an art piece than a kitchen tool, then the thought of its pristine surface covered in grease and cheese probably doesn’t sit well with you.

Pizza dough naturally contains oils that can spread across the oven floor and walls when cooking. Then there are those pesky toppings – everything from pepperoni slices to extra cheese – that tend to drip off during baking onto the pizza stone.

The oven floor is often the first place to get grimy. When cooking with firewood, ash and other fuels used for baking will settle on the oven and start to build up over time.

Accordingly, you must clean your brick pizza oven regularly to prevent residual buildup from becoming too much of a problem.

Preparing the Oven for Cleaning

It’s time to make your brick pizza oven look as good as its pies taste. Cleaning your brick oven isn’t tricky, but it does require some preparation and care.

Here’s what you need to know before you clean your brick pizza oven.

First things first: turn off the power to the oven if you have a gas oven or let the wood completely burn off, and remove any debris like extra bricks or stones that have accumulated around it or inside it.

Then, clear out all items from the cooking area, including charcoal, firewood, grates, and racks – you don’t want to miss anything!

Once all items are removed from the cooking area, allow the oven to completely cool down until it is safe enough for thorough cleaning.

Once the oven is completely cooled, use a wood ash rake to remove any remaining ash and wood remnants from the oven floor.

This will prevent you from damaging the oven.

Cleaning a Brick Pizza Oven

It is essential to clean your outdoor oven regularly to maintain proper ventilation and prevent the buildup of organic vapors or a fire hazard.

Remember to keep the oven door slightly open when not in use to allow for adequate airflow and prevent bad smells from being absorbed by the bricks.

And always use the right tools and take proper safety precautions when cleaning your wood fired oven.

Cleaning the Inside

Why you should clean the inside of a brick oven?

If you own a wood fired pizza oven, you must ensure optimal cleanliness so the food you cook won’t absorb bad smells. This applies to all sorts of traditional ovens.

A dirty pizza oven can be a major contributor to bad-tasting food. It is always harder to remove stains that have existed for a long time.

How to Clean the Inside of a Brick Oven

You should remove all of the ashes left behind from the burning wood. If your oven is run properly at extremely high temperatures, there should be minimal ashes left behind.

Cleaning Tools

Start by removing large chunks of debris inside the oven and carefully disposing of them. Using pizza oven tools like an ash rake, collect the ash and wood remnants into a pile near the mouth of the oven.

A wood fired oven should burn so hot that the ashes and soot are burned off.

However, there will always be a little bit left behind.

Use a dustpan and oven brush or a small shovel to remove any large debris or ashes from the oven floor and walls. You can also use a damp cloth or soft brush to help loosen any stuck-on food particles.

If you find it hard to remove the grime, or older grease stains, you can mix warm water with an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser to make a powerful solution that will cut through dirt and grime.

Using a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) dipped in the cleaning solution, scrub away any food stuck on the floor or stubborn stains until you get your desired level of cleanliness.

Next, use a steel BBQ grill brush with copper or brass bristles to scrub the floor and walls of the oven to remove any food debris or stains.

Here’s the oven brush we recommend.

Remember to be gentle when handling the bricks so as not to damage them or cause wear over time.

If you have older or particularly stubborn grease stains, use a mixture of baking soda and hot water as a natural cleaning solution.

Cleaning the Chimney

Cleaning the pizza oven chimney can seem intimidating, but it’s doable with the right tools and a few simple steps.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your oven chimney clean and safe for cooking.

When wood is burned slowly, it produces tar and other organic vapors that combine with expelled moisture to form creosote. The creosote vapors condense in the cool oven flue or exhaust hood of a slow-burning fire.

creosote

As a result, creosote residue accumulates on the flue lining and hood.  When ignited, this creosote makes an extremely hot fire.  The oven flue should be inspected at least twice yearly to determine if a creosote buildup has occurred. 

Most soot will self-clean when the oven is running at a high temperature – it burns right off! However, you should also take the time to brush it out by hand.

The first step is to clear out any debris blocking the chimney flue – this can be done with a stiff oven brush or other suitable implements. Once cleared, inspect the area closely to ensure no cracks or blockages need attention.

With wood-burning ovens, you’ll also need to keep the chimney clean. When burning wood, soot is produced, leading to a build-up that can cause fire hazards.

Here’s the wood we recommend to avoid creosote buildup.

Pine Mountain First Alert Creosote Buster Chimney Cleaning Safety Fire Log

Prevent dangerous chimney fires with the Pine Mountain Creosote Buster Firelog designed with First Alert, the most trusted brand of in-home safety product. Used once per season, Creosote Buster firelog reduces creosote buildup and the chance of a home heating fire, the second leading cause of home fires.

  • Simple to use: just add to an existing fire
  • When heated, the powder in the Firelog changes to an active gas and attacks the creosote in the chimney
  • All-natural and contains no wax
  • Reduces creosote in wood fireplaces and wood stoves


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While soot is self-cleaning, you should keep a schedule to brush some off it for proper maintenance. Wood fired pizza oven chimneys should be cleaned more often. 

Use a chimney brush or wire brush to remove any food remains or burnt food that may have accumulated.

Our Top Pick
Holikme Chimney Brush

Includes one high-quality synthetic brush head and 15 piece flexible durable rods that extend up to 25 feet.

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Next, use soot remover (found at most hardware stores) and gently scrub away any built-up grime from inside your chimney.

Be sure to clean the area around the oven chamber to remove any food residue or burnt tomato sauce.

Cleaning the Outside

Cleaning the outside of your brick pizza oven may seem like a low priority – after all, you don’t cook on it!

But keeping your outdoor cooking area clean can hugely impact its appearance and your enjoyment of it.

Clean the Oven Door

Cleaning a brick pizza oven door can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be daunting! With the right tools, cleaning your oven door is as easy as 1-2-3.

Here are some simple steps to get those smudges and streaks off your brick oven door in no time.

You’ll want to heat the oven’s interior with wood or coal for about 30 minutes until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will loosen any grime or dirt that has accumulated on the door.

Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the oven’s door and the walls, floor, and ceiling. Be sure to rinse the cloth or sponge frequently to avoid spreading the dirt around. You can use a mild detergent or baking soda to help loosen any stubborn dirt or grime.

Clean the Oven Stone or Brick Surface

Once that’s done, grab a damp cloth and gently scrub away any dirt and grease stains on the brick surface.

Remember that you should never use an abrasive or oven cleaner because they could ruin your beautiful brickwork!

Drying the Oven

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of cleaning a brick pizza oven, you know just how time-consuming it can be.

Here’s what you need to do for a perfectly dried brick pizza oven:

First, ensure your deep cleanings are done before attempting to dry it. Once everything is spotless and shining, grab a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe down the oven’s interior.

Use a dry cloth or damp towel to wipe down the oven’s interior and the door to remove any excess moisture. This will remove any excess moisture that may still linger. Make sure to get up as high as possible when wiping down the walls!

Storing the Oven

First, ensure your pizza oven’s surface is clean before storing it. Wipe your oven with a damp cloth and let it fully dry before putting away. This will help prevent rusting or molding while in storage.

When deciding where to store your pizza oven, look for a cool and dry area that’s relatively dust-free—a basement or garage would work perfectly!

Before wrapping up your oven in plastic or another protective material, consider adding an extra layer of protection by placing a cover or towel around it—just like tucking yourself into bed!

We’ve found that pizza oven covers offer the best protection for your investment.

Here’s our preferred pizza oven covers vendor.

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The Last Slice 

You should now thoroughly understand how to clean your brick pizza oven. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  • Remove all food residue and ashes.
  • Scrub the walls and floor with an oven brush.
  • Swipe the oven floor once you’re done.

It is essential to clean your wood fired ovens regularly to maintain proper ventilation and prevent the buildup of organic vapors or a fire hazard. Remember to keep the oven door slightly open when not in use to allow for adequate airflow and prevent bad smells from being absorbed by the bricks.

And always use the right tools and take appropriate safety precautions when cleaning your wood fired pizza oven.

It’s important to note that every brick oven is different and may have specific cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. Consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for specific cleaning recommendations.

With that, you can enjoy the great taste of homemade pizza without worrying about germs or bacteria running rampant in your brick pizza oven.

Now that you know how to clean your pizza oven, why not invite friends for dinner and show off your clean brick pizza oven?

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Don’t Forget to Get a Pizza Oven Cover

Protect your investment and keep your pizza oven looking brand new with a durable, weather-resistant pizza oven cover. Designed to fit snugly over your oven, this cover will shield it from the elements, extending the life of your oven and ensuring that it’s always ready for your next pizza party.

Enjoy!

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