When soapy water turns to soapy pizza, we have a problem. Here’s why pizza stones and soap don’t get along—and what you can do about it.
So you or somebody else in the home used soap on your pizza stone. Now, every pizza gets tainted with a soapy smell and taste. Can this be salvaged? And if the answer to that question is “yes,” the next logical question is, how?
Yes, a pizza stone that has been accidentally cleaned with soap can be saved. The three best ways to do this are to heat the stone empty, bake unrolled crescents on the stone’s surface, or soak the stone in lukewarm water and air dry it before using it again.
To help you get out of this situation, let’s go over your options—and the dos and don’ts of removing soap from your pizza stone.
Why Pizza Stones Shouldn’t Be Cleaned With Soap
A pizza stone can be made of a variety of materials, from ceramic to cordierite to composite. (To determine the material of your pizza stone, refer to the manufacturer’s use and care instructions.)
And yet all pizza stones, no matter what material they’re made of, share two common traits: they are porous and absorbent. In other words, if you wash them with soapy water, they’ll soak it right up without hesitation.
This, as you have experienced firsthand, is a problem:
Soap molecules are soluble in water. And when your pizza stone absorbed some of the soapy water, some of those soap molecules were deposited in the stone. To say that it can be difficult to get them back out is a huge understatement!
Leaving them there isn’t really an option, because every pie you bake on your pizza stone will smell and taste like soap (so much for nona’s secret dough recipe).
So let’s talk about what you can do instead.
How to Remove Soap From a Pizza Stone
To give you the too long; didn’t read version: water deposited the soap molecules in your pizza stone, and water can get them out. You just have to know how to do it right so that you don’t end up breaking or cracking your trusty pizza stone.
Heat It in the Oven
Sometimes, the simplest solution is also the most effective:
Place your pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven, turn the heat up to 400°F (200°C), and leave it there for 2 hours. Wait for the stone to cool completely before storing it in the kitchen cabinet.
Bake Crescent Rolls on the Pizza Stone
Giordano’s, Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzeria, has a tip on their website for removing soap from a pizza stone that I found ingenious: cover the entire stone with unrolled crescents and bake in the oven.
The dough will absorb most of the soapy aromas and flavors from the surface. When the unrolled crescent rolls are done baking, remove them from the pizza stone, throw it away, and let the stone cool down as usual before storing it.
If your next pizza pie doesn’t smell and taste like soap (fingers crossed this ends up being the case for you), this cleaning technique worked. If not, you may need to take more drastic measures.
Give It a Good Soak in Lukewarm Water
Put the stone in a wash tub and fill the tub with lukewarm water (to minimize the risk of thermal shock for your stone, don’t use too cold or too hot water). Soak the stone for 2-3 minutes so that the water can penetrate into the pores and pull out the soap molecules.
Take the stone out of the water and let it air dry for a week before using it in the oven again. Handle the stone very carefully; it will have absorbed a lot of water and become even heavier than usual.
Hints and Tips for Cleaning Your Pizza Stone
The best way to keep your pizza stone clean is without water. After use, wait for your stone to cool completely, then scrape off any residue with a pizza stone cleaning brush.
If you washed your pizza stone with water, wait a day or two for the moisture to completely evaporate before putting it in the oven. Do not put a wet pizza stone in the oven as some bloggers out there recommend that you do; it can break into pieces.
If you soaked your pizza stone in water, and not just rinsed it, give it a few days to a whole week to dry out completely. At room temperature, the water will evaporate off of the porous stone, albeit slowly.
Do not leave your pizza stone in the oven during the self-cleaning cycle. The oven door will lock and it will become very hot (900°F/480°C). Your pizza stone is not meant to be used at these temperatures; if it breaks, it can cause quite a few problems.
Do not season your pizza stone with cooking oil. Pizza stones are not like cast iron skillets, which need to be seasoned for protection from rust and corrosion.
It’s okay for the stone to get stained with grease from regular use. However, rubbing it with cooking oil will create a sticky residue that may catch fire when preheating the stone at high heat.
To keep your bread and pizza pies from sticking to the stone, preheat it for enough time before use. For best results, Wirecutter recommends that you preheat your pizza stone in the oven for 1½ hour.