Why Your Pizza Stone Smells | Plus When to Throw It Out

Pizza stones help you make the perfect pizza every time, but what if your stone starts to smell bad? At the risk of being a bit offensive, most of the time those bad smells are due to the porous pizza stone absorbing water, soap or other liquids.

Because pizza stones are porous there are certain things you’re not supposed to put on it, the most important being soap.

For now, let’s take a closer look at what might be making your pizza stone smell bad.

5 Causes of pizza stones smelling

Here are the top causes of smelly pizza stones and what you can do to prevent each one.

1. Using soap to clean your pizza stone

Some cheap stones are made out of ceramic and can be washed with soap and water, but the really good stones must not be cleaned with soap.

When you purchase a good stone, it’s going to be porous and will soak up almost anything you put on it. Soap gets into the pores of the stone and never leaves, regardless of how good you wash and rinse the stone afterwards.

Over time this can cause the pizza stone to smell, especially when it is heated up. The soap can smoke and can stink out your whole oven.

2. Putting pizza stones in the dishwasher

Always avoid putting your pizza stone in the dishwasher as it can cause it to absorb food and dirty water and cause it to smell.

Dishwashers always expose dishes to tons of water, which is not good for your stone, as well as soaps and washing powders.

Remember that anything that goes onto your stone will go into the pores and might eventually make it start to smell. When you have a good pizza stone, you don’t want to ruin it by cleaning it in the dishwasher.

3. Using too much water on your stone

Water ruins the integrity of the pizza stone and gets stuck in the pores. When you put it in the oven afterwards, it starts to smell.

You can use a damp towel or cloth to clean the stone, but a lot of water is always a bad thing for it.

Just like other things you put on top of the stone, water can also make the stone a lot less efficient when it’s in the oven if you use too much water to clean it. It is always best to keep your stone away from water whenever you can.

4. Putting oil or grease on the stone

You’ve likely read about adding oil or grease to the stone in order to “set” it, but this is not generally recommended by the experts. Oil and grease, like everything else, gets into the pores and causes a bad smell.

This is mostly because high temperatures – such as the ones usually used to bake pizza – cause the oils to smoke, and that smoke can get caught in the stone.

If you’ve already used a tiny bit of oil on your stone a handful of times, it’s all right, but you should stop doing so at this point to prevent bad smells.

5. Leaving stuck-on food or debris on the stone

It’s easy to decide you don’t feel like cleaning stuck-on food from the stone after making your pizza, but it is never a good idea to leave it there. Just like anything else, it can get into the pores and cause the stone to stink.

The best thing to do is buy a scrubber made just for pizza stones and use that to clean off the debris every time you use it. If you clean the stone after each use, it’s easy to avoid a lot of these smells.

For an easy way to clean your pizza stone, check out the video below.

Why New Pizza Stones Smell

New pizza stones can smell after the manufacturing or packing process. Sometimes, it’s just the neutral smell of a brand-new product and you’re simply not used to it.

Over time, it should start to have a pleasant smell resembling some of the food you’ve cooked with it.

A new pizza stone might also smell if while this rarely happens, it could be due to something spilling on it during the transportation process.

If the smell does not naturally dissipate over time make a paste out of baking soda and water, place it over the stone.  Leave it on for a few minutes, then scrape it off with a scrubber or a damp (not wet) cloth. Baking soda is a great odor-absorber.

Are Pizza Stones Supposed to Be Washed?

You can clean your pizza stone but do not wash it with water. Instead, scrub the food and debris off the stone with your scrubber, clean the entire stone with a damp (never wet) cloth afterwards, then let the stone air dry.

If you use the right scrubber, you can easily get the stone nice and clean and you won’t need any type of soap.

Should I Oil My Pizza Stone?

You should never put any type of oil, including olive oil, on your pizza stone. Not only can it cause a bad smell eventually, but it can cause the stone to smoke once it gets to a certain temperature in the oven.

To be on the safe side, never put any type of oil on your pizza stone. If you’re concerned about your pizza sticking, use some parchment paper underneath it to keep it safe.

Finally, if you use oil too often, it can have the opposite effect and cause the stone to work inefficiently.

Why Is My Pizza Stone Burning?

More often than not, pizza stones burn or smoke because you’ve put oil on them or you made the temperature of the oven way too high. Remember that every type of oil has a smoke point, and each one is different.

But even without using oil, a pizza stone can start to burn if there is old bits of pizza and cheese left on the stone. Wipe it off every time you use the stone to avoid burn marks.

How to Tell if Your Pizza Stone Has Gone Bad

When properly cared for, your pizza stone can last for years. Most problems can be avoided by taking good care of the stone, but if your stone does become damaged, chipped, or cracked, it’s best to go ahead and throw it away.

While this is rarely needed, it’s best to throw the stone away because bacteria have more places to hide.

Why Your Pizza Stone Smells | Summary

Pizza stones can start to smell if they absorb water or if they are burnt in a hot oven. Avoid washing pizza stones with too much water and you can avoid this problem. If small amounts of food get stuck to the stone, wipe it off with a damp cloth and allow the stone to dry completely.

Pizza stones are a great way to get a crispy bottom on your pizza.

Happy cooking.