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My fiance and I got a pizza stone for christmas, and are still learning how to use it. Tonight we accidentally used a potholder which had silk-screened designs on it, and almost immediately the white silkscreened lettering (I believe it's latex) had melted off on to the pizza stone, so we now have big white splotches that we can't get off (tried steel wool, scrubbing with water, etc. No luck on anything.

I'm considering hitting it with an orbital sander because at this point, I figure it may be ruined if I don't try something more drastic. Has anyone done this, or used something like a dremel to grind chunks off of a pizza stone?

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You could fire a blow torch at it until int burns off completely? Do it outside... Disclaimer: I have no idea how well or poorly this will work, or what kind of residues will remain.. –  talon8 Jan 16 '13 at 23:48
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Who the heck would silk-screen anything that can melt onto a pot holder? I'd say that pot holder was strictly for decorative purposes and not meant to be used. –  Carey Gregory Jan 17 '13 at 1:19
    
Just a thought that diy.stackexchange.com would be a better forum for your question. –  GdD Jan 17 '13 at 9:13
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@talon8 : And work quickly -- if you unevenly heat the stone, you risk it shattering. (you might be able to bake it off by pre-heating the stone as hot as the oven will go normally, that put it on a cleaning cycle if you have a self-cleaning oven, but that could ruin it, too). –  Joe Jan 17 '13 at 9:51
    
Does your oven have a self-cleaning mode? That's how I've gotten unwanted gunk off of mine... –  JasonTrue Jan 19 '13 at 20:39

4 Answers 4

Silkscreening ink is made to withstand scratching. So I wouldn't go the dremel route.

The first I would try to do is to transfer it again somewhere else, to something more porous/sticky than the pizza stone. The best thing would probably be blotting paper, if you can get it, but if not, try other types of non-glossy paper. Heat the stone again, then put the new material on it and press strong enough. A hot clothesiron above the new material might work best - it could be worthwhile trying it with a cold stone and a hot iron, meaning that the latex is hot (therefore sticky) on the paper side but not on the stone side.

If that doesn't work, I would try to get it off by a chemical process, throwing ever stronger acids, bases and solvents on it until something works. Even though other cooks dislike the idea, I haven't seen any sticky film capable of withstanding concentrated NaOH (I have used it to remove seasoning from polished forged iron, which did not go off by dremel), and the stone (provided it is natural stone) shouldn't suffer. Of course, this should be the last step - vinegar, baking soda, bleach, concentrated ethanol and maybe acetone-free nail polish remover should come first (do not mix any two at once!).

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+1 for an acid or base. Not sure if the solvent will work -- silk screening ink gets heat cured, and the solvent's don't work after that. (when I did screen printing in high school, we used 70% isopropyl alcohol for most cleaning tasks, but 99% for the really stuborn stuff (99%'s annoying to work with, as you only have seconds before it all evaporates). And a cloth that can take high temp (natural fibers) might work better than standard paper, being more porous. –  Joe Jan 17 '13 at 9:52

It won't suffer much from having a millimeter or two of material removed in one area, so I'd just go ahead with the Dremel and grind it down to clean stone rather than resorting to chemicals that may or may not work and may or may not impregnate the stone. There's no substance made short of diamonds that can resist a grinding wheel. Worst case is you end up with one side that's unusable for anything that requires a smooth surface, but otherwise it should be fine. It's mainly just a rock, after all.

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Aha! Most pizza stones have 2 sides (at least in this universe ;-) ). +1 for not worying and using the other side. –  J.A.I.L. Jan 17 '13 at 7:17

If your experience is anything like mine the pizza stone won't survive long enough to bother maintaining it. Maybe I need to find a thicker stone, but the three we've bought so far have all cracked through normal (even light) use.

That said, if your pizza stone is worth the effort, I'd recommend a "burn it off" approach vs an orbital sander.

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Interesting, my pizza stone has lasted about 5 years of heavy use. –  lemontwist Jan 17 '13 at 15:52
    
@lemontwist: please tell me where I can get such a magical stone. –  Jeromy French Jan 17 '13 at 15:59
    
I got mine in Boston at a little housewares store on Harvard ave in Allston. –  lemontwist Jan 17 '13 at 17:55
    
Some folks believe that so-called pizza stones are overpriced and silly, and use plain unglazed quarry tiles instead--they are comparatively inexpensive. The current internet fad (Serious Eats' Kenji Alt endores it strongly) is the pizza steel, which is basically a quarter inch thick slab (I don't want to call it a sheet) of stainless steel that you use just like a pizza stone. It can surely take any amount of abuse. For more info see: slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/… –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 17 '13 at 21:39
    
@SAJ14SAJ: excellent tip! I'm going to dig into that a little more. –  Jeromy French Jan 17 '13 at 21:53

Do you have a BBQ?

Place the pizza stone in there (latex-side down), close the lid, and turn it up to full blast (toss some foil-wrapped potatoes or something there while you're at it). An episode of Pitmasters later, and you'll likely have burned off most of the residue without risk of melting it further into the surface. Don't open it until completely cooled. The somewhat-even heating and cooling will mitigates the risk of cracking it. You can probably try this in an oven, but a decent BBQ will get much hotter.

You wont likely have a shiny-new stone after the scorching; but hey, a well-used stone wont stay pristine for all that long anyway.

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