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We bought a pizza stone from a thrift store (so at least it was cheap). Unfortunately we cleaned it with soap before reading up on how to clean them. I know, rookie mistake.

Is there any way to fix it or should I just toss it out and consider it a lesson is researching new tools before messing with them? Obviously, I have no idea if the prior owner misused it so this might be a lesson in not buying used stoneware.

I haven't tried baking on it since using soap on it and the soap was only lightly used. I guess I should perform an experiment and find out if it makes things taste soapy.

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    As you put it in the oven you'll smell soap if there is any left. Stone is porous so liquids can go through but is not a sponge. I'd say rinse well and let it dry for a couple of days otherwise water-vapor will break it from the inside in the oven. – Francesco Zambolin Jul 14 at 18:47
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I would rinse well with clear water. Allow to dry thoroughly, and then use as normal.

There is a small chance that your pizza stone will impart a soap flavor to your pizza, but I would say that it is worth a couple of pizza cooks to determine if there is a long term problem. It's really not that much of a risk.

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    I'd agree, if you're particularly worried, you can slide your pizza onto the stone on a sheet of parchment. That would prevent any direct content with soap. That said, I'm guessing that once it spends a few hours at 500-ish degrees. Any soap residue may well burn away on its own. – kitukwfyer Jul 14 at 3:17
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    Agreed overall, but I’d suggest “rinse well” shouldn’t be understood as just “run it under a tap for a few seconds”, but rather e.g. wet it thoroughly, let it sit wet for a couple of minutes, and then run it under a tap to rinse off, possibly also repeating and scrubbing. The key concept to remember for washing things thoroughly is to use soaking stage(s) to soften/dissolve the dirt (not necessarily sitting in a basin of water, but at least sitting with water on the item), followed by rinsing/scrubbing stage(s) to wash the dissolved dirt away. – PLL Jul 14 at 10:10
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    Thanks everyone. I'll give it a try. Also, a note to anyone else looking for the same answer - @moscafj's answer says to "dry thoroughly", that really means what it says. Any time you have really wet a pizza stone you should let it dry for a long time before using it. Water inside any stoneware in a hot oven could make it crack. – Steve Hiner Jul 14 at 15:49
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    One more note. Soap is formulated to rinse away. So rinsing should remove all of the soap and hypothetically leave nothing behind. – Rob Jul 14 at 16:57
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    @Rob I know; I have a good soap at home. But OP's soap is unknown, and the soap of those who visit this question in future is also unknown. (This pseudowisdom brought to you by the Soap Astrologers.) – wizzwizz4 Jul 14 at 17:01
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By rinsing, you can only remove stuff from the surface and slightly below. You need to remove molecules which sit in the pores of the stone.

Chemically, you are working against diffusion and adhesion. By washing with soap, you have deposited a number of molecules onto the stone surface, these have diffused into the numerous pores of the solid. Now, these molecules cling there by means of adhesion, which makes it really hard to get rid of them.

Thus, instead of just rinsing, let it sit in a bowl covered with warm to hot water. Heat and time will allow the molecules to slowly "come out of the cover" and go into solution instead. This is driven by the concentration of soap in the solution (you want little to none) and temperature (you want it hot!). Preheat the stone if you can.

Add a drop of oil to the liquid, and disperse by beating with a fork (or anything comparable - the idea is to have as many small droplets as possible). This will act as a trap for the soap molecules in the water and reduce the solute concentration - increasing the pressure for the remaining adhering molecules in the pores to go into solution. If possible, try beating foam, and if some foam forms, then remove that and introduce new oil.

I suggest somewhere around at least 30-40 degrees Celsius and a timeframe of 10-30 mins.

These are just guesses. Also, depending on what material the stone is made of, there might be additional reactions and/or interactions involved that could require a higher temperature or longer times.

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    Regarding the preheating, I don't think you want to heat a stone too much before putting it in (hot) water. If the stone is significantly hotter it might cool too quickly when put in the water causing it to crack. – JJJ Jul 15 at 10:21
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    Why do you need to remove molecules which sit in the pores of the stone? They aren't doing any harm there - it's only the ones at the surface which can get onto the pizza dough. – Martin Bonner Jul 15 at 15:11
  • Yes let it soak for a few hours each time in fresh batches of distilled water. – Chloe Jul 15 at 20:55
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    @martin It is a good question. Two issues come to mind. First thing is, whenever you apply heat and have dough on the stone, that evaporates liquid -> soap in the pores gets drawn out and (perhaps) into the dough, and also, under heat, stuff tends to degenerate leaving (possibly) even nastier stuff to dissolve in the prepared food. In reality, as other answers suggest, it's probably safe to ignore both. – antipattern Jul 15 at 22:56
  • @JJJ I would advise to preheat the stone just a bit so its temperature matches the water. I leave you to decide how to actually do this. – antipattern Jul 15 at 22:58
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Rinse it thoroughly and just cook some dough on it to throw away (instead of a full pizza with all ingredients). I don't believe the soap will be that resilient to withstand rinse+heat+food on it. It is not designed for that.

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    Taste it before throwing it away. You can always eat it with some garlic oil if it doesn’t taste of soap. – Michael Jul 15 at 12:12
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If you have a self cleaning oven, run the pizza stone though a cleaning cycle in the oven. The oven will heat up slowly enough to not cause thermal stress in heating. The oven locks for hours to allow for a long cool down cycle to avoid thermal stress when cooling. The stone was manufactured at much higher temperatures than you'll get in an oven.

Then I'd rinse the stone, and air dry it.

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You might try giving it a good coating of oil. That could either help work the soap out or "bury" it in the stone.

My wife washes off our pizza stone from time to time in sudsy water. I really freaked out the first time I saw her do it, but since then I've calmed down and we've used it many times (and she's washed it a few more times) and I never could taste any soap in the pizza or whatever we were cooking.

TL;DR = It's no big deal. Don't worry about it.

  • Cool, I hope you're right. I considered using oil on it but I've also seen people say you shouldn't because part of the purpose of the stone is to let the bottom crust dry out a bit during cooking and if you oil the stone then you lose that feature. I know over time oil will get on it and someone block the porous nature of the stone. It would be worth trying if I get to the point of deciding to throw it out. – Steve Hiner Jul 18 at 22:12
  • IDK... I've had stones that I oiled and seasoned like a cast iron pan, and they work remarkably well. They get really dark and slick. I'd think it's the fact that you've preheated the stone to 500+ degrees that dries out the crust... People are going to hate me, but there's not a lot of mystery to a pizza stone. – Greg Nickoloff Jul 19 at 3:45

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