Having a pizza oven in your backyard or outdoor kitchen area can be quite a big investment, especially one that requires a lot of care and maintenance to run efficiently. As great as it can look with a well-cared-for lawn and patio, many wood-fired ovens are made out of metal. With these metal parts comes the risk of rust. In more humid parts of Canada and cities closer to bodies of water, the risk goes up even more with the likelihood of rain. It can become rather hard to avoid rust on many metal surfaces, let alone your wood-fired pizza oven.
Thankfully, there are several different ways you can remove rust from your pizza oven, all of which are quite effective. Some are less harsh on your surfaces due to the lack of strong chemicals. These can also be found and made with items in your house, and can cost less than more heavy-duty options.
Wood-fired ovens are a large investment that needs the proper care to prevent rusting and wear and tear. However, they can also be quite useful and can last a while if you know what to do when it comes to regular maintenance.
Removing rust with household items
If you’ve noticed a small bit of rust on your pizza oven, there are a few ways you can start by cleaning it. Some of these methods don’t need any additional chemicals or solutions beyond what you already have at home. You can effectively remove any rust build-up from your pizza oven without any dangerous side effects with the right quantities and measurements.
Method 1: Lemon juices and Baking soda
To begin removing the rust, mix lemon juice with baking soda to form a paste. Depending on the size or amount of rust, you may need a proportionate amount. Similarly, the heavier the rust is, the more lemon juice you might need, resulting in a more watery paste. The acid content of the lemon juice is what effectively acts to break down and loosen the rust.
Once your paste is made, apply the paste to the area of rust and leave it on for a minimum of 30 minutes. If the area of rust is particularly large, leave it on for a longer amount of time. As you wait, be sure to check on the paste layer regularly. If it looks like it’s drying out, spray a little water onto the area.
When the time is up, or you feel that the paste has worked, use a brush to scrape the paste into the rusted spot. You can simply use an old toothbrush or a small piece of softer steel wool for smaller spots. Larger spots can, in turn, use larger brushes like nail brushes or any other hard-bristled brushes. By scrubbing at the paste-covered area, you work the paste in a while also removing the rust. If any rust still remains after, repeat the process until you’re satisfied. All that’s needed is washing or rinsing the area and wiping any water off.
Method 2: White vinegar
If you’re cleaning the rust off of a detachable part of your pizza oven, you may need a large enough tub or bucket to cover the rusted area. However, if you’re cleaning a large area, you will need a spray bottle or an old piece of cloth instead.
Depending on the size of the area you need to clean, fill the container with undiluted white vinegar. If you’re cleaning a larger surface area, spray the area with a liberal amount of the vinegar. You can also apply it to the rusted spot with a well soaked and saturated rag. After letting it soak for a minimum of 30 minutes or more, scrub at the rust with a hard-bristled brush, being careful not to scratch it. If any rust lingers, repeat the process before rinsing and drying it.
Method 3: Raw potatoes and baking soda or salt
One of the simplest ways you can clean rust from the metal of your wood-fired pizza oven is with a single potato and a pinch of baking soda. This is primarily due to the fact that potatoes contain oxalic acid, one of the ingredients commonly used in laundry detergents and other similar cleaners. The use of potatoes to clean off rust provides a toxic-free cleaner when combined with baking soda or salt.
Like the other methods, you need to start by cutting a potato in half before sprinkling the cut side with either salt or baking soda. With a little rub to combine the mild acid with the powder, rub the cut side over the rusted areas of your pizza oven, much like if you were scrubbing at a stain. The acid from the potato – much like using lemon juice – will lift the rust while the baking soda or salt scrubs it off. All that’s left afterward is to rinse and dry the part.
Commercial chemical-based rust removers
If your rust is particularly stubborn that even these solutions won’t remove them after hours of letting them soak in, you may need to turn to a few stronger chemical options. Thankfully, there are also nontoxic rust removers that are far safer while still effective.
Additionally, suppose you would rather not use mixtures or commercial removers to get rid of rust on your wood fired pizza oven. In that case, you can also use rougher or coarser materials like steel wool or drill-mounted wire brushes to scrape away the rust. However, make sure you use a buffer to reduce potential damage to the surface underneath. This can be other solutions or simply water.
Getting rust off of your wood fired pizza oven is highly important for more than just aesthetic reasons. If rust builds up inside, it can ruin the overall efficiency of the oven and cause more wear and tear. There are ways to get rid of the rust, both commercially available or simply made with ingredients from around your house. Keeping your pizza oven well maintained will make sure that it lasts for a long time.