Cleaning pizza screens?

From what I’ve read recently on the board it seems almost sacrilege to clean pizza screens, However, I’m beginning to have trouble removing my pizza’s from the screens because of excess amounts toppings/dough/cheese that cooks onto them. Now mind you I’m using screens on a deck oven because it’s a Roto-flex , cooking pies approximately 90% of the time on a screen, then removing them and cooking them on the top stone to finish the bottoms. My pizza’s come out great but every once in a while I’ll have someone waste a pie because it gets stuck to the screen and ruined. Any suggestions?

Don’t take this as 100% gospel…I haven’t had to clean any screens at PJ yet.

BUT, if I remember when I worked at Mazzios, when our screens lost their seasoning, we would wash and sanitize, coat with oil, and run it a few times in the oven to reseason it.

Run your ‘offending’ screens in the oven empty. It will char up the gunk on them really good. Use a stiff brush on them to knock off the charred bits, and rinse with some hot water. Let air dry or run through ovens for quick heat and dry. That’s how we clear up baked on bits in our shop . . . which is nearly every night with pizza topping fall-offs, calzones and stromboli that drip, ooze over or rupture in small spots.

This is what I do. Nick’s idea works too, burning off the cheese will make cleaning much easier.

We wash ours every night in the dishwasher. Just let them dry before using them… If they are wet the dough will bond to the screen and cause a big mess… We have no problems washing our screens, letting them dry, and using them the next day… Sometimes if they are a little damp, we will run once through the oven in the morning.

Do you have a problem losing the ‘seasoning’ off the screens in the dishwasher? We lose some of the blackening when we run in the warewasher.

We use a spatuala type utensil or old dull knife and scrape the screens every shift. If the guck doesn’t come off we throw them in the oven for a couple of minutes and then try again.

I never put them in washer.


That’s what I do as well … If you use a softer (hand tossed style) dough it’s much more prone to getting stuck to the screen. I’ve had big problems when my screens are washed. If you do wash your screens, I’d suggest just doing it with one at 1st, let it dry, spray with vegalene, put it through the oven, spray it again, then see how a pizza comes out. If it doesn’t stick, you’re probably good to go with that procedure. If you wash all of them at once, you could be screw1ng yourself for the next shift!

Do you have a problem losing the ‘seasoning’ off the screens in the dishwasher? We lose some of the blackening when we run in the warewasher.

Read Tom Lehmann’s post in this thread:

We don’t have any problems at all… When we get new screens, we’ll spray some oil on them and run them through the oven 3-4 times before baking… Then after that, they get washed every night and we have never had to season them again… Dough never sticks or anything… No problems… Unless the screens are wet… Then the dough will stick.

When we wash them, we just put them on a dishwasher rack and run through our dishwasher… So they never soak or anything… Its just like a quick 2 minute wash/sanitize…

When we get new screens we brush them with oil on both sides and run them through the oven 4-5 times so they are a nice gold color for seasoning. I never liked the spray-on stuff. We use vegi oil.

If they get gunked up we run them through the oven once or twice to carbonize everything, brush with a steel brush to remove all that stuff and re-season.

Back when I worked in stores with deck ovens (it has been a LONG time) I remember that keeping the decks clean had a lot to do with keeping the screens in good shape.

Eventually, we do toss the screens though. I guess we replace about 1/3 of them each year. It seems like we order a dozen each of 12" and 14" and two dozen 16" every fall.

screens in a deck oven? why not just cornmeal?? only ever used screens on a conveyor oven. always looking for ideas.


Screens really speed things up. A lot.

We just burn off anything stuck to the screens. Then it all comes off pretty easily. We never wash.