I don't grill or oven often and there always seems to be dirt and crumbs left over from long ago. it's a mammoth task to clean so i dont clean it. i just think provided the food sits on foil paper and doesnt make contact with any of the previous food and i dont eat the previous food all should be well. the heat should also kill any bacteria thats been there for a long time.

is eating food in above situation safe or not?

Just to add following peoples request for more information, it is not just the crumbs i'm concerned about. though it hasn't been used the walls inside the grill(broil) compartment look sludgy and touching the walls sometimes reveal sludgy dirt. the oven is at least 20 years old so might have something to do with that.

  • 3
    This is impossible to judge from what little information you have included. Please add more details. Heat alone or killing bacteria alone does not make food safe. But I've survived this kind of oven when I was in my early 20ies just fine (as I'm sure many guys have). If you haven't gotten sick yet, why worry now?
    – Raditz_35
    Jan 31, 2018 at 13:43
  • 2
    I would relax. And perhaps clean a bit often.
    – Alchimista
    Jan 31, 2018 at 14:02
  • 3
    If you don't use it often it really should not be difficult to clean. Food and dirt don't magically crawl in there when you don't use it. In the US, it's a rarity to find an oven that is not "self-cleaning" (a combination of a particular coating and a 2-hour high-temperature cycle which locks the oven door) after which you should be able to vacuum out anything that's left. Be sure to run a vent fan while doing that the first time.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 31, 2018 at 14:33
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal and for a grill you can do almost the same thing just leave it closed and gas on or a lot of coal for 2 hours.
    – mroll
    Jan 31, 2018 at 15:09
  • 1
    I'm guessing that "grill" here is what Americans call the broiler?
    – Catija
    Jan 31, 2018 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


The build up on the oven walls is likely grease.

Food contamination risk is low to none if they don't touch.

The bigger risk is a grease fire.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.