Gather Necessary Supplies
Prepare to wash the dishes! Gather a pot, a bowl for rinsing, a cleaning cloth or sponge, a scrub brush, and a container. This container is for greywater or dirty dishes. Dispose of the greywater easily and protect the environment. Add soap and water to your supplies as well.
Collect dishwashing items
Before your camping trip, make sure you get all the items for dishwashing:
- Biodegradable dish soap
- Scrubbing brush
- Drying rack/towels
- Extra plastic gloves or kitchen-grade sanitized wipes
Two basins/tubs of different sizes are a good idea. One for washing with soapy warm water, the other for rinsing with clean water. Look for biodegradable ones at outdoor supply stores. Bring your own drinking water as the local water quality usually isn’t suitable for dishwashing.
When you have all the supplies, start cleaning up those dishes!
Find a source of water
Finding water is essential when camping. It’s needed for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Before you go, decide where you’ll get water. Most campgrounds have taps. If not, look for a natural spring near you, or bring containers to fill with clean water. Label the containers so you don’t confuse them. Once you have chosen a source, explain to everyone how and where to get water. Be careful of the temperature when you use large pots. The CDC says warm water, over 80°F (27°C), can contain harmful bacteria.
Preparing the Dishes
Ready to get your dishes clean while camping? There are a few steps you must take first! It doesn’t matter if you’re washing by hand or using camping-safe dishwashers. Here’s what you need to do:
- Prepare the area.
- Gather materials.
- Pre-wash dishes.
- Scrub and rinse.
And you’re all set to wash dishes while camping!
Scrape off any excess food
Scrape off any extra food on dishes, pots, pans and utensils. This is crucial before washing your dishes when camping. It’ll keep the water clean and prevent wild animals from being attracted. Use a spoon or other kitchen tool to scrape chunks of food. You could even rinse it a bit before washing. Get rid of all food particles; they can be hard to remove even when washing.
Once you’ve scraped, you’re ready to start washing!
Pre-soak dishes in warm water
Before cleaning dishes, pre-soak them. This will make food residue soft. Let it soak for five minutes in warm water (140°F or 60°C). Hot water, not cold, helps loosen food particles. Add a bit of soap or dishwashing detergent too.
Afterwards, drain the water and scrub with a brush or sponge. Use a soft sponge for glassware or delicate items. Non-abrasive brushes with softer nylon bristles help remove tough spots without scratching.
Washing the Dishes
Camping dish-washing can be a pain. Trying to minimize your effect on the environment makes it harder. There are a few options. Let’s explore them:
- One way is to…
- Another is to…
- And yet another is to…
Each has its own benefits.
Use dish soap and warm water
Camping dish wash? Grab some soap, warm water and a plastic tub or bowl. One basin for both washing and rinsing dishes, to save water.
- Scrub large items, like pots and pans, with a scratchy brush.
- For all other items, just apply the soap, and scrub with your hands. Rinse the brush in between each item.
- Let larger items soak for 1-2 mins.
- Rinse off the suds, then dry with a cloth towel.
- Ready to put away!
Use a scrub brush or sponge to remove food particles
When camping and washing dishes, a scrub brush or sponge is essential. The rough texture helps to get rid of all food particles. This prevents bacteria buildup and ensures cleanliness.
Before using your scrub brush or sponge, wet your dishes. This will allow it to reach into every crevice. After scrubbing, rinse off soap and food particles. Then, use a clean cloth to dry.
Rinsing the Dishes
Camping can be a challenge! One of the biggest ones? Doing the dishes. But, it’s doable! It depends on your group size, the dishes you need to clean, and water access. Here’s how to get it done.
Rinse dishes while camping in these easy steps:
- Gather all the dishes, utensils, and cookware you need to clean.
- Fill a basin or bucket with warm water.
- Scrape off any food particles or grease from the dishes.
- Submerge the dishes in the water and add dish soap.
- Scrub the dishes with a sponge or brush.
- Rinse the dishes with clean water.
- Drain the soapy water and refill with clean water to rinse again.
- Let the dishes air dry.
Rinse dishes with clean water
You need clean water for washing your dishes. If the campsite does not provide potable water, you must bring your own drinking water. Make sure the water is free from dirt and debris before using.
First, rinse off all utensils and plates you were eating with, and wipe them down with a cloth or paper towel. Reusing these items helps reduce impact on the environment.
Let the food residue get removed, and then rinse each item thoroughly with clean water until it looks cleaner. Set them aside and move to washing them.
Use a cloth to dry dishes
Dry the dishes with a fresh cloth or paper towels! This will help get rid of all the water. After washing and rinsing, use a clean cloth to wipe off any remaining drops. This will keep them stain-free and stop bacteria from growing. Ensure the cloth is free of dirt and debris.
After drying each dish, empty out the sink before going on to the next one.
Disposal of Dishwater
Campsites usually don’t have sinks for washing dishes. It can be difficult to dispose of the dishwater correctly. When camping, it’s important to know how to get rid of it safely. To avoid attracting wildlife and contaminating water sources, we will talk about the different methods of disposing dishwater:
- Method 1
- Method 2
- Method 3
Pour dishwater away from campsite
When washing dishes at a campsite, pour the soiled water away from other campers and at least 200 feet from any streams, lake, or body of water. This protects fish, wildlife, and plants. Strain out food particles into a trash bag and throw it away. Don’t pour dishwater on the ground – that attracts small animals. Use biodegradable detergent with natural ingredients like citrus oil to minimize your impact on the environment.
Dispose of all plastics properly, including food residue containing bags and containers, so no wildlife will consume them:
- Throw away food residue containing bags and containers.
- Don’t leave any plastics behind.
Use biodegradable soap if possible
Camping? Best go biodegradable! Use biodegradable soap to keep the environment safe from contaminated dishwater. It’ll break down naturally, safe for soil and aquatic life. Many popular dishwashing liquids are hypoallergenic and biodegradable.
Dispose dishwater safely. Don’t dump it in a nearby water source or the ground. Pollution, contamination. Bring a large container to collect dirty dishwater. When finished, pour it out far away from the campsite. Soak into the ground safely and naturally. No appropriate spots? Take your container with you when packing up camp. Never leave soapy residue and standing water. Wildlife may investigate later.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What supplies do I need to wash dishes while camping?
A1: You will need a bucket or tub, biodegradable soap, a scrub brush, and a cloth or sponge.
Q2: How do I wash the dishes?
A2: Fill your bucket or tub with water and add a few squirts of biodegradable soap. Scrub each dish with the scrub brush and cloth or sponge. Rinse the dishes with clean water and air dry.
Q3: What should I do with the dirty water?
A3: Dispose of the dirty water by pouring it away from any water sources, such as streams or lakes. If you are in a designated campsite, check with the campground to find out the regulations on how to dispose of wastewater.