How To Wash Dishes at a Campsite
How to Clean Dishes on a Camping Trip
It can be frustrating to find a way to do dishes while you're camping. It's important to wash dishes thoroughly, however, as this helps prevent the spread of bacteria and keeps your campsite clean. With some soap, buckets, and sanitizing tablets, it's fairly easy to wash dishes on a camping trip. After washing your dishes, make sure to dispose of the water safely.
Creating a Cleaning Station
Start boiling your water while you're eating.Before enjoying your dinner, take the biggest pot you have. Rinse it out if necessary and then fill it with clean water. Place it over the fire so it starts to boil while you eat.
Separate the water into three buckets.Once the water is boiling, carefully distribute it between three buckets. One bucket is for washing, one for rinsing, and one is for sanitizing your dishes. Fill each bucket about a quarter of the way full with water.
Add soap to one bucket.In your first bucket, add a few drops of a liquid dish soap. The soap should be biodegradable to help protect the environment while you camp.
- Some soaps are specifically made for camping. Before leaving for your trip, see if you can find a camping-specific dish soap online or at a local department or hardware store.
Add a sanitizing agent to one bucket.You can buy sanitizing agents online or at local hardware or camping stores. Check the label to see how many sanitizing tablets you should add to the bucket. Usually, the ratio is one tablet per gallon of water, but ratios will vary by brand.
- You may not have a means to measure the exact amount of water you're using. Just do your best to estimate.
Washing Your Dishes
Wipe food residue off your dishes.Use paper towels or cloths to wipe down your dishes immediately after eating. This removes any obvious scraps of food from your dishes.
- It's best to scrape your food into the fire. This way, the food will burn up and you won't risk attracting animals to your campsite.
Wash each dish.Place the dirty dishes in the wash tank one at a time. Scrub down the dishes thoroughly with the soapy water and clean rags. After the item is clean, shake off any suds before transferring it into the rinse tank.
- Start with the cleanest dishes and then move on to the dirtiest ones.
Rinse your dishes in the second pan.Transfer the clean dish to the rinse pan after washing it. Dunk the dish in this tank briefly and swish it around to remove excess water.
- If you notice your dish is not completely clean when you place it in the rinse tank, move it back to the wash tank and give it a good cleaning.
Sanitize your dishes.After your dishes are rinsed, set them in the sanitize tank. Briefly let the dishes soak in the sanitize tank to remove any lingering bacteria. This is especially important for dishes like knives and cutting boards, which harbor a lot of strong scents that can attract animals.
Dry your dishes.Never let dishes stay wet after washing them. Use a clean towel to dry off your dishes after sanitizing them. You can then store your dishes for the night.
Disposing of Garbage and Dirty Water
Consolidate your water.After washing your dishes, pour all three buckets of water into a single bucket. It's best to dump the sanitize bucket into the rinse bucket and then dump the rinse buck into the wash bucket.
Strain your water.Place a metal strainer or a similar device over one of the empty buckets. Pour the water over the sink to strain out any lingering food debris.
- Any solid waste should be transferred into your garbage or burned in the fire.
Dump your water 200 feet away from any water source.You don't want to contaminate water sources with your dirty water. It's vital to be at least 200 feet away from a water source before dumping your dishes.
- Estimate if you don't have an exact means of measuring. Always go farther than you think you need to.
Do not dump your water in a single spot.As you dump the water, move the bucket around so it's dispersed over a large patch of land. Dispersing the water in a single spot is an environmental hazard.
QuestionWhich material should my dish made of?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBPA free plastic is ideal for eating off of. You can also use metalware for most things.Thanks!
- Always wash your hands before handling dishes to limit the spread of bacteria.
- Food attracts bears and other animals. Never leave any food items, snacks, candy, leftovers, or scraps in close proximity to your tents and campsite.
- Please don't rinse your soapy dishes in the nearby river or lake, even if your detergent says biodegradable. This is harmful to water life.
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