Camping Dishwashing - How To Wash Dishes Without A Sink
Camping dishwashing seems to be a puzzling act for many people. This is one of the most frequent questions I get by visitors to this site...how to wash dishes when you are camping!
Most campers are environmentally concious and prefer to stick with reusable rather than disposable kitchen items but give in to the throwaways because washing dishes while camping seems like such a daunting or impossible task.
So here is the easy step-by-step camping dishwashing process that we faithfully use to wash dishes when we are camping. We use this method on both our family camping trips as well as our scouting trips where everyone brings a mess kit and there are no throwaway plates, cups, or utensils used.
When setting up our camping dishwashing station, first we start with the equipment list. We keep all of things packed in our kitchen box...except for the water, the dirty dishes, and the human of course!
What Equipment Do You Need??
Step One: Heat The Water
Immediately after dinner is ready, we put two or three pots of water to boil on the stove while we are eating. Actually, we put two...and then do the third one afterwards because that is what works for us with the equipment we have. One pot will be in the largest cooking pot we have, for the other we use our coffeepot.
Step Two: Wipe The Plates
After dinner...and this is the only place we use disposable paper good item...everyone takes a paper towel and wipes their plate and silverware clean of any food particles. This can be done with one paper towel and it is an important step to help to keep the food particles out of the washtub. We put the paper towels in the fire ring to be burned later during our campfire.
Step Three: Set Up The Wash Tubs
Now it is time to get the three tubs out. You can work from left to right, or right to left, whichever works best for you.
I will call them A, B, and C to make it easy to follow along with the directions. I usually fill the tubs only halfway or a little more...not to the top.
These are just cheap ordinary rectangular dish tubs you can get at Wal-Mart. They easily nest inside each other and you can put a bunch of your kitchen stuff inside the top one for storage.
Step Four: Prepare The Tubs
Tub A is for washing. We put a few squirts of dish soap in here, then fill the tub halfway with regular water. You should be using an environmentally safe, biodegradable soap such as Campsuds or one of the Dr. Bronner's natural soaps. When the hot water is ready, we add some to warm this tub up. This is a personal preference. I like the water to be warm when I am washing the dishes while my husband likes cool water (which feels yucky to me!).
Tub B is the rinsing tub and gets just plain water in it. We fill the tub 1/3 of the way with cool water, and the rest (about 2/3) with hot water.
Tub C is for sterilization. This is a very important part of your camping dishwashing station...don't skip it!!! Some people like to use sterilization tablets, some put a few drops of bleach in the tub (health safety standards recommend 1 teaspoon of bleach for every 2 gallons of water)...but we use only pure boiling hot water. This is extremely hot and you will need tongs to pull the dishes out of this tub.
Step Five: The Washing Process
And that is it! Now in writing this, it sounds like a complicated procedure, partly because I really broke down the steps into baby steps to make sure I was explaining it well.
But really, camping dishwashing is very simple and easy to do. Your dishes are done in no time at all...and probably with a lot less water than you use at home!
Be sure to read the next section to make sure you dispose of your dirty dishwater with as minimal impact as possible on the environment!!!
Dumping the Dishwater
Now it is time to clean up the camping dishwashing area! The method that we use to dispose of the dishwater also sounds a little complicated....but it is not at all...and it is done this way to wash out and clean up your dishtubs without using any more water than you already used for the dishes!
Some Rules For Your Camping Dishwashing Station To
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