So you are out camping and it’s time to wash the dishes. With limited water, space, or supplies, how do you go about doing this? It may seem like a difficult task but with a few simple tips and tricks it is possible for anyone. This blog post will talk about how to do dishes while camping.
Often most people have millions of worries when it comes to washing dishes while tent camping. People are always wondering about two things when it comes to camping: what kind of food to cook and how to cook, and then how to wash dishes when you are outside in nature.
How to Wash Dishes While Camping
Since we don’t have a proper sink in most cases, it can be difficult to wash dishes correctly while camping. Here are some practical things that you need to know for washing dishes while tent camping.
Keep the leave no trace behind regulation in your mind :
You must have heard this rule somewhere before. Basically you want to leave your campsite and the area you visit so that there’s no evidence that you were even there. When it comes to washing dishes while tent camping you want to make sure that whatever products you use are clean for the environment.
Knowing some basic things can definitely make washing dishes easier for you during camping.
#1 Keep your meals fairly simple and cook just enough.
There’s nothing I love better than eating good meals while camping. It’s my favorite part about camping. But keeping meals fairly simple and using fewer pots and pans to prepare meals is helpful when it comes time to clean up.
Try to plan out your meals and the number of servings you will need so you have as few leftovers as possible – no leftovers is ideal. And cooking one-pot meals or meals that require one or two pans is ideal.
Scrape off any leftover food from pots, pans, and plates before washing the dishes. It’ll make it easier to wash everything and you’ll need less water.
#2 Dispose of dirty washing water properly.
Most campsites have guidelines and rules even regarding the safe disposal of dirty dishwater once you are done washing dishes while camping in a tent. Check with your campsite before washing dishes that you are doing things correctly.
If there’s a specific disposal area, ensure that your dirty water is dumped there only. Otherwise make sure to strain it as much as possible and take it somewhere away from the campsite or any water bodies in the area.
#3 Use Biodegradable dish soap.
Though you shouldn’t use too much dish soap while camping, it’s also necessary to make sure the one you do use is biodegradable. That way, you are not damaging the natural surroundings you are in.
Use it as little as possible according to product instructions. You can easily find online brands that sell good-quality biodegradable dish soap that you can use while camping for washing dishes. Here are a few biodegradable dish soaps that are perfect for camping:
#4 Don’t wash your camping dishes near natural sources of water.
It might be tempting to wash your dishes in a creek or stream or lake, but you don’t want to contaminate the water. Dispose of gray water at least 200 ft away from natural sources of water.
#5 Use the right tools.
Just like packing the right gear for camping with toddlers is important, packing the right gear will help you get those camping dishes washed in no time. It’ll also save you from having to run to the store from your campsite at the last minute when you realize you forgot something!
I love these collapsible dish pans made specially for washing dishes while camping. Buy two – one for washing and one for your rinse water. Of course, a regular dish pan found at your local Wal-mart will work just as easy in a pinch – the only downside being it takes up more space when packing.
Things like sponges, buckets and a drying rack, etc are some that you might consider packing with you for the camping trip. Having everything you need will make the dishwashing process less difficult and much quicker.
Best tools for washing dishes while camping:
- collapsible dish pan
- Campsuds dish soap
- paperless towels (use instead of paper towels)
- dish scrub brush
- cast iron scrub brush
- collapsible dish drying rack
Best Methods for Washing Dishes While Camping
1. Scrape leftover food and sauces into the garbage.
Now, though you can always ignore this step, you have to realize that it’s essential to wash dishes correctly even if you are outside. Scrape the dirty dishes as much as possible before you even proceed to wash them. The food scraps should be disposed of in the correct place so you don’t end up inviting stray animals to the camp in search of food.
2. Soak the dirty dishes for a while.
There is no rule that you need to clean the dishes instantly after you eat. In fact, it’s a nice idea to soak the dishes for a good amount of time. Soaking them in hot water makes it easier for the leftover food to be cleaned up correctly.
That way, you can enjoy some time doing activities while the dishes soak. For pots and cast iron skillets, you can pour water directly into the pan and set it to heat over the fire for a bit which will aid in your scrubbing later. Just be careful not to burn yourself with hot water when you do go to wash the pots!
You also don’t have to sit there scrubbing them for hours if you soak them just for a little while. So if you want to save some elbow grease, try soaking your dishes first.
3. Hot water does the trick of washing nicely.
You don’t have to be a dishwashing expert to know this little trick. Hot water can make the difficult task of making dishes clean extremely easy and less time consuming for you.
You just need to do one simple thing – heat water over the fire or even on your camp stove until steaming. Pour the hot water into your dish basin – being careful not to burn yourself. You can temper the water with cool water as needed.
Then, add a little of your biodegradable dish soap to the hot water. Use this mixture to wash the dishes after each time you are done eating.
You can wash your pots with the heated water right in the pan instead of submerging the pots and pans into your dish basin. Just scrub the soapy water right in the pot and then pour the gray water out.
4. Rinse dishes with clean water.
After you’ve washed your dishes and pots and pans, use clean water for rinsing. You can either pour rinse water right over the dishes or use a second dish pan with clean water to dip the clean dishes in.
5. Don’t forget to dry the dishes!
Since you are outside anyway, this becomes a much easier task for you. You can carry a foldable dry rack for your dishes when you go camping to make things even simpler. Drying is also another step in the process that shouldn’t be skipped if possible as it makes the next meal time more pleasant when you have dry dishes to eat off of.
Once you are done washing dishes while camping, you can just put them outside on the drying rack for a while. With the nice breeze, dishes will dry out in no time and you can use them again whenever needed.
Learning how to do the dishes while camping in a tent isn’t necessarily an activity that gets a ton of people excited. But, it’s still something that needs to be done and you want to do it the quick and easiest way possible!
In this article, we talked about some of the things that you need to keep in mind for washing dishes while camping in a tent and also some of the best methods to do it correctly. We hope that this article makes this chore easier for you and lets you enjoy the camping trip a little bit more this time around!