Dish washing isn’t any fun in the real world, so you can imagine how challenging it can be in the great outdoors. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to make dish washing during a camping trip fun and easy.
Items Needed for Camp Dish Washing
- 5 Gallon Water Jug
- Wash Basin
- Dish Soap
- Dish towels
- Paper Towels
- A Drying Rack
- Safe Cleaners
Setting Up the Dish Washing Station
The proper dish washing set up is key to ensuring dishes are washed and dried efficiently. Since most camping areas come with a picnic table, we are going to assume that yours will too. Time to set up your dish washing station.
First, take your 5-gallon water jug and place it on the end of the picnic table. Now, put your wash basin on the bench seat below the spigot, for easy water access. Place your dish soap next to the water jug, and your dry dish towels, and sponges, too. If you have a drying rack, now is the time to set that up as well, but a beach towel stretched out on the other end of the picnic table will work just fine too. Really, it’s your choice.
Camp Clean Up Made Easy
After you finish a meal around the campfire, you’ll want to wash the dishes as soon as possible. If you let them sit in the outdoors, they’ll attract bugs and other wildlife, and the food will be much more difficult to wipe off. Before you get to the dishes, grab one of your safe cleaners and wipe down the table and chairs in order to remove any sticky juices or food bits.
You can fill a pot with water and put it on the campstove or on the fire to heat up. While the water is getting hot, rinse each and every one of your dishes in the wash basin with water. Once that’s done, fill the wash basin about two inches full with hot water from the pot. Don’t forget to save some for rinsing. Now, put some dish soap on your sponge and start scrubbing.
Since water is a commodity out in the boonies, you don’t need to go overboard with the water use. After dish washing, rinse the dishes using as little water as possible. All you need, is a rinse and no food residue left behind.
Drying Your Dishes
Now that the dish washing is finished and no food residue is left behind, it’s time to get them dried and ready for a second or third use. The easiest way to do this is to take your dry dish towels and pat everything off.
If you have some time and will be sitting in the outdoors for a while, this is a great time to take advantage of your dryer racks. Let the dishes air out in the breeze, and once they are no longer wet, pack them away.
Cleaning Dish Washing Tools
With the dishes dried and washed, it’s now time to scrub down your dish washing station. Keeping this area as clean as possible will ensure your camping party stays healthy during the duration of your trip.
Take whatever safe cleaners you have on hand, and wipe down the exterior of the water jug as well as the handle and spigot. Now, wipe down the picnic table top and bench areas. Finally, take your dish soap and a sponge and thoroughly clean out the wash basin. Now, rinse it out. Don’t forget to include cleaning your sponge. That’s it — you’re done!
It should be noted that if you are camping in bear country, you’ll want to store everything with a scent (whether it’s food or your safe cleaners) inside of a bear proof container, or in your own vehicle. Doing so will keep you safe, and help avoid any encounters with big furry critters.
By adding these simple tips and items to your camping arsenal, dish washing will be easier than it ever has been before. Gotta love that, right?