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Washing Dishes while Camping

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We practice two ways of cleaning dishes:

Method 1:  Washline

A washline setup with three stations/water bins - warm/hot soapy water, hot clear water, cold water with a cap of bleach.

  • NEVER submerge your dirty dishes in the first bin.
  • ALWAYS wipe with paper towel or "eat" clean as possible first
  • Rinse dishes in each station, then air dry.
  • ALWAYS wash personal items prior to cleaning larger items and the shared pots and pans used to prepare the meal for the patrol.


Method 2:  Backpacking

When backpacking a washline is not possible and you must follow #1 - "Be a good steward."

  • Always clean your personal items as much as possible to avoid generating food debris. You don't want to leave food for critters to find and continue foraging for at your campsite later.  So "lick your dishes" clean then wipe with napkins, paper towels, etc.  NEVER brush food debris on the ground and ESPECIALLY never near your campsite.
  • Use bleach wipes if desired.
  • If needed, rinse with hot water, which you can make with your backpacking stove.  Catch any dirty water and scatter at least 100 ft from your campsite.
  • Finally, keep any trash that was generated during cleaning.  Store in a ziploc bag and pack it out with you.  Do not leave at the campsite.  If carrying overnight, this trash should be stored in your bear bag.