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How to clean dishes while camping: A step by step guide

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Are you planning a camping trip and wondering How to clean dishes while camping? This article talks about different methods of washing the dishes while camping, basic principles of washing the dishes while camping, and how to wash the dishes when camping.

Camping isn’t only about being away from civilization and enjoying the great outdoors – it’s also about cooking your food. But what do you do when the dishes start piling up? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will outline the best way to clean dishes while camping – no matter where you are. We’ll show you how to wash dishes when camping quickly and easily. So get ready to camp like a pro!

Things needed to clean dishes while camping

Cleaning dishes can be a tedious task, but with the right tools and supplies, it can be a lot less of a hassle. While camping is all about enjoying the outdoors and experiencing the great outdoors, it is also important to take care of the gear you bring with you. To answer this question, how to wash dishes when camping? 

One of the most important pieces of gear you will need is a dishwashing setup. Not only will this save you time and hassle when it comes to cleaning dishes, but it will also keep your kitchen clean and free from harmful bacteria.

There are a few key pieces of equipment you will need to set up dishwashing while camping. Here are the basic things that you need.

Dishwashing detergent

The first is a dishwashing detergent. This should be a biodegradable product that is also effective at removing grease and food particles in the dishwasher. It should also be able to safely handle tough stains like grease and coffee in terms of their ability to remove them while eliminating residual food or drink left on dishes after washing.

A large clothe

Next, you will need a large cloth bin for cleaning. This can easily be placed inside your camp kitchen area so that dishes remain clean during the time spent preparing meals and playing around outside with friends and family members! 

A Sponge

You need a sponge to clean the dishes you hand wash. This can be used alongside your cleaning cloth bin to help you clean up after meals and also give a little extra protection when it comes time to store the dishes until the next meal time!

Water hose and buckets

Next, you will need a water hose and sprayer. This will allow you to easily wash dishes and clean surfaces. Last, you will need a bucket and spade to collect the dirty water.

Steps involved in cleaning the dishes

Follow these easy steps to washing the dishes while camping.

  • Soak each pot or pan for about 10 minutes and then empty the water from each item before washing them again with soap and hot, soapy water. Never wash cookware in cold water because you could shock the contents that are still “charged.”
  • Fill a pot or bucket with water and add enough soap to cover the dishes.
  • Place the dishes in the pot or bucket and swish them around to sud them up.
  • Bring the pot or bucket to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove the dishes from the pot or bucket and let them soak in soapy water for a few minutes.
  • Rinse the dishes in freshwater, using a scrub brush if necessary. If any pieces are hard to remove from dishes despite soaking with hot soapy water first; soak overnight according to directions on the container label or until the piece appears translucent for 24 hours and begins to break up into lumps (if applicable). Then you can either wash it again under warm soapy water or scrape it with a sharp knife.
  • Place the dishes back in the soapy water and let them soak for a few more minutes, then rinse them again.
  • Place the dishes in the sun to dry.
  • Store the dishes in a dry place when not in use.

Principles to follow while washing dishes while camping

How to clean dishes while camping

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get in some exercise, but it can also be quite messy! To make the camping experience as pleasant as possible, you can have the best camping ever by following these simple principles.

DIsposing of the Food waste

Camping is a great way to get out and enjoy nature, but it can also be a pain when it comes to disposing of food waste. Luckily, there are several ways to do this without having to deal with smells or flies. The first step is to make sure that you have a food waste disposal container that is sturdy and large enough to hold all of your food waste.

 Next, collect all of your food waste in the morning and put it in the disposal container. Make sure that the container is placed in an easy-to-access location, and make sure that it is covered to prevent smells from escaping.

Later in the day, when you are ready to camp, bring your disposal container and all of your food waste with you. Place the food waste in a designated area, away from campfire ashes and other combustibles. Make sure that the area is clean and free of debris.

Disposing of the Gray water

Gray water is water that has been used for dishwashing. It can be a great way to conserve water when camping, as it is not treated with chemicals or pollutants. Gray water can be used for irrigation or for hosing down surfaces. Keep in mind that gray water should never be used for drinking, as it may contain harmful chemicals that could harm your health.

When washing dishes while camping, you should dispose of greywater outside the campground. You can either do so in an area of the campground that has a drain or toilet, or you can use a large bucket and transport it by car. Don’t dump gray water directly into lakes or streams because it may contaminate the water source. To dispose of greywater as far away from drinking sources as possible. 

There are a few ways to dispose of gray water when camping. One option is to use a water filter, which will remove any contaminants.

 Another option is to collect it in a container and simply dispose of it by pouring it into the trash bin. It is important to be aware of the local environmental regulations when disposing of gray water, as some places prohibit the discharge of untreated wastewater into water bodies.

Cook according to your need

When camping, one of the best ways to save money is by not cooking extra food. It doesn’t matter if you’re running low on food while camping, there will always be leftovers. While it might seem obvious that you should eat up all the extra food in camp before heading out on an expedition, some people end up leaving food behind because they just don’t know how long it takes for a dish to dry when camping. 

This can lead to expensive and wasteful situations and it can be harmful to the environment of the campsite as the degradation of leftovers will cause smells that could make it difficult for others to camp. This food waste can also attract wild animals if you are camping near the jungle so you should dump the food waste or to avoid such kinds of situations you should cook only that much which you can eat.

You can also check out our other related article Sealed Meals for Camping:

Some life-saving methods for how to clean dishes while camping

How to clean dishes while camping

Here I’m going to explain Some life-saving methods for how to cleaning dishes while camping:

Waterless dish cleaning methods

If you are at some place where no water is available for dishwashing, you might hit upon a question: How to do dishes without running water? Here are three simple methods for waterless dish cleaning.

Paper towel method

If you are camping at such a site where there is no or little water you can clean up your dishes by using a paper towel. Paper towel is lightweight, it’s the perfect tool for cleaning dishes while on the go. Simply just wipe the dishes with a towel once or twice until all the grease and food particles are removed. After wiping you can apply one or two drops of hand sanitizer to sanitize your dishes from germs.


  • This method is quite simple and cheap.
  • This method is environmentally friendly as paper towels can degrade easily.


  • This method can cause an extra mess to handle if you don’t place the used towel properly

By Using baby wipes

If you don’t want to use a paper towel, a water-based baby wipe or toilette tissue will work just as well. Using baby wipes to clean dishes while camping: Baby wipes are an excellent alternative to using paper towels when washing dishes on camp. They’re gentle enough not to scratch any nonstick cookware, but they also do a good job of removing grease and grime from pots and pans without having to scrub too hard.


  • This method is quite effective and you don’t have to sanitize the plates after cleaning with baby wipes.


  • Can give a flowery smell to utensils that may affect your food smell.
  • Not everyone has baby wipes with them

By using the bread

This one is the most simple method that you can use when you don’t have water, a paper towel, a sponge, or baby wipes. You can simply use your leftover bread to clean your greasy dishes. Wiping the dishes with bread and you will get a clean dish.


  • Environmental friendly and easy method


  • Can’t remove the hard stuck food particles
  • Some stains may be left plates may not be properly clean

By using tablets

Tablets are an effective way to get your dishes clean without having to wait long periods of time for the wash cycle to complete or running water. By using tablets, you can get your dishes clean fast without the hassle of having to wait for a sink or hose to fill up with water.

There are a variety of ways to clean dishes using tablets, but the most efficient and user-friendly method may be Starbucks’ Hot Clean tablet. This tablet is specifically designed for dishwashing and comes with an indicator that shows when it needs to be refilled. It also has a special formulation that helps remove food residue and built-up soils while leaving behind sparkling glasses and crisp dishes.

Another popular option is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Electronic Tablets – these come in both lavender scent (to comfort those with sensitive noses) as well as citrus scent (for cleaning tasks such as removing odors). These tablets can dissolve oils, grease, dirt, food particles, fingerprints & other residues from all types of surfaces including TomTom touch screens! They’re also safe for use on electronic devices like phones& laptops….just make sure you dry them off afterward!


The downside though is that these types of systems typically require cleaning chemicals which may not be safe for use around food and could potentially end up leaching into your dishwashing drink/water source when left unused after camping trips.

Washing dishes without soap while camping

There are a few simple steps involved in the method of washing dishes without soap while camping. First, gather all of the necessary supplies:  a pot, a pan, a spoon, and water, and put them in the appropriate location.

Next, fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the pan and spoon to the pot and start stirring. Once the water is boiling again, add the dishes and turn off the heat. Let the dishes soak for a few minutes, and then gently rinse them with water. Finally, dry them off with a towel. Here are the clean dishes without using any water.

By using soil water

You can fill a tub with warm water and mix in some mud until it is sloshed about evenly. Partially submerge dishware in the muddy water and let it soak for around 5-10 minutes before rinsing off easily with running water.

Washing dishes without a sponge while camping

Camping is a fantastic way to get away from it all and relax. Unfortunately, camping also means living in an environment that’s typically less sanitary than our daily lives at home. With hygiene on your mind, you can take steps toward washing dishes without a sponge while camping by either using sand or water with antibacterial soap. 

The latter option is especially important if you’re camping with little ones who might accidentally drink dirty water or eat food prepared with unsanitary dishwater. 

Another way is to simply pluck some grass from the ground and tie all the grass with long grass and use it like a sponge. It could be the best option if you don’t have any sponges at all.

Some best ways to store dishes after cleaning

One of the best ways to keep your dishes and cleaning equipment in good condition is to store them in a dry, cool and clean environment. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

1. Store dishes and cleaning equipment in a dry, cool and clean environment – This is by far the most important step. If your dishware and cleaning equipment are not kept properly dried, they will begin to corrode and become unusable.

2. Keep dishware and cleaning equipment in a cabinet or drawer – Not only will this help keep them organized, but it will also keep them out of the way when you’re not using them.

3. Store dishware and cleaning equipment in airtight containers – When storing dishware and cleaning equipment in airtight containers, it will help to preserve their moisture levels and keep them free from bacteria growth.

4. Store dishware and cleaning equipment in a cool, dark place – Storing dishware and cleaning equipment in a cool, dark place will help to keep them from becoming contaminated with light.

Hopefully, these tips will help you store your dishes and cleaning equipment in the best possible condition!


Here are some important FAQs:

Do you feel that washing dishes while camping is a good idea or not? Why or why not?

Soaking dishes in a sink or bathtub while camping might be an easier option, but it’s not the best one. It’s important to remember that dishes will take a lot longer to soak in water if they’re out in the open air. Not only will this take up precious time and resources, but it’s also a safety risk – you could end up spilling water on your campsite or stove, which could lead to dangerous fires.

Instead, try using a dishpan – this is a specially designed container that can be easily filled with water and placed on the fire. When it’s full, simply pour the dirty water into the sink or bathtub. This way, you’ll avoid spending time washing dishes outside and you’ll also have no worries about potential fire hazards.

What is your biggest frustration with washing dishes while camping?

My biggest frustration with washing dishes while camping is that it takes a long time. It can take me upwards of 30 minutes to wash a few dishes, and I don’t have that much time to spare when out camping. 

Another frustration I have is that dishes seem to get dirty more quickly when camping than when I’m home. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re not using as many hygienic supplies at home, or if the dirt and dust just seem to accumulate on our dishes more quickly out in the wild. 

What’s the solution to these frustrations?

One thing you can do is invest in a dishwasher. This will speed up the process considerably and help you keep your dishes clean and free from bacteria. Additionally, make sure to use proper hygiene while camping – try using antibacterial soap and water instead of using regular soap. Finally, try not to overload your dishwashing resources – only wash what you need and store the rest of the dishes in a safe place so they don’t get dirty again.

Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid some of the frustrations associated with washing dishes while camping. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us!

Can I use Dawn dish soap while camping?

Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap while camping. Simply fill a water bottle with dish soap, water, and a towel. Place the bottle in your camping gear and take it with you wherever you go. This way, you’ll always have a clean kitchen when you need it!

Conclusive remarks

Camping can be an amazing experience, but it can also be quite challenging. Apart from the usual worries about food and water, there’s also the challenge of cleaning up afterward. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! In this blog, we’ll teach you a foolproof method to wash dishes, even when there’s no water available or soap. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to store dishes so they don’t get spoilt in the wild. 

So whether you’re out camping for the weekend or spending months at a time outdoors, read on to get all the information you need to make your camping trip easier and more enjoyable!

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