How To Clean Dishes While Backpacking

Many hikers detest washing the dishes since cleaning often entails seeking and gathering additional water. You then need to take a few more steps beyond the camp area to spread the garbage after cleaning. Sometimes it has less to do with laziness and more to do with circumstance. You may be limiting your water since there is none nearby and you are unsure of the location of the next water source. There are more choices than wishing for rain or bringing a soiled kitchen set. Follow this article and we will share details on how to clean dishes while backpacking.

We usually advise hikers to hydrate food using cooking utensils rather than stand-up plastic bags. The advice on this list should make it easier for you to clean up after yourself when traveling.

The proper technique to wash dishes when backpacking

The best approach to clean when you have access to water is to wash as usual using biodegradable soap (or not at all). You already know how valuable water is. Avoid contaminating it with your dirty dishes to keep it clean. In other words, avoid dipping your utensils and plates into water immediately. Dishwater should be thrown at least 200 feet (about 70 steps) away from water sources. Prepare ahead of time at home to make cleaning simpler. Take a micro-cloth or bandanna to dry dishes and cut a tiny sponge for cleaning.

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Making backpacking sponges by halves a regular-sized sponge

Create a sponge that is one-third the size or smaller at home by cutting and splitting a scouring sponge into equal squares. The above-described dual scour and soft sponge combination works effectively. While it just takes up a little amount of room, a sponge is optional. Keep the sponge inside the kitchenware. It ought to easily fit into one of the nested bowl/cup cook sets offered by GSI or MSR.

Many of the contemporary camping cook sets are coated with a waterproof material to serve as a sink, so you may add water to the biggest pot you have or utilize your pot carrying bag. You may substitute snow for water in the winter.

To the sponge, add 1 drop of concentrated biodegradable soap. Use just a little soap. Additionally, Bronner’s soap is useful for cleaning clothes and shaving when thru-hiking.

Dip the sponge into the water in the saucepan to wet it. With the wet sponge, clean each object. Each dish should be rinsed with a little amount of water from the saucepan. With a bandanna or cloth, remove any lingering food crumbs.

Disperse the dishwashing water and food residue still stuck to your bandana across the wash area rather than dumping it in one location. By dispersing the wash water, you may hasten its evaporation and lessen its appeal to animals. Keep in mind to discard any waste water from neighboring lakes, rivers, and streams.

Use a towel to dry everything completely, or let it air dry. To hasten drying and stop bacterial development, squeeze more water off your sponge. The majority of bacteria need wetness to grow. Before packing up, always give all utensils and plates a good clean.

Washing dishes with soap and water

In places where animals is known to congregate, it can sometimes risky to wash dishes. Alternatively, you could live in a dry environment where cleaning dishes is impossible. It may not be essential in the chilly, snowy winter. The best course of action in this situation is to clean all of your plates and cutlery before packing them. Consume all of those food scraps; that’s the finest course of action (you need the calories anyway). Use a tortilla, piece of bread, spoon, or your finger to wipe the edges of your dish. Other options include:

Cleaning up after a prepared dinner in the outdoors is a challenge

The addition of olive oil to the cooking water simplifies cleanup. When you boil your water, add a single package of olive oil or one tablespoon. This adds additional fat calories to the dish and, if you don’t have a pan with a coating, the oil makes cleanup simpler. Food stuck little at all when we used a non-coated metal pan from an old Boy Scout mess kit.

Sip it or drink it. Pour in some water, stir it around, and then sip. Soup! Since you don’t have access to water or are far from a water supply, this method really works well. When your body can utilize meal calories and water for cleansing, why squander them?

Don’t lick it; dip it instead. Have extra tortillas or bread? With only a piece of bread and a clean saucepan, you can make a quick dip. No bread? Some hikers may lick the pot clean (or let the dog do it), but this is not advised since the mouth is a breeding ground for many germs. Instead of licking, fully air dry the pot or dish after wiping away any leftover food with a clean finger, spoon, or bandanna.

Use the wood ash that nature has already provided if you have a bonfire. Ash and water react to create a mild alkali, which when coupled with any lingering fat from the food particles you wish to remove forms the fundamental building blocks of soap. Add enough water to the ash in the cooking pot to produce a paste. To clean all of your pots and utensils, use the paste as you would soap. Clean water should be used to rinse the little sponge or towel.

Make use of what is on the ground if you don’t have a sponge. A little amount of grass will do. Pine cones, leaves, or needles may also be used. Sand may be used as an abrasive to clean dishes if you are camping on a beach where there is enough of it.

Use a little sponge and simple water to clean your cook pot. Since you are merely reheating dried meals, they are already pre-cooked and shouldn’t leave any residue. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the dish and scrub it with the homemade, little scouring sponge (as shown above). Make sure to boil the water for the subsequent meal and briefly submerge any utensils in the boiling water to eradicate any lingering germs.

Drying your dishes after washing them

Dry-clean dishes without using soap or water. Utilize your spoon or spork to scrape the remaining food into your mouth and then consume as much of it as you can. Now clean everything. Based on the fact that most germs need moisture to grow, if you properly dry the cooking pot by wiping it down with a bandana or camp towel, it will stay pretty sanitary. Before packing things up, be sure to wash everything off and let it air dry.

To keep the pot clear of food, use pot liners. We mention pot liners last even though they are a little more environmentally friendly than the stand-up pouches that hikers use to rehydrate food and eat from. Because they generate more trash and have a chance of leaking, pot liners are not our preferred choice. With the edge folded over the side, a pot liner is meant to be placed inside the cooking pot. It is constructed of thin, heat-resistant food-safe plastic (PTFE or nylon), which is similar to an oven bag but intended for pots.

Final words

Now you know how to clean dishes while backpacking. Pick the right method out of these depending on your circumstances, and you will not encounter any challenges with doing dishes.

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