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You'll want to bring the following with you on your trip:
- Wash basins, collapsible sinks, or a pasta pot
- Biodegradable soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s
- Sponge and a plastic mesh scrubber
To set up your campsite for washing dishes, turn your picnic table or one of its benches into a dishwashing station. Or use a second table, if you have one.
Once your station is set up:
1. Scrape food from plates.
A little advance work with a scraper or paper towel goes a long way to keeping dishwater clean.
2. Organize a bucket system.
Two bins, nesting basins, or collapsible sinks are optimal: one for hot soapy water (heat it on the stove, and add only a small amount of biodegradable soap), and the second for rinsing (ideally with hot water).
If you don’t have bins or sinks, improvise by washing and then rinsing in a pasta pot. If you’re camping in an area without potable water, add a third basin for a sanitizing cold-water rinse with a capful of bleach. Fill bins only about halfway to avoid wasting water.
3. Set out dishes to dry.
Once dishes are clean, arrange them upside down on your picnic table to dry (preferably on a waterproof tablecloth), tipping them onto each other a bit to let air circulate.
4. Dispose of water.
Pour all the dishwater into one bucket. Strain food scraps from the water (they attract animals), and take them to the trash. Broadcast dishwater in your campsite, or in another area if directed to by the campground.
Tell us: What savvy tricks do you keep in your back pocket when camping?