Amazingly Easy: How to Wash Dishes When Camping

How to Wash Dishes While Camping: A Step-by-Step Guide

Washing dishes while camping can seem like a daunting task, especially when you are dealing with limited supplies and resources. If you’re a camping enthusiast with a family of three, then this guide is for you. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to wash dishes while camping in a way that is easy, practical, and — most of all — effective. Here’s what you need to know to keep your dishes clean while camping.

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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

The first step is to make sure that you have all of the supplies that you need to effectively clean your dishes while camping. Here’s what you should have on your list:

  • Liquid detergent or soap
  • Washcloth
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Towel(s)

If you’re using a campfire for heating water, you’ll also need a bucket or something to collect the heated water. And if you’re using lake water, you also need a coil or other container to carry and filter the water. Make sure that all of these items are accounted for before you begin.

Step 2: Heat the Water

Once you have all of your supplies, you need to heat the water that will be used to wash your dishes. If you’re using a campfire, you can fill your bucket with water and then place it onto the campfire. Make sure to keep the bucket away from any flames and allow it to gradually heat. Alternatively, if you’re using lake water, you can fill your coil with water from the lake and then attach it to the fire. This will slowly heat the lake water.

Be sure to keep an eye on the water as it is heating, as this will prevent it from boiling over. Once the water has heated to a comfortable and safe temperature, you can use it to start washing your dishes.

heated water

Step 3: Pre-Rinse the Dishes

Before you actually start washing the dishes, you should pre-rinse them using the heated water and soap. This pre-rinse should remove any larger food scraps and will make the washing process easier. Start by adding a few drops of detergent or soap to the heated water, and then dip a cloth or sponge into the soapy solution. Then, use the cloth or sponge to scrub away any food scraps from the dishes or utensils.

Make sure that you thoroughly rinse the dishes, as any remaining soap residue can be dangerous if ingested. Once you have pre-rinsed the dishes, you can move onto the actual washing process.

Step 4: Wash the Dishes

At this point, you can actually begin washing the dishes. Start by filling a basin or empty bucket with the heated water and liquid detergent or soap. Use a cloth or sponge to scrub food particles from the dishes, making sure to not use any scrubbing that could damage the dishes themselves. Make sure to rinse the dishes off with clean water once you have finished washing them.

washere on the ground

Step 5: Rinse the Dishes

The rinsing process is just as important as the scrubbing process. To adequately rinse your dishes, you should fill a basin or bucket with fresh, cool water. Then, completely submerge the dishes in the water, making sure to remove any excess soap residue. Additionally, you should rinse the dishes in batches to make sure that the water remains clean throughout the process.

Once you have finished rinsing the dishes, you can move onto the next step in the process.

Step 6: Sanitize the Dishes

Sanitizing your dishes after washing them is an important step in protecting your health and safety. There are a few different methods you can use to sanitize your dishes, but the most common is boiling. To do this, fill a pot or pan with clean water and then bring it to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, submerge your dishes in the pot for at least five minutes. This will help to effectively sanitize your dishes.

boiling water

Step 7: Air Dry the Dishes

The final step in the process is to air dry your dishes. To do this, simply place the dish on a clean towel and allow it to air dry. Once the dish has dried, you can pack it away and move onto the next one. Make sure to dry the dishes as soon as possible, as this will help to prevent any food particles from building up or creating a smell.


As you can see, washing dishes while camping doesn’t have to be a difficult or daunting task. With the right supplies and a few simple steps, you can keep your dishes clean and sanitized while camping. If you’d like to learn more about cleaning dishes when camping, check out this video for additional tips and tricks.

Now that you know how to wash dishes while camping, you can enjoy your camping trip without having to worry about the mess when you get home. Safe travels!