There are many ways to clean camp dishes, some more effective than others. Some people are fine with making them look clean, but I try and be a bit fastidious in my camp dish cleanup. Maybe I have an out of proportion fear of dysentery, but the following method is health department approved.
Washing the dishes themselves is a 5 step process. Pre-Wash, Wash, Rinse, Sterilize and Dry.
The Following equipment and Supplies are required
(3) Wash Tubs
Scrub brush and/or a sponge
Step 1 Pre-Wash
The first step is to scrape off as much excess food and grease as possible. The reason for this is to make the wash water in the next step last as long as possible. Sticking dirty dishes directly into the clean wash water just creates dirty wash water.
Step 2 Wash
In a wash tub or bucket of soapy warm water clean off all the remaining food residue and grease. Do not move onto the next step until it is clean. shake as much soapy water as possible and move on to the next step.
Step 3 Rinse
In a second tub of hot water is for rinsing off the remaining soap.
Step 4 Sanitize
The third wash tub is to sanitize your dishes. A solution of chlorine bleach (1 tbs per gallon) or other sanitizing agents (such as steramine) in any temperature water. Soak for 1 minute. You can use Boiling hot water to sanitize but that is trickier and a little more dangerous.
Step 5 Dry
If possible air dry your dishes. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to air dry use paper towels. Do NOT use your dirty dish towel, that will just spread a nice coating of bacteria all over your freshly cleaned dishes. A mesh bag that you can hang up that holds your clean dishes and pots is very helpful.
Step 6 Clean Up the Clean Up
After you are done washing the dishes you must clean up from the clean up. First take the wash water and strain out all the food bits and dispose of them in the trash. Dispose of the water by broadcasting is over a wide area, 200 feet from your camp and any river or lake. Take the rinse water, pour it in the wash tub, rinse it around and then broadcast it as above. Pour the contents of the sanitization tub into the rinse tub and then let it sit for a minute. Then pour the sanitation solution from the rinse tub to the wash tub and let it sit again for one minute. Once again broadcast the sanitization water. Let the tubs air dry.
Other Helpful Hints
* Clean your dishes form cleanest to dirties.. save that greasy bacon fry pan till last, because once you are done with that, your dishwater will have to be replaced.
* Use a Biodegradable soap such as Camp Suds. A little goes a long way.