Camp Dish Cleanup The 5 Step / 3 Tub Method

Edit July 11th 2014 .. See the Infographic Here .. I also shorterd the text, but same basic idea.

 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

  • Water

  • Hot water

  • Soap

  • Sanitation chemicals

  • 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.

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