How To Clean Utensils While Camping

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

How To Clean Utensils While Camping

Cleaning utensils while camping

Cookouts and feasts at camp are the most memorable camping experiences. Camping allows you to enjoy both cuisine and nature simultaneously, and it will enable you to experience the basic pleasures of life.

However, while the majority of camping is about exploring the great outdoors and taking on new adventures, there is also another side of it – the clean-ups. You may think of it as an exhausting task, but this can be a fun activity if you focus on the bright side. It may seem less of a chore if you do it outside, where you can admire nature’s beauty while the sun shines brilliantly and all the greenery surrounds you. 

Without the complete equipment you have at home, cleaning may be a hassle. Here are some tips on how to clean your utensils while camping:

What you will need: 

  • Some kind of tub (regular mixing bucket/collapsible/portable camping sinks)
  • Eco-friendly soap
  • Sponge
  • Drying rack or clean towel

How to do it:

  1. Place all your utensils and dishes in the tub and fill it with warm water.
  2. Allow it to soak for a few minutes to remove any stains or solidified leftover food. Use a sponge with soap to clean them.
  3. After cleaning, either use another tub with water or drain the soapy water from the present tub and refill it with clean water.
  4. After washing them thoroughly, dry the utensils by placing them in a drying rack or wiping away the extra water with a towel.
  5. Remove the food remnants from the dishwater and set them away for proper disposal. 

How to disinfect utensils while camping?

You can further reduce the likelihood of infection and foodborne illnesses spread not just by cleaning them but also by disinfecting your utensils.

Bacteria are less likely to be transferred to meals that are being prepared or served when your cutleries are appropriately cleaned and sanitized, preventing cross-contamination.

Disinfecting your utensils is a reasonably easy task. All you need to do is bring water to a boil and pour it over your largest pot. Always be careful not to burn yourself.

Then place all your metal, stainless utensils in it and leave it for at least five minutes. Do not boil plastic utensils because they cannot withstand the heat, this only works for metal cutleries. 

What utensils can you bring on camping?

Many camping utensils are only discovered to be necessary after you’ve made the mistake of forgetting them. What you should bring depends entirely on your needs, but here are the basic utensils you should have during your trip.

  • Silverware (spoon and fork)
  • Knives
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Frying pan
  • Cutting board
  • Plates and bowls
  • Water bottle
  • Cups and mugs

Where can you store your utensils when camping? 

When you organize your camping utensils, you can spend less time worrying about clutter and more time relaxing with your family, enjoying nature. Unorganized campsites are unsightly and require more effort than needed.

Making use of camping cookware organizers is one method in managing the prospect of outdoor cooking. These enable you to ease of transport, and you can store your cookware in a manner that maintains it organized, making it easy to locate the next time you need it. 

Since you already know how to wash and clean your utensils, it’s time to think about where to place them. It is essential to make sure that your cutlery is dry before putting them in storage to prevent mould, as well as malodours. Here are some ideas on where to store your camp gear and utensils:

  • Drawer

Drawer systems are great for making clever storage options for your utensils. You can sort your items by category, and you can also label them for easier access.

  • Containers

Containers are also great options to store your camping utensils. You can tuck all of your utensils away neatly and effectively, preventing them from becoming misplaced. This will enable you to store more things which essentially, creates more space for you to move around freely. 

  • Rack

To save space and to stay organized, racks are a good option. They are easily accessible and convenient.

How many utensils do you need on camping?

The amount of utensils you need to bring during camping is determined by the length of your stay, the number of people with you, and the kind of meals you’ll prepare. It is important to pack only what you think you’ll need to save space. You don’t want to bring unnecessary things which will have no use later on.

It is advisable to have a meal plan checklist before deciding what utensils to bring since this can help you plan the equipment you’ll be using for cooking. If you intend to prepare gourmet meals, you may need to carry additional utensils. However, if you’re only planning to cook easy, one-pot dishes, naturally, you’re only going to need a few things.

Tips on cleaning your dishes

Washing your dishes at the camp may be more complicated than washing them at home. This is because you would have to deal with limited amenities, not to mention that water is scarce. When you’re out in the woods, it is essential to maintain a leave-no-trace mindset.

You can achieve this by making prudent and conscious decisions that have the least potential negative influence on the environment. This includes being responsible for your dishes and clean-ups as well. If you’re new to camping, here are some tips for cleaning your dishes efficiently. 

Use eco-friendly soap

When dishwashing, use environment-friendly supplies, especially the dishwashing soap you bring, to help protect nature and its inhabitants. Eco-friendly soaps that are specifically made for camping are available on the market, so you should consider purchasing those. Sulfite-containing soaps should be avoided since they can collect discarded water and damage the environment.

Dispose the dishwater properly when camping

You might think that washing your dishes near, or even on, the water source is the greatest method to clean them. But they’re not. No matter how well you handle it, dirty dishwater can pollute lakes and streams.

Greywater should not be disposed of in the water source. If your campsite does not have a specific place for this, make sure to rid them at least 50 metres away from water sources (lakes, rivers, streams). 

Dispose of your leftover foods properly

Food scraps attract animals and you don’t want to lead them straight to your tent. In turn, you might also harm wildlife if these animals eat your food’s packaging.

When preparing dinner, make sure to pick any crumbs that may have fallen to the ground and dispose of them properly. Make sure to bring your own garbage bag since not every campsite has one. Again, leave no trace behind.

Use only enough water when cleaning

In camping, water is scarce unless you’re near a water source. Still, it is best to try and save water. If you carry enough utensils for the whole day, wash them all at once during the night. A single wash saves more water than a series of washes.