This clean dishes shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Worried that hand washing dishes isn’t getting them clean?
Want to know how to wash dishes while camping? Below we show you how to set up a proper camping dishwashing station. See our DIY Washing Machine here.
When we are camping, my husband does all the cooking and cleaning up afterward.
I am not sure how it worked out that way, but I enjoy it.
I don’t want to be critical of how he does dishes, but I worry that they are not getting properly cleaned.
He uses boiling water to make sure it kills any germs, but then he burns his hands.
I did some thinking about how we could avoid burned hands and make sure the dishes are clean, and I remembered the old scout way of doing dishes.
How to Clean Dishes by Hand
The key to washing properly is to use three dishpans. Scroll down for the dish detail.
Get the right sponge for your cleaning needs.
Scotch-Brite™ color-coded their sponges to help find the right sponge for the job.
Green is Heavy Duty – The Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge is perfect for cleaning tough messes. Use it on pots, pans, oven racks, grill racks, tools, tires, and sinks. It’s our go-to camping sponge!
Blue is Non-Scratch – The Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge is great for cleaning those more delicate surfaces that you don’t want to be scratched. This includes non-stick cookware, countertops, and cooktops.
Scotch-Brite™ offers either sponges or dishcloths for cleaning.
Since we cook with cast iron, at home and while camping, we are on Team Sponge because we use Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges when we clean dishes.
The heavy-duty green scrub side is tough on all the baked-on food in our cast iron and other dishes.
The yellow sponge side is perfect for cleaning the rest of the dishes.
Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges are perfect for counters, appliances, and other items that you don’t want to scratch.
Scotch-Brite™ Scrub Sponges come in multi-packs to help with all your cleaning needs. I purchased mine in the cleaning aisle of my local grocery store.
When it comes to clean dishes, are you on Team Sponge or Team Dishcloth?
Find more camping DIY & tips on my camping blog Let’s Camp S’more.
- dish soap
- Scotch-Brite™ Scrub Sponges
- three dishpans
- drying rack
- Heat water for washing dishes.
- Fill the first dishpan, which is used for washing with warm water. It should not be scalding.
- We like to put in the water out of the tap and add in some hot water to make a warm. We use a higher temperature if our dishes are really greasy.
- Add a small amount of dish soap to the first pan.
- Fill the second dishpan with hot water to rinse dishes. The water should be warmer than the first pan.
- Fill the third dishpan with water. The temperature of this water doesn't make a difference. It can be a temperature that is comfortable to the touch.
- Add a capful of bleach to the third pan. This is the sanitize dishpan.
- Wash your dishes by first scrubbing clean with a sponge in the washtub.
- Rinse the soap off the dishes by dunking them in the rinse tub.
- Sanitize the dishes by dunking them in the third tub.
- Finally, air-dry the dishes in a drying rack.
- There is a proper way to clean up the dishpans. First, properly dispose of the dishwater. If you are at home, just pour it down the drain. When camping, dispose of in a marked utility sink or as stated in campground rules. If pouring on the ground is allowed, make sure it's at least 100 feet from a water source or body of water.
- Then use the water from the second tub to rinse out the first.
- Finally, use the water from the first tub to sanitize the wash and rinse tubs.