How To Wash Dishes when Low-Impact Camping

Camping is a wonderful and fun activity that many people enjoy doing. If you want to be environmental about it, then what you want is low impact camping.

This means that when you head out to the wilderness, you will leave the area with as minimal damage and intrusion as possible.

The idea is so you can preserve the wilderness in its natural pristine condition while at the same time, you really get the experience of roughing it up and being one with nature.

If you need to wash your dishes, there’s a proper way to go about it when you are low impact camping. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Keep your dishes to a minimum

When you are camping, you shouldn’t bring your entire house with you. The less you bring the better. Keep things small and compact.

Also, if you have a small group of campers, you’ll be able to do low impact camping compared to if you’re a big group comprised of several families. The fewer dishes you have to wash, the less environmental impact you will leave behind.

Dispose of your food scraps properly

After you are done eating, you should throw your garbage properly. As much as possible, don’t leave behind food items. The disposable packaging that the food came with should be placed in your belongings.

The organic food scraps can then be composted in the wilderness. Do not dump your food scraps in the water source that you find.

Find a water source and collect water

When camping, it’s ideal that you find an area close to water, such as a small stream or river. Bring a small container so you can scoop up some water to take away with you.

Move away from the water source

When camping, you should not wash your dishes right at the water source. After you gather a small amount of water that you need, walk away. Find a spot at least 200 feet away.

Dig a small hole

With a small spade that you have brought with you, dig a small hole in the ground. The hole doesn’t have to be deep. A depth of about six inches should suffice. This will act as your sink. By digging a small hole, you prevent the water from running off on the ground.

Use biodegradable soap

It’s important that you use the proper soap when camping. Purchase a biodegradable soap so you don’t leave behind sulfates and other harsh chemicals in the wilderness. Remember, you want to preserve the area and protect the animals and the water.


Use your hands or a small sponge and rub down the dishes using the soap and water. Rinse properly. When you are done, you can place the soil back over the small hole you have dug.

You can still get your dishes clean while camping in a mindful and environmental way. Keep your group small and don’t bring so much stuff with you. Also, be sure to carry all your trash with you to protect not only the plants and the surrounding area, but also to minimize the exposure of garbage and chemicals to the animals.

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