How to Clean Camp Kitchen Gear Properly

How to Clean Camp Kitchen Gear ProperlyFailure to clean your cookware when you're backpacking is like playing with fire -- you might get burned by the bacteria you're breeding and have your trip cut short by gastrointestinal problems. In addition, dirty pots, pans, and cups may attract wildlife, including nocturnal visits by raccoons, mice, or even bears. Cleaning your cooking gear properly only takes a few minutes, and is well worth the time.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Cleaning Cookware

Things You’ll Need:
  • Water
  • Camp stove
  • Pot scrubber
  • Pack towel or dish towel
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Plastic zippered bag
Step 1
Find a spot to clean your cookware that's well-separated from the area where you'll be sleeping and 200 feet from any water source. Animals may be attracted to any food residue from the dishes. Don't ever wash your kitchen gear in a stream or spring.
Step 2
Add some water to the pot or cup, and then heat the water with your camp stove. It isn't necessary for the water to be boiling to clean the pot effectively.
Step 3
Add a drop or two of biodegradable soap into the pot and scrub it with a small pot scrubber. To save weight when you pack, trim the scrubber down to a small size and store it in a small, plastic zipper bag.
Step 4
Rinse the cookware. If you've been using a pot solely for boiling water, use any water that's left in the that pot as your rinse water. If not, add some more water to the pot you've scrubbed and rinse it.
Step 5
Let your kitchenware dry and then pack it away. Air drying is fine, or you can use a pack towel or small dishtowel to hasten the process.

Tips & Warnings

Your cleanup will be a lot easier and faster if you take care when you're cooking to not burn any food. And don't let food residue dry in the pot, either -- it can be very difficult to remove.
Protect water sources from contamination by always washing your pots and utensils at least 200 feet away from water sources.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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