washing dishes

For those of you who paddle on salt water, what do you do to wash dishes?

Do you have two stations–one for wash, one for rinse? Do you use salt water or fresh (a precious commodity)? Where do you get the water you use?

Many thanks in advance.

in the San Juans
you just let the racoons lick 'em clean.


salt water wash and rinse, next to camp. pays to have some rubber boots or Chotas so your feet don’t get wet.

next summer I’ll teach ya how!


dip them in the sea and be done
with it.

If you paddle there should be plenty of water around you that you can use for doing the dishes (very different if you would be backpacking for example).

And if you ended up messing your pot real bad there should always be some sand that you can use to remove stubbornly stuck food.

fishing lure R&D
I thought you just tied them to the yak with individual strings, and dragged them through the water?

According to my uncle, that’s how men discovered that fish will strike at spoons spinning on a line.

Washing Dishes

– Last Updated: Dec-21-08 9:53 PM EST –

My wife loves to wash dishes and I love to cook. Our friends have named our 700 ml snowpeak cooking/drinking/eating containers the "lucky mugs" because they are washed in between courses during dinner. She will use the sea to wash and rinse them, and everyone else's mugs if they are ready, but is not beyond walking a 1/4 mile to a trickle of water coming out of the rain forest. In winter, she uses the sea because everything else is frozen. She has summer and winter dish washing gloves and uses Campsuds. A marine biologist, who paddles with us on occasion, has said that the sea water is far less likely to host wee nasties than the streams running into the ocean. At least here in Southeast Alaska.

I wash with salt
It’s great, because unlike using fresh water from a waterbody, with salt water you don’t have to worry about cryptosporidium or giardia. Also, when you’re washing in a giant bay or the ocean, a little food or biodegradable soap getting in the water isn’t going to have the impact it will in a smaller body of water.

I would recommend fresh …

– Last Updated: Dec-22-08 2:01 PM EST –

Salt just destroyes everything over time. When we travel with a group - we ask everyone to bring one day's washing water. This way the entire group can use that water to clean their dishes. One is for soapy water, one is to rinse. It works out well this way -- otherwise you are packing a lot of water.

If it is just two of you do the best you can to wipe down as much of your ware before you rinse them off.

Also, we use the gallon plastic freezer bags we store our daily food in as our trash bag for the day.

We washed a lot of our dishes last year in the Everglades and most of it looked pretty bad post trip.

You could also get a Sun Shower and use this as well.

Beccka, not sure what kind of dishes
you use on your camping trips but mine don’t look any different than when they were new. If they might have a little scrape sure is not from washing them in salt water.

For me, it would be utterly ridiculous and impractical (also impossible) to schlep additional fresh water just to do dishes.

You can be pretty sure that no expedition (in the ocean) of more then a few days ever uses FRESH water to do the dishes.

However if packing unnecessary water with you makes you happy…

Pretty much all my camping is on the ocean and I never carry fresh water for cleaning anything. Fresh water is just for drinking and cooking. So, I do all my washing in salt and dishes/pans don’t look any different.

I wonder though if you are using aluminum for your pots/pans/dishes, if you are, that will pit and corrode with salt. I used to use an aluminum espresso coffee percolator and within one season it was pitting and discoloring so that went back to the kitchen.


I like my gear …
sorry, but I like some of my gear and want it to last. I’m not putting my dualist pot or other items in salt water – yes it’s a choice of mine – so I’m happy with it.

Also, some items just need a very good wipe down – not a soak in the ocean.


– Last Updated: Dec-27-08 12:27 AM EST –

Only on p.net could you get ten replies to a thread devoted to 'washing dishes'!


that’s experience talking
bowrudder posted:

“Only on p.net could you get ten replies to a thread devoted to ‘washing dishes’.”

Ten? Shoot, we’ve barely got started.

The reason you get a lot of replies to a lot of questions is that, not only do you have people who have done the thing in question, you have people who done it so much and tried so many different ways that they’ve developed strong opinions on how it should be done by others.

Anodized cookware isn’t affected by salt
"sorry, but I like some of my gear and want it to last. I’m not putting my dualist pot or other items in salt water – yes it’s a choice of mine – so I’m happy with it."

The GSI Dualist is Anodized aluminum; salt water will have no effect on it whatsoever. Heck, some people recommend cleaning anodized cookware in salt water! Well, that is if the handle isn’t made out of extraordinarily cheap stainless or plain chrome plated steel. The vessle itself is invulnerable to saltwater, however.


…and if you need a little scouring powder, add a pinch of sand to the mix. Works quite well on metal, but go gently cleaning any Teflon pans and plastic plates -and a quick rinse right at the beach and voila, you’re finished! Plus, you’ve got a bit of a head start on the seasoning for your next meal… ;->

But DO rinse well… Makes life difficult if, after all’s done with the meal, you’re grinding sand in the old molars as you


-Frank in Miami

What’s available
Whatever I paddled in on is what I use to wash. Don’t usually have much more than a spoon, bowl and pan to wash.

I guess I’d call it a three stage process. First wipe or otherwise remove most of the food residue. This may involve a sand/gravel slurry if there’s anything crusted on.

Then wash with a soapy sponge. I carry this motley looking dobbie for a sponge. It’s old and ripped so that half the sponge innards are exposed, yet the nylon scubber is still there if I need it. Perfect 2-for-1 camping equipment. The final stage is rinse with scalding hot water.

I boil up some of the on-site water, fresh or salt, and laddle it sparingly onto the dishes. A little will go a long way if you catch what runs off the spoon in the bowl, then use that on the pot, and so forth. I usually end up laddling at least a double-rinse worth. Soap left on the dishes can make you sick, too, so you have to get it all off.

If there’s a bit of hot water left over, wu-who, the dishwasher can use it to wash up, a nice treat at the end of chores.

I may not wash after every meal, depending on what I’m eating and the weather. It helps being vegetarian, because most of my dishes aren’t going to go biologically nuclear if there is a bit of food residue on them for a few hours, especially if it is cool. Veggie dishes don’t get rancid as quickly as some other things will. Usually once a day I wash stuff up.

Seems to work and minimal fuss.


I also use salt water to wash and rinse
dishes. I don’t use soap of any kind unless I’m dealing with quite a bit of grease (which is rare). I have stainless steel cookware and plastic dishes. They don’t look any different now after years of use than when they were new. Of course I clean everything thoroughly in fresh water when I get home before packing it away.