How To Clean Dishes in the Wilderness

Maintaining clean pots and pans in the wilderness is a very important element in surviving in the natural environment.  It is important to know the right way to go about maintaining hygiene in an otherwise bacteria-laden environment.  Problems with dirty pots and pans could go from bad to worse in a very short amount of time if the necessary precautions are not taken.

Cleaning dishes in the wilderness takes three things: a handkerchief, a large bottle of water, and some antibacterial soap.  Antibacterial soap is very useful in maintaining hygiene when there is no running water available.  If a pot that contained meat has been sitting around overnight, for example, the antibacterial soap can kill any bacteria in the pan which originated from the meat.  Be aware that it is not desirable to ingest antibacterial soap, as the bacteria inside of your body are needed for food digestion amongst other things.  Also, please note that the bacteria that live on your skin which destroy other, more harmful bacteria can be also killed by the antibacterial soap.  It is therefore important not to bathe with it.

The handkerchief is used to wipe and scrub the pan after the pan has been emptied. If you begin wiping the pan immediately after use, cleaning dishes with a handkerchief is easy.  After the dishes are cleaned, you can rinse out the handkerchief and tie it to your backpack to dry.  Bring several old handkerchiefs along with you on your hiking trip so you will have plenty of extras.  A handkerchief is one of the best survival tools there is, along with the aforementioned soap and water. A handkerchief also makes a good sweat rag for those long hiking sessions.

Having clean dishes is not hard if you take the right steps.  Knowing how to clean dishes in the wilderness is just another way to help you prepare.  When you are prepared, you are ready for most situations.  Maintaining clean dishes eliminates many undesirable bacteria, especially in the wilderness.  No bugs, germs or infectious bacteria can make their way into your system.  Keep a solution of soap and water nearby.  After the initial wipedown, just dip the handkerchief into the soapy water, then clean, scrub, and rinse; that's really all there is to it.   Remember also that it takes thirty seconds for the antibacterial soap to kill all of the bacteria, so give it a chance to work.


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