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5 Tips for Easy Camp Meal Cleanup

Nobody likes to clean the dishes at home let alone on a campout.  Let me show you 5 fast and easy ways to minimize and nearly eliminate the cleanup chore after cooking one of your gourmet outdoor meals that I gave you a recipe for.

Most campsites you will go to have water, toilets, showers and trash facilities.  In fact, some very nice ones I’ve been to even have a sink for washing pots and pans after cooking!  But those are pretty rare.  So, let’s assume that most of the campsites you will visit have running water, toilets and trash dumpsters.  So, you will have to bring the water to the kitchen area to cook and cleanup.

Whether you cook on a stove, BBQ, or open fire, the number one TIP is to put on a pot of water while you are cooking.  Why?  So, you have hot water to cleanup with after you finish eating.  The Scouts taught me to use three wash pots. 1) a hot-water pot with biodegradable soap, 2) a hot-water rinse pot and, 3) a cold water rinse pot with bleach.  Over the years I’ve shortened it to two pots; 1) a hot-water wash pot with a couple of drops of bio soap and, 2) a cold water rinse with a capful of bleach to kill bacteria.

I have a Cleanup Kit, much like my Cook Kit that has the washbasins, soap, scrubber, paper towels, hand towels and bleach in it.  Here’s a couple of pictures of it:

Cleanup Kit Clean Up Kit (inside view)

I use an old meshed milk carton, but any container will do.  I like to keep it all in one place, so I know where everything is when I need it.  You can see from the picture that I also have some toilet paper.  Can never have enough of that! ☺

I also put my leather gloves, tongs and handle for my Dutch Oven in this Kit, along with other odds and ends that I might need.

Leftovers from your meal should be quickly disposed of in a plastic bag and thrown in the camp dumpster so that if doesn’t attract bugs or critters.  If you don’t have disposal at your campsite you can burn food scraps in a hot fire, a little at a time.  NEVER bury leftover food or scatter it in the woods, since it will attract animals. 

5 Tips for Easy Meal Cleanup

1.    Heat a pot of water on the stove or fire while you are cooking a meal.

2.    Create a Cleanup Kit to store all the essentials for cleanup, so you have it all in one place and it’s easy to access.

3.    Cleanup immediately after eating.  Don’t let food get hard in the pots and pans.  I soak the frying pan I just used to cook with in some hot water while I eat.

4.    Before cooking over a wood fire wipe biodegradable soap on the outside of the pots and pans.  Soot from the fire will wash right off!

5.    Use my foil dinner recipes in the last section - "Camping Meals without Pots and Pans!"


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