Doing the dishes

Food topics, including recipes.

Doing the dishes

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 7:02 am

AKA washing up.

What methods do people use?

I've seen a variety and have often wondered what the most hygenic/efficient method is. And if it really matters..how much risk is there..?

Methods I've seen

- the classic warm water, bio detergent and dish cloth
(Seems like a good one but I've wondered just how filthy/bacteria laden that dish cloth is by day 4+)

- hand and dirt rub followed by water rinse. Next use is for morning coffee where the pot/spoon gets sanitised by the boiling water. This is the method I use and works well especially if you use your pot as your plate/cup. It can be a bit water intensive though to get the dirt off.. as your hands also need to be cleaned of dirt afterwards. Method may be a bit questionable if you're in manure country :lol:

- lick clean with tongue... Hmm.. not sure if that one would pass the food safety inspector.. but is it really that dangerous?
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby wander » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 11:16 am

1/2 cup of water and 1/8 bit of green scourer. Start with the cleanest dish and work thru passing water as you go.

Wipe each dish out with a couple sheets of clean toilet paper. Into rubbish bag or toilet hole if appropriate

1 scourer bit per meal and into the rubbish bag after use.

Pour final very dirty water out as far from camp and water direct run-off / courses as possible, consider a small hole.

A system developed during many Flinders wanders where we are carrying all the water for multi day trips and therefore need to be very conservative with water. We have carried the system over to all our wandering & ski touring. If you have to, consider adding the very dirty water to the poo tube in some circumstances.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby north-north-west » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 11:22 am

I walk alone. On the very very rare occasions I've done overnighters with others, I cook my own food and they cook theirs. There is no exchange of potential contaminants.
Eat out of the pot, wipe it clean with fingers. Repeat until back home and then wash. If the pot gets really grungy, I'll scour it with sand/dirt and rinse.
Probably does wonders for the immune system even if it does sound a bit gross.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 11:27 am

Good topic. I only heat water and cook homemade dehydes in my pot. I clean with water and fingers and drink leftovers. Repeat until shiny clean. Good drills when water is scarce.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby warnesy » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 12:46 pm

I’ve always been a scoured and detergent guy. Hot water and then get to work.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby ribuck » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 7:00 pm

In my experience scouring with creek water and Blue Mountains (i.e. sandstone) creek sand cleans the billy better and faster than any kind of detergent, and doesn't need hot water.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Tortoise » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 7:29 pm

Heremeahappy1 wrote:Good topic. I only heat water and cook homemade dehydes in my pot. I clean with water and fingers and drink leftovers. Repeat until shiny clean. Good drills when water is scarce.

+1, including the drink. Except I take a small rectangle of orange bag plastic mesh that scours well if I need it. Shake clean and dry. No more scungey bits of damp scourer.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby andrewa » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 9:29 pm

Hand and dirt rinse works fine for me. Maybe detergent if it’s greasy and you want to get rid of grease. Dry on your tshirt or shorts.

Sadly, I should be preaching absolute sterility, as I’m a doctor....but I find my method works for me, even on longer trips.

A lovely saying is “ dilution is the solution to pollution”, which extends to:

- rinse wounds well with whatever water you have , to reduce the risk of subsequent infection....it doesn’t need to be sterile water, just lots of it.
- urinary tract/ gut infections - drink lots.


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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Neo » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 11:14 pm

I have a tiny nalgene bottle of whatever liquid soap was in use, doesn't have to be dish liquid.

If fingers aren't enough then a small piece of scourer.

I've got by like that for a few years bushwalking and more often car camping in between. If by car then a dish brush.
Hygiene is important but not as fussy as we may think.
I wouldn't bother using dirt or sand, have heard ash from the fire works wel plus is sterilised...

I wouldn't drink the dish water myself!
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby bluewombat » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 6:11 am

I cut a 3 cm square from one of the double sided scourers, which have scour one side and foam the other side (weight about 5 gms). Before the trip I put a good glug of dishwashing liquid on that piece and tuck it into a zip lock. For the most part I use boiling water to rinse cups and utensils and then that water gets poured into plates (if I am using them, I often just eat out of the freeze dry bag or my cup) to rinse and finally hot water goes into any cooking pot. I use the scourer on cooking pot if needed. The logic here is that hot water is likely to reduce bacterial load in most things via dilution and heat, particularly if washing up is done promptly after eating. If there is contamination of scourer (unlikely given the water heat) then the heat used to cook something in the pot next time is anti-bacterial. The flaw in this process is that some bacteria produce thermally resistant toxins however doing the dishes promptly and using dilution minimises this risk. My final strategy is always to rinse my cup and mouth with cask strength malt whiskey before bed.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Tortoise » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 11:36 am

Neo wrote:I have a tiny nalgene bottle of whatever liquid soap was in use, doesn't have to be dish liquid.

If fingers aren't enough then a small piece of scourer.

I've got by like that for a few years bushwalking and more often car camping in between. If by car then a dish brush.
Hygiene is important but not as fussy as we may think.
I wouldn't bother using dirt or sand, have heard ash from the fire works wel plus is sterilised...

I wouldn't drink the dish water myself!

Just to clarify - I don't use soap! :shock: No water wasted, no bits of food scattered near our campsite, just a nice drink of water with a few left-overs in the same mouthful. I used to hate washing up when my body had switched off for the day. Now I don't have to do it. :D
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Neo » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 5:02 pm

A customised cuppa-soup. I do understand.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby commando » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 10:39 pm

For me its rinse and flick, just don't take instant mashed potato.
Soap has no place out there polluting rivers and creeks.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 2:14 pm

Seems most of us like to give our pots a reasonable clean but we are not obsessive about it nor do it to a level we would clean at home.

I've always thought the body especially the digestive system can take a fair amount of nasties before it gets sick.

And anecdotally it seems that pots and utensils (and fingers) play a minor part as a source of contamination.

It's whats in the food (or water) that seems to be be the bigger risk factor. I have no science to back that up though..

Interesting to read on the efficiency and water conservation of various methods. I was intially thinking there is no way I'm drinking my washing up water..but then I remember I often have a tea with a few debris from the main meal remaining so it's likely the same thing! :lol:
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Eremophila » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 2:54 pm

I use a Jetboil so rarely cook in the pot. If using my (Tupperware) bowl, I might wipe it out with a tiny bit of tissue/bog roll then use hot water very sparingly with a small piece of scourer/sponge that I cut down from a larger one. Same for any utensils. The freeze-dried meals to tend to leave lots of fatty residue behind.

I see the sense in drinking the rinse water and not wasting it, but it just doesn't appeal.....
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby flingebunt » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 6:40 pm

So my approach is to use a scourer cut down to hiking size.

I don't use any detergent as my aim is to remove bits stick to the bowl or pot. What is left on the bowl or pot is usually a bit of oil, which, unless you are cooking with butter, will not go off. It is actually common for people to season their woks at home in southern Asia this way. Basically never wash the wok with soap and you get a non-stick layer of oil on the wok. Works for pots as well.

The real trick is what and how you cook. There is not much to wash if you boil in your pot and add hot water to your sachet.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 19 Jan, 2021 7:47 am

No scourer. No cloth. They would just be disgusting after the first wash up.
No detergent. No soap. They are bad for the environment and a waste of weight and space in my pack.

I do cook a variety of real food ... but my walking is all in Tasmania, and there is usually plenty of water to use.

So my washing up is usually with cold creek/lake water with my fingers (disposing of the dirty water away from the creek/lake). Sometimes I'll use my finger nails as a scourer (yes, I am that disgusting).

Sometimes I'll use vegetation as a scourer if there is suitable non-threatened vegetation in a location where there are not a lot of visitors and using a small bit is unlikely to cause any harm. Coral fern is brilliant for this. I'm sure some people will tell me that I'm an environmental terrorist for this.

When I cook greasy meals (sometimes I fry in butter), I will boil water in the dirty pot, as no amount of scrubbing with cold water will remove the grease. Again, dispose of away from water ways.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby stry » Tue 19 Jan, 2021 1:31 pm

north-north-west wrote:I walk alone. On the very very rare occasions I've done overnighters with others, I cook my own food and they cook theirs. There is no exchange of potential contaminants.
Eat out of the pot, wipe it clean with fingers. Repeat until back home and then wash. If the pot gets really grungy, I'll scour it with sand/dirt and rinse.
Probably does wonders for the immune system even if it does sound a bit gross.


Ditto, with the additional finishing touch of boiling a cup of water in the pot with whatever is left, and making my apres dinner beverage(s) with the result.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 29 Jan, 2021 6:41 am

I think that I have used all of the methods touched on in the previous posts at one time or another but I am particular about sanitation and unless water is in very short supply I do bring my pot to the boil with a small amount of water in it and use that very hot water to then rinse out my cup, spoon and bowl. I also use a lot ot toilet paper for drying them before putting them away. I used to use a cloth ditty bag for my bowl and cup but no longer bother too much or use a few old bread bags to try and keep them clean between uses
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 01 Feb, 2021 5:03 pm

In day to day life I am a bit over the top with hygiene and even amongst my peers (we are healthcare workers for crying out loud!) it is a running workplace joke to rip off my obsession with keeping my hands, surfaces, high touch items clean.
Now when I go walking, I am a deadset grot. My pot could probably be classified as a biohazard by the end of a trip.
I use my finger to clean and then may use shorts, shirt, buff, whatever to dry it if need be. Usually ends up with scungy bits stuck to it still.
I am trying to just rehydrate things and use the pot only for coffee more and more, which will decrease my exposure to filth I am sure.
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Re: Doing the dishes

Postby wayno » Wed 03 Feb, 2021 5:09 pm

dont let biodegradeable detergent into any water course , pond or lake... its never biodegradeable enough to not have an effect on the environment... the flora and fauna..
from the land of the long white clouds...
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