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Clean your dishes easily and without soap

Clean up as soon as you can after your meal. Food dries, hardens and eventually sticks to the pot making your job harder.. If you waste no time cleaning up after you finish dining, it will be much easier on you and the land around you. Although there are some fine environmentall friendly soaps out there if you feel you need it, washing dishes in the backcountry does not require soap at all. If you must use dish soap, please make sure it is biodegradable. The Leave No Trace system for dish washing involves only hot water and a sponge.

After eating, put some water in your dirty pot. Light your stove, putting the pot on the stove and heating the water until it is hot. Do not get it boiling or scalding to touch. Get it hot like you are washing dishes. Remove the pot from the stove and scrub it with a sponge, gravel or sand, until all of the remaining solid food is removed. You can wash your dishes and utensils in this same water.

Follwing the washing, dispose of your "gray water" by either straining or drinking.

The Straining method suggests you pour the gray water through a bandana, a coffee filter, or anything you can to catch all the food pieces. Pack out these remaining scraps with your garbage. The remaining water should then be spread around the bushes or landscape well away from your camp and at least 200 feet from water. You also may consider digging a hold to dump the water and avoid attracting wildlife, especially if you staying more than one night.

The other method is drinking your remaining food waste, sort of like a soup. It is clean water with some of the food you just ate, right? It may not sound that great, depending on what your meal was, but it saves you the hassle of carrying or dealing with old food or a dirty strainer. And it is the absolute least wasteful method.



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