What camping taught me about washing the dishes

Big Sur camping

A dishwashing hack inspired by the great outdoors.

After a two month camping trip through the drought-stricken western US, where I saw firsthand how desperately low the water reservoirs had become, I became something of a dishwashing guru.

We made almost all our meals on that trip in a cast iron pan or a pot over a portable gas stove, and washed our dishes under headlamps in tiny, awkward little sinks. Sometimes we’d have to clean up by squatting beside an outdoor tap overtop a small mud pit.

It was here I learned to wash the dishes with extremely little water. The secret is to use an extra vessel to hold the suds so you can scrub everything with the same water before rinsing with fresh. The vessel could be a camp sink, one of your larger pots, etc.

Back at home, a double sink is an ideal setup for this – a smaller sink can hold the soapy water.

But we don’t always get perfectly formed double sinks in our small, rental apartments, now do we?

If you are among the sink-challenged, I offer you this suggestion:

Your slow cooker insert makes a great second sink.

Just another reason to love your crockpot.

(You’re welcome.)

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