Jump to content

dishwashing station

Recommended Posts

Our cub scout pack does a great job with cooking on our campouts, but our clean-up could be a lot more efficient and streamlined. At campsites that don't have kitchen sinks or clean-up areas, most times we're washing and rinsing dishes with a hose. This is awkward, your feet and pants get wet, and the water is not hot. Anyone out there have experience in constructing a portable, collapsible, dishwashing station with PVC pipes or some other material? Something that, for example, would house rubber dishpans or larger Rubbermaid tubs?

Link to post
Share on other sites

In order to go camping, your Cub Scout Pack should have a person who is BALOO trained. Part of that training is camp sanitation. Washing & rinsing dishes with a hose (cold water?!) is never an option. You are going to get someone in your Pack very sick doing dishes this way.


You should be using the 2 or 3 pot method for dish washing. Hot water should be used in all pots. The first pot should contain a small amount of biodegradable soap for washing. The second pot should contain a small amount of liquid bleach or a sanitizing agent to kill germs. The third pot can be a rinse pot and can be used either before or after pot #2. All dishes should be air dryed on a clean cloth or hung in their dunk bags. Never dry dishes with a towel.


All dish water should be strained with food bits packed up separately to be either disposed of properly in an approved garbage container or taken home. The water should then disposed of either in an approved drainage area or scattered over a large area at least 200 ft from all trails, tents, camp areas, or water sources.


Most camp areas have picnic tables that can be used for this. You could also bring a sturdy plastic table from home. If you want to build something out of PVC, here is a site with directions for a number of camp tables :





Link to post
Share on other sites

Hose should not be used!

nor do you need to construct a station. Depending on the numbers involved...(do you need one two or three stations?) The easiest solution is three large (or small) dish pans from the dollar store or walmart etc...and a plastic table is nice but you could build a saw horse table if cash is a problem.

HOT water is best.

start by having everyone whipe out their dishes and pans with a rag or paper towels...dishes should look nearly clean before they go in your first soapy wash tub. Second tub is hot rinse water (bleach is optional or no needed depending on third pan) third pot is the charm... on some of our camps we use boiling water and plyers or 'dunk bags' on some we use bleach added to the third pan and probably best choise, if the cubs are doing some of the washing, is to use sanitizing tabs...3 to a pack from BSA for about $2.25+/-. These tablets disolve in the last pan you soak you pots and dishes in this solution and allow the dishware to AIR DRY...no 'bleach spills and/or spots on Cub uniforms and clothing.


gray water (left over dish water) should be handled correctly depending on the camp requirements... broadcast, poured in a 'filtered sump' or disposed in a sewer hook up at the camp or park...but never put in the latrines or outhouses.


Bleach does work however, for the last three years at Sea Base we have used bleach in cold, dirty seawater and no one has gotten sick yet!


If you really want to spend money several suppliers have prebuilt 'kitchens' with wash stations that can be used or copied....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take Boy Scout Outdoor Leader training and the use of three wash basins will be burned permanently into your brain.


I will send you a personal message (send private message) of a Word file that has the plans for a simple (Webelos could assemble it) pioneering project which is a wash basin (3) stand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen several versions of the 3-bucket method of washing cooking/eating ware. Most seem to flip-flop the 2nd and 3rd stage.


I'm not sure what BSA's official method is, but...


From what I can gather searching the web, and also based on my own common sense about the killing power of chlorine and the possibility of re-contaminating sanitized utensils, here is what I think is the proper methodology:


1. Scrape dishes into waste container so they "look" clean

Wash cleanest to dirtiest

2. Wash in warm soapy water

3. Rinse in hot water (>=110F, hot to the hand, not scalding)

4. Soak in cool (75F) bleach/water solution for 2 minutes

1 tbs bleach per gallon water

3 tbs bleach for porous surfaces like wood

Too cold, chlorine won't sanitize

Too hot, chlorine converts to gasious state & leaves bucket

5. Air dry (in nylon mesh bag) - do not use dishtowel - or place on sanitized (wiped with sanitizing solution left on for 2 minutes) plastic surface.

6. Clean tubs backwards. Rinse soapy water tub with rinse water. Swirl each tub with chlorine solution and let air dry.

7. If no specific graywater dump facility, spread dishwater at least 75 steps from camp, lake, or stream, screening for solids.


The most likely breakdowns are (1) inadequate sanitation soak time, and (2) recontamination of utensils during drying/handling/packing.


It is critical that the utensils soak for the 2 minutes since even chlorine takes time to disinfect. I've read recommendations from 45 seconds to 3 minutes. Two minutes seems most common though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to those of you who replied. As a former Girl Scout, I am used to doing things differently than the Cub Scouts, and I live by the motto "Be Prepared" when it comes to camping. I knew there had to be a better way.

Keep the suggestions coming!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...