How to wash up the dishes in forest and field?

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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,627
589
Berlin
So, the weather is slowly becoming very nice, hundreds and thousands of British bushcraft greenhorns are surching in attics, caves and sheds for blankets, pots and rusty knives to get started with bushcraft.

It's the right time to discuss here the most important question of our bushcraft live:

How to wash up the dishes in forest and field?
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Without water:
1: Scrape it clean with spoon
2: Scrape it clean with finger
3: Use fresh leaves, several sets

With water brought with you:
1: Scrape it clean with spoon
2: Scrape it clean with finger
3: Use several sets of fresh leaves
4: pour some water in, use fresh leaves.

If close to a stream, lake, sea
1-3 as above
4: Dip in water, use mud or sand to clean, using fresh leaves.
5: New water, rinse.

The spoon I just do in a similar way.

Lick clean, leaves ( water).

Fork I have never carried, make my 'Organic, Faitrade, Wild' one at each meal.!
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,585
1,568
McBride, BC
We used boiled lake/river water and sand with a stick if a pan had tough crud in it
which didn't compliment the next meal. Do a 110% job to rinse out the sand.
I don't recall ever using city dish-washing soapy stuff = it fouls the fish water.

Be careful with native references. Flint is a better knife edge than anything created since then.
They are and were a dang sight smarter as Neolithic survivors than 99.9% of moderns.

Hard to cook soup on a fork. Enter the cook-all pots. One is for only hot water.
Learn your wood and leaves so you don't foul your food with anything toxic THAT is bushcraft.

I'd like to try cooking meaty things on thin slabs of slate. Flip it over and burn off any grease.
Finally, I live where there are many useful surface deposits of slate/thin flat stone to play with.
I have lots of plate-sized pieces that I could clean off in a fire. No scrubbing!
 
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Wayland

Hárbarðr
If you have a fire add some ash and water to your pan.

Ash + water = alkali + gritty silica

alkali + fat = soap

soap + gritty silica + slight scrub = clean pan.

when you have washed the pan pour the water into the fireplace, this area has already been affected by the alkali.

Rinse with water and again pour it into the fireplace.

On the next rinse you can pour the water away elsewhere but not into the water source.

All too often I have seen people washing pans directly in streams or lakes only to pour the dirty water back into the clean source.

Always throw the water well back onto the land, this way the ground can filter out the organic materials, reducing contamination of your source water.

For a final rinse use clean drinking water or boil the water in the pan.
 

ChrisAsh

Member
Apr 19, 2019
26
6
Cheshire
I tend to use boiled water, however have been known to use the leaves of the sweet chestnut, or silver birch (I'm terrible with Latin names) because of the contents of saponins.


Sent from my G3311 using Tapatalk
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Another oldfashioned way is to place the food in a plastic bag that fits the pan, add water to the pan, so you do not chance burning the plastic ( just a precaution, this should not ever happen), when warm lift out, eat then poke the plastic bag into the ground.

If you enjoy a can of beer or soda, just throw the empty can under a bush, after you crushed it with one hand.
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,627
589
Berlin
You can feed the fishes in Lapland, Janne, but I don't want your noodles in the hair should you ever come to Brandenburgs lakes!

We usually reach the lakes mainly there, where other people want to swim a day later.

So the first rinsing water in Germany has to go in between the next bushes, where the pasta can compost in a few days.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
That was the job for the wenches. In those days, a true mystery for a man how that was done.

In pre-civilized Sweden people made their own soap. If you were so poor you could not spare any fat for this ( had to eat it) they used fine sand and bunches of Birch twigs to scrub.

Thin Birch twigs to scrub the house pot, thick Birch twigs for the cleansing in the sauna!

The English were more civilized than the Swedes 200 years ago, and I suspect they could buy ready made soap?
The Welsh, Irish and Scots - ?

Joking aside, 200 years ago most households owned one, maybe two pots. One for the gruel/porridge, one for the casseroles/soups/potages.
Never went empty, were just topped up and boiled.

A bit like the Mexican Mole.
 
So, the weather is slowly becoming very nice, hundreds and thousands of British bushcraft greenhorns are surching in attics, caves and sheds for blankets, pots and rusty knives to get started with bushcraft.

It's the right time to discuss here the most important question of our bushcraft live:

How to wash up the dishes in forest and field?
I usually use water, ashes from my camp fire & my hands. Sand works well, but I prefer not to use sand to clean my tin lined brass trade kettle. The outside I don't worry about because I carry/keep it in a cloth bag inside my knapsack.

Keith.
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,627
589
Berlin
Yes, outside doesn't matter. Usually it burns away after a couple of days.

By the way, dear greenhorns, the non stick plastic stuff you can't clean with sand without destroying the plastic.

That's a stupid Idea in my opinion, made for the touristic camping ground.

Pure Aluminium, stainless steel or titanium are the far better choice.
 
Last edited:

Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,802
1,899
62
Exmoor
I'm a heathen! I use a small travel bottle filled with ecco dish soap and a home made Cotton dish cloth. Not very authentically bushcrafty but I do like clean pots and plates. I use the biggest pot as a basin/washing up bowl. Water is fed to nearby bushes or if negligable food bits I will use it around the fire pit area to keep it damp and mitigate fire risk.
I use enamel cups and plates so they can take a sand and leaf scour if realy needed or i forget the dish soap as has happened more than once.