Camping is a great adventure, but it can also involve a lot of work! One task that is a bit tougher in a tent is washing dishes while camping.
That is, it can be difficult to know how and where to dispose of the dishwater that you use to clean up after a meal without impacting the environment.
There are some basic rules of thumb related to the public disposal of ‘grey water’— the water that remains from bathing, cooking, washing, and laundering — that will not pose a hazard to the environment.
Wondering how to dispose of dishwater when camping?
How to Dispose of Dishwater when Camping
First, spread the water wide — the further the better — which will decrease the impact on one specific area if there are any detergents in the waste. Secondly, if your site or facility has a disposal area for grey water, use it! Remember to first strain the dishwater before you dispose of it.
Camping and Grey Water
When you wash dishes, the water that remains is considered grey water. This is less hazardous to handle than black water but still requires careful disposal to prevent negative impacts on the environment and ecosystem.
Typically, campgrounds and campsites offer some place to dispose of grey water but if not, you can strain any debris and disseminate the water far and wide.
By sprinkling and spreading the grey water over a larger area, you reduce any impacts of the detergents and contaminants that are in the dishwater in a way that won’t have to leave a lasting carbon footprint behind.
Speaking of detergent, try to find products that are environmentally friendly and that are biodegradable. Also, never disseminate or dispose of your dishwater near another water source, like a stream or lake.
This is a quick way to pollute and contaminate the water source — even when you use products marketed as eco-friendly.
When washing dishes at camp, boil the water that you use to wash first. This will help to treat the water and make it safer for use and disposal.
When using untreated water, it is important to heat to a temperature of over 150 degrees Fahrenheit to help sanitize the water.
Never dispose of household chemicals or hazardous waste, except at designated wastewater and hazardous chemical disposal site.
Many waste treatment and recycling centers offer these services to consumers that are camping, live off-grid, or that are looking for a responsible way to dispose of these things.
Never pour these items down any drain as they can quickly and easily contaminate local water sources without you even realizing that you did anything wrong!
Remember that everything that goes into the ground or water can eventually spread and pollute widely — be responsible and dispose of dishwater properly.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Dispose of Dishwater When Camping
What do you do with dishwater in a campground?
First, ask if there is a designated disposal spot for grey water at the site you are camping, which is what dishwater is considered. If not, spread the dishwater across a large area to reduce any lasting effects. Also, make sure that you strain the dishwater before spreading it around.
What will I do with dirty dishes while camping?
Strain the dishwater after washing and then disseminate the dishwater over a large area, but not within 200 feet of any water source. Try to use biodegradable detergents if possible. Look for dish soap that is specifically designed for camping.
How best can I dispose of grey water?
Since grey water contains far fewer pathogens than black water and other waste products, it can be disposed of by disseminating the water over a large space so that any detergents or contaminants have less of an impact. Ensure you’re at least 200 feet away from any water sources or you risk polluting them.
What is grey water?
Grey water is the water that remains after bathing, washing, laundering, and other cleaning-related tasks. Grey water comes from the tub and sinks of the home, as well as from washing machines and dishwashers.
Can you wash dishes with untreated water?
You should wash dishes with treated water unless the water reaches a temperature higher than 150 degrees F, which is hot enough to sanitize the dishes and the water. Conventional dishwashing machines reach these high temperatures during the rinse cycle typically.
What’s the best way of disposing your dirty water?
Dispose of grey or black water at designated disposal stations or hazardous waste facilities. Never pour hazardous chemicals down your drains or toilet.
Can you use Dawn dish soap while camping?
Dawn dish soap is fine to use when camping, but make sure to dispose of the grey water properly. Did you know that even soaps advertised as biodegradable can still negatively affect the environment? Dispose of the dishwater that reduces its impact on the ecosystem.
How do you dispose of grey water when you are camping?
If you are staying at a campground, first check to see if they have a designated disposal spot for dishwater — use it!
If not, strain your grey water and spread it far and wide to reduce the impact and footprint left behind.