Dish Soap


Apr 28, 2013
I use two bins for doing dishes(hot soapy and hot clean rinse). Probably get a third, as reading through posts I am liking the idea of the heavy soak to get the chunks off. Anyhow, I use concentrated CAMP SOAP, on acocunt of the biodegradability AND multipurpose nature, but it doesn't really do the trick to break the grease and clean the dishes, and I am left with a film. I have read through a lot of the green posts and noticed some other options, but tell me, what do you use for dish soap that will not hurt when poured around the base of a tree or plant?


Super Active Member
Jul 20, 2009
Yes we to do paper plates then throw them on the fire. But not all the time, I balance it out evenly, if we are having juicy/soupy meals then its washable plastic plates and bowls. I really like the ease of paper plates but feel guilty about the waste, so we do a bit of both.


Active Member
Nov 13, 2012
Liquid dish soap such as Dawn are a 'non ionic surfactant' and pose no harm to plants or animals. One could argue they help soils accept and retain water, but the effect would be short lived anyway. Normal amount of food grease will not make a dent either, except for bacon grease and any other food that produces enough to collect.

As boy scouts we used our bacon grease in the fire the next day.


Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
Albuquerque, NM
We got tired of struggling to clean some foods off of pans and dishes with Camp Suds at about the time I realized that it was horrible for the skin on my hands. We used REI camp soap for quite a while, which was better for my skin, not much better for washing dishes. Dawn eats my skin in no time flat, I use gloves when I use it to wash the litter boxes at home.

The last couple of years, we've been using Trader Joe's (mandarin orange) dish soap at home and camp. I end up using my nitrile gloves if I have a bunch of stuff to wash, but our meals are simple enough that I usually don't need to do so.

In most campgrounds, we empty the gray water into a campers' sink or such, so the mild TJ's soap is just fine. It has been quite a while since we've had to broadcast the dish water over an area or put it in a hole, except for backpacking.


Active Member
May 25, 2012
Some good suggestions, let me add:

I think that outdoor food is the best and to keep it top notch I prefer it on plates and eaten with silverware. Doing dishes is a small concession. Here is how I handle KP. I typically use one wash pan with standard dish soap. I rinse washed dishes over a pot or pail with hot water usually off the stove. Prior to washing I wipe the dishes, pans and pots with a paper towel to remove all food residuals. The paper towel goes in with the trash. The rinse water goes into the pee bucket or cassette toilet. I avoid tossing waste water containing food particles anywhere near the camp because it will draw critters.


I teach them how to light fires, safely.
Aug 22, 2012
I clean all food scraps off my plate. I then commence to lick my plate or bow clean like an animal. I the make sure I do the same or my children do the same with theirs. I then wipe with a wet dish rag clean and lay it out to dry before next meal. If I use soap I use dr. Bronners or Ivory


Apr 28, 2013
@Blue2 funny! [:D]
@jpaul I cook it up and prefer the dishes and silver too, the cleanup is a small price to pay.
@Yooperwannabe thanks for the clarification. I am a Dawn fan, and as long as I know its ok, I can disburse around the ground.

Paper doesnt really work for me, mostly because (gasp) we dont have a fire every night. We tend to do some fishing at dusk, and when the sun finally disappears aorund 9:30, we are pretty close to cocktail and bedtime:)

Thanks all for the product suggestions. I am going to work my way down the list! Happy camping!


Active Member
Jul 31, 2012
We use Seventh Generation dish soap and love it. I also keep a spray bottle of Mrs. Meyers all-purpose cleaner, diluted with water in the pup. It's a great alternative to Fantastik or Pine Sol. Mrs. Meyers also makes dish soap. Both brands produce great eco-friendly options IMO.


Active Member
Oct 20, 2011
We use Dr. Wood's Castile soap because you can wash skin, hair or pots & pans with it, and it's cheaper than Dr. Bronner's.
Our worst pan mess is the morning omelet. We just pour some soapy water into the pan and bring it to a simmer, which breaks down any stuck-on food. solid bits get strained into a paper towel and go into the trash.
Gray water is broadcast if we are boondocking, or dumped at the dish washing station or dump station if we are at a state park. I have no problem broadcasting soapy water, since I use the same on my garden plants as a healthy insect control.


Happy Campin'
May 21, 2010
Sutter Creek CA
Bacon grease in a soda can then trash or fire. Dawn dish soap, pre wiped with paper towels (trash or fire) I over use my double pup sink, grey water tank in sewer, or portable tote, water the vegetation where acceptable or dump station where available.

Shower, hand washing is Dove and simple shampoo. Nothing we don't use at home which is all septic tank.


Lifetime camper, newer to pup
Jun 25, 2012
Using the mild natural dishsoap has been a hand saver!! I too think that wash water will this soap can't hurt plants!


Morris County, NJ
Sep 11, 2008
Morris County, NJ
Sumoman said:
Paper plates vs washing dishes. I like the idea of throwing my plate in the fire when I am done, does anyone else do this?

It depends on the meal for us. Most of the time yes, paper plates. But we do not use plastic utensils. We use our metal utensils. We do use Dawn dish soap, cause it does cut grease very well and you really don't need that much. I do use Camp Suds when backpacking, but that stuff does not cut grease at all in my opinion! It's good for backpacking!!


Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
Albuquerque, NM
I'm going to try a natural dish soap that is the Kroger store brand. The Trader Joe's soap still worked well for us last year, but with the TT it took up extra space in our new packing configuration. If the new stuff (we bought 2 bottles on massive sale) doesn't work well, we'll refill the tall, skinny bottle with the TJ's soap.
We use the campground gray water disposal site (whatever that may be) or it goes into our sink/gray water tank.

While we now use paper plates a good portion of the time, we never have a fire so they go in with the rest of the trash. We have long been in the habit of taking our small bag of trash to the dumpster after breakfast and supper.


Loud. Fast. Real.
Apr 5, 2016
Method cleaning products are both very effective cleaners and gentle on hands and environment. Target normally has a great reasonably priced selection of them. All else fails Amazon.