Hot water and a little elbow grease can tackle most backcountry cleaning chores. Soap is unnecessary for most dishwashing jobs and can be difficult to rinse thoroughly. Remove all food bits from the water before disposing of it (a small strainer is a good tool for this), and pack these particles out with excess food and other litter. Waste water should be scattered over a wide area, away from camps and all water sources.
If bathing with soap is necessary, use it sparingly. Get wet, lather up and rinse on land far from water sources (200′), with water carried in a collapsible container or pots. This procedure allows the soap to filter through the soil, helping it break down before reaching any body of water. Clothes can be cleaned by thorough rinsing with plain water. Wash undergarments away from water sources.
Many ponds or brooks serve as immediate water sources for designated campsites, shelters and huts, or may be storage reservoirs for nearby towns and residents. In these waters, swimming is often rightly prohibited. Respect these water sources by taking only what you need for drinking and cooking.