Unfortunately, a part of cooking is cleaning up. Even in the woods with a basic cooking kit, proper clean-up is important to camp hygiene – especially when out for several days and using your gear over and over.
In the never-ending battle to cut pack weight and simplify your gear, packing pot cleaning scrubbers is not always on the top of the list and can be easily forgotten and ignored. Fortunately, Mother Nature provides us with several great scrubber alternatives. I’ve used each of these and I can tell you from experience that they work just as well as any store bought sponge or brillo pad for cleaning utensils, pots and pans while on the trail. I’ve even used a few to clean myself as well! So… here are some great Mother Nature Scrubbing Specials:
Mother Nature Scrubber # 1: The PINE CONE
The pine tree is an amazing resource to all bushcrafters. From food, fuel and building materials, the list of uses goes on and on. Well… add excellent Pot Scrubber to that list. Pine cones make very durable scrubbing brillos for easy clean-up after any meal. Even on stubborn burnt food, a good stout pine cone will do the trick. Choose your pine cone variety depending on the task at hand. The softer ones work great for cleaning out soup bowls and cups. The stiff ones work best on stubborn pots and pans. Soaking overnight with water always helps!
Mother Nature Scrubber # 2: SNOW
While on a recent ice fishing weekend camp, I completely forgot cleaning supplies for my cook kit. Luckily, I didn’t really use too many pots and pans – mainly cooking using sticks over the fire. I did have to clean up the flexible cutting boards that I pack with me to prepare meals on, however. A densely packed snowball was the perfect solution. It’s icy and gritty texture was all I needed to clean the cutting board surface. And, as I cleaned, the snow ball melted and provided the little bit of water I needed to finish the job. Snow can be a great scrubbing solution for simple clean-up jobs.
Mother Nature Scrubber # 3: Reindeer Moss
Reindeer Moss can be found year round in most of the country. Reindeer moss is actually a lichen. Deer actually love eating it and it really does resemble little tiny antlers. Besides being edible, a nice clump of reindeer moss makes a great little pot scrubber. It’s branchy little make-up is nearly perfect for the task. Lichens grow really slow, though, so only pick from a populated area if you must. I’ve even reused 1 clump several times over the course of a few days while at 1 camp.
Mother Nature Scrubber # 4: Dry Grass
Dried Grass can be found almost anywhere. A tightly wadded up handful of dried grass makes an incredible pot & pan scrubber. Add a little soap and you’ll never know it wasn’t store bought. You can tie a piece of cord around it and reuse it several times if you want to. Dried grass can be used in all kinds of ways. I’ve lined shelters with an insulating layer of dried grass. I’ve made make shift little brooms. I use it for tinder bundles all the time. And now, I can add Pot Scrubber to the list.
Mother Nature provides us with so much when it comes to being self sufficient in the woods. From food to shelter to pot scrubbers. You just have to know where to look.
Hope you’ve found this useful.