Clean Camping

Summer is here, schools are letting out. Time for some family fun and for many Americans, that means camping. Mothers everywhere cringe at all the dirt and grime and germs associated with outdoor living, even if just for one night. I’m one of those mothers and I’ll share with you how I’ve combated the icks and yucks my three sons seem to gravitate to.

Go clean. My sons are required to shower or bathe within 12 hours of departure. This may seem like common sense, but I was surprised at how many kiddos hit the campground filthy. If your kids are clean when you go, they’ll be less dirty when they come back.

Cook clean. Bar-be-que sauce is a one of the top violators of cleanliness. Leave sauces off food, use dry rubs on meat and season veggies with some salt mixed with cumin, black pepper and dry oregano. Make skewered food, prepared ahead of time. The fewer plates and utensils you need, the fewer ways to get dirty.

Wash and wash again. If you bring gallons upon gallons of water with you, wash hands often. If you don’t bring much more than drinking water, pack along some Wet Ones. They are similar to baby wipes but also contain an anti-bacterial solution, to kill those pesky germs.

Zip it up. Tents should always be kept closed to keep out bugs and dirt. Most tents are equipped with screens that can be left closed while you air out the tent by unzipping the door or window. Keeping dirt out will remind your family what clean feels like when you and your kids climb into sleeping bags at night.

Air it out. Remove all foods and clothing from campers and tents. Then, for at least 1 hour before packing up camp, let your camper and/or tent air out by opening all windows and doors (keep those screens closed, though).

Bag it. Make sure you bring plenty of trash bags with you. In addition to waste, you can pack all of those stinky clothes and dishes in them before you head home. Deliver the bags to their destination (trash can, laundry room, kitchen) as soon as you get home. Otherwise, you’ll make your vehicle into a huge Petri dish.

Shower straight away. Everyone should take turns showering and changing into clean clothes as soon as you get home. In addition to cleaning off the surface dirt, the camping germs will go down the drain and take funky smells with them.

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