VANLIFE TIPS: How To Do Dishes In A Van

Updated: Mar 25, 2020


When I first started vanlife this is one of the first daily challenges I came across, HOW DO I DO MY DISHES WITH LIMITIED WATER AND A TINY SINK??

At first I mostly resorted to bringing my dishes to my friends' houses, or using public washrooms, but eventually I got tired of hauling all my things back and forth (and also sometimes getting weird looks).

There's got to be a better way. So after some months of trial and error, I've figured out these tips and tricks that made my this daily chore much more manageable.


I've learned that it is much easier to do my dishes while I'm cooking and right after I eat, before everything gets dry, crusty, and stuck. For example, chop everything first, and while it's cooking I'll clean the knife and cutting board, while my food is cooking down clean the pot I cooked in, so by the time I'm done my meal I only really have the dish I ate with and one utensil to wash. I also only keep 1-2 of each item, so I need to wash them before having my next meal, saves me space and keeps me on top of my cleaning.


It goes without saying, the less dishes I need to do the better. So I'll do things like air chop (cut without a cutting board when possible, stir with the fork/spoon that I plan on easing with, and eat out of the pan if I can to save a bowl/plate.