You don’t get to have filthy hands even while you’re camping, not unless you want to hike all day back to your car while suffering from the norovirus.
Pro tip: you don’t want that.
Instead, make this DIY handwashing station that is so easy to assemble, a child can–and did!–do it. If you’re not much of a camper, you can use this exact same handwashing station in the garden, or even by the back door, so that muddy hands NEVER make it into your house.
You will need:
empty plastic gallon jug. A gallon jug of water is the easiest to use, since you won’t have to wash it.
ripped tights. You’ll need one intact leg, with no holes so large that a piece of soap could fall out.
carabiner and rope (optional). You can get by without hanging your handwashing station, but it’ll be a lot easier to operate when hung from a nearby tree limb.
twine. Yarn or other narrow cording are acceptable substitutes.
golf tee. Feel free to look for substitutes for this, because not everyone has a golf tee at hand. You’re looking for a peg with a tapered end, sturdy enough not to snap and solid enough to serve as a drain stopper.
1. Poke a small hole in the bottom of the plastic jug. Poke it near the edge, on the side opposite the handle. Push the golf tee into the hole–it should fit snugly, ideally no more than halfway up the tee. Over time and many uses, the hole will naturally widen, but the golf tee should fit it for a very long time. When you’re out camping and you finally see that you’re pushing the golf tee all the way in to fit, make a mental note that upon your return, you need to make yourself a new handwashing station.
2. Tie a length of twine between the golf tee and the jug handle. This is so you don’t lose the tee while you’re washing your hands. You might want to secure the twine to the tee with glue.
3. Attach the soap. Cut off one leg of the tights. Push a bar of soap down to the foot, then tie the open end of the tights around the jug’s handle. The soap should dangle down past the jug, giving you enough room to soap up your hands at the handwashing station.
4. Attach a carabiner or piece of rope. This handwashing station will work when sat at the edge of a table, but it’s best used when tied by the handle to hang from a tree limb. Attach a carabiner to the handle, and loop on a long piece of rope that you can toss over a tree limb at your campsite.
To use the handwashing station, fill it with water and either set it on the edge of a table, with the golf tee hanging over, or tie it by the handle to hang from a tree limb. Pull the tee to wet your hands:
Put the tee back in and soap your hands:
Pull the tee again to rinse. Rinsing your hands does take a little while, so if that bothers you feel free to experiment with a larger hole and stopper, although I personally would find refilling the handwashing station after every use far more annoying than I do rubbing my hands vigorously under a narrow stream of water.
Either way, no norovirus for you!
P.S. Looking for even more camping hacks? Here you go!