No Soap - Charred Camp Cookware Cleaning in the Field

No Soap - Charred Camp Cookware Cleaning in the Field

Cooking over an open fire is awesome... until you have to clean the charred mess off of your pots and pans! But have no fear! I’m going to show you a simple way to get the shine back on your metal cookware - in the field without soap, steel wool or chemicals.  

Here’s What You’ll Need: You’ll need a thick rag or a heavy-duty scrubbing pad... I like a pad better since it will hold up much better in the field. But either will work. How to clean charred pots You’ll also need some water.  A charred metal vessel to clean,  And our secret weapon... ashes taken from our fire pit and cooled off.  NOW... Before you start, make sure your cup, canteen, or pan are cool. Oh, yeah... I also recommend that you wear gloves when you do this since ashes can irritate your skin.  

Wet Rag or Pad - Now simply wet your rag or scrubbing pad with water and ring it out pretty good... leaving it just moist enough to pick up the cooled ashes.  

Start Scrubbing - Now begin rubbing the ash compound on the outside of your container with your applicator. How to clean charred pots You should quickly see the baked-on char begin to breakdown. Continue this process, occasionally rinsing your applicator and vessel as you go until the bulk of the char and ash is gone.

How It Works - The ash acts as a mild abrasive and also chemically breaks down the char... which is pretty cool. If this doesn’t seem to be working, your rag or scrubber may be too wet. Once you are satisfied, make sure you rinse and dry your vessel.  

Bonus Tip - If you are a perfectionist like me, here’s a little trick to polish things up even more and remove remaining stains when you get home: Grab a tube of Flitz. Flitz is a metal, plastic and fiberglass polish paste that I have used for years on my stainless weapons and gear.  


Simply put a little dab of Flitz on a clean dry rag and rub it in. You should quickly see it buff out remaining stains.  Continue this over the entire outside of your vessel. Then Buff with a dry rag and make sure you wash your vessel well to remove any residue before using. There you have it! A simple way to maintain your cookware in the field using little more than cooled ashes from your fire and a little water. How to clean charred pots

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