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How to Build a Hand Wash Station

This wash station is sturdy, portable and very useful when camping away from washroom facilities. Here’s how to build it.

Click here for more detailed directions and information about the lashings required.


Six good, straight sticks as follows:

  • Two 2′ x 3/4″ to 1″ sticks for the leg braces
  • Two 4′ x 3/4″ to 1″ sticks for the back leg and crossbar
  • Two 5′ x 3/4″ to 1″ sticks for the front legs


  • One 10′ x /1 4″ manila rope or binder twine for the tripod lashing
  • Six 6′ x /1 4″ manila rope or binder twine for the square lashings


  • Bar of soap in a sock with a 3′ cord
  • Small- to medium-sized towel with a 3′ cord
  • No. 10 metal can with a bail or 4-quart cooking pot with a bail


1. Using the 10′ rope, lash together the two 5′ sticks and one 4′ stick with a tight tripod lashing. The 4′ stick should be in the middle. Make sure the “butt” ends of all three of these sticks are even. Separate the legs and set up the tripod. The success of this project relies on a well-tied tight tripod lashing.

2. Lash on the braces. Using four tight square lashings, with the 6′ ropes lash one end of the 2′ sticks to the 5′ legs and the other end of the 2′ sticks to the 4′ leg.

3. Lash on the crossbar. Using two more square lashings, tightly lash the other 4′ stick to the top extended sections of the two 5′ sticks to make a crossbar for the towel and soap-in-a-sock.

4. Add the soap, water and towel. Tie the end of one 3′ cord to the soap-in-a-sock and the end of the other 3′ cord to the towel, and hang them on either side of the 4′ crossbar.

5. Hang the can filled with water to the end of the 4′ stick extending from the front of the tripod.


During the camping trip, change the water as necessary. See that the soap-in-a-sock is not left in the can after use, since it will melt. One of the beauties of using metal containers is that in cold weather, the can of water can be heated in the fire.

2 Comments on How to Build a Hand Wash Station

  1. hauke powers // February 11, 2018 at 9:32 am // Reply

    we used these when I was a kid…Our SM insisted we keep clean campsites and clean hands and faces…I passed on the idea to several other troops as a UC and BSLBT trainer…the guys loved it !!!

  2. Nice design. Suggestions: Meshbag from onions or cherry tomatoes works good with soap chunks, saves a sock (?). Wash out a gallon milk jug and hang that on sufficient string (just a loop so it can be removed for filling) for water supply. Patrol Duty Roster includes keeping it full. “A Scout is (Usually) clean.”

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