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How to Preserve Pumpkins and Decorative Gourds

***Every year, this post surges in popularity. I’m so glad, because it means I’m not the only one who starts dreaming of fall early in September. Living in SoCal, we don’t really experience fall, but it’s fun to pretend. 🙂 I will say that this little trick to help you preserve pumpkins and gourds really works. Last year I bought two batches of gourds and I failed to treat one of them with the bath. It lasted about two weeks and then got all nasty and mushy all over my mantel. Ick! So give your gourds a nice bath to preserve them and enjoy them all season!***
Thanks to Pinterest, I’m really enjoying this time of year.  I saw this pin about how to make your gourds and pumpkins last longer and look prettier.  I was in such a hurry to get Fall started that I purchased my pumpkins the day they showed up in the stores, so I’m afraid they won’t last the whole season.  (Especially because I keep up my Fall decor until the day after Thanksgiving, when the Christmas decorations go up.) So I’m using this little trick to preserve pumpkins and other decorative gourds! (affiliate links included)

 Preserve Pumpkins and Decorative Gourds:

Supplies needed:

1) Give your pumpkins a bath in 10 parts water to 1 part bleach
Soak them stem side down to keep them from bobbing up out of the water

2) After letting them sit for 10 minutes or so, dry them off and then buff with Vaseline and a soft cloth to make them shiny.

See how pretty they are now?
While I was letting them soak, I cleaned my stove grates that had been sitting overnight in a baggie with some ammonia.  I’ve done this once before, with great results.  It was successful once again, and hands down, the easiest way to get the grime off your burner grates.
Oh, and one more thing! (I guess I was feeling productive today.)  I have a cute little candy dish that I pull out for Fall, but somehow the M&M’s never made it to the dish.  So to avoid that happening again, I filled the plate with pinto beans and placed three Party Lite pumpkin spice votives inside.  Voila! A cute little table top decoration for my living room!

 Get the look:

Are you ready for Fall? What kinds of decorating do you like to do when the seasons change?


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  1. heyyy!!

    its fantastic….

    I must admit I’m giggling my head off, picturing the moment when you turned around to photograph that
    cute little pumpkin and instead found a plate of mash!

    But what a great, helpful post!

    I want to try these things now!

    You are decorating them with vaseline….wowww…

    trust me, I just love your ideas I will surely try this one..

    keep up doing good work ..
    Many Blessings to you..

  2. Wow! 3 great ideas in the post. Our weather turned colder this weekend so I’m in the mood to start decorating for fall. It’s supposed to get warmer by the end of the week so I better get decorating before I change my mind. Does the Vaseline you use make the pumpkins greasy or are you buffing most if not all of it back off?

  3. Hey, great post can you decorate them after adding the Vaseline? I am doing some crafting with some girlscout daisies and was wondering if I should do this before or would it ruin any paint/decorating to the pumpkin.


    1. I wouldn’t do the Vaseline if you are painting them since it “seals” them in a way and would probably be difficult to paint over. But definitely give them the bath so they last longer! 🙂

      1. Clorox idea sounds great. I usually just clean them real good and let them dry. Once they dry, I spray (can) high gloss clear lacquer on them. They last forever. I would suggest that you not set them directly on the ground. I use the bottom of a small clay pot. That just gets them off the ground so they don’t sit in any water.

  4. How long do the pumpkins last this way, and can you still carve them after or do they remain slippery from the Vaseline?

    1. When I treated my pumpkins last season, they lasted all month long. I didn’t get any soft spots. I didn’t carve them, since I only did this for the mini decorative pumpkins, but the shiny coat doesn’t stay slippery, especially after you buff it into the skin. I imagine it would be fine for carving. If you want to carve early, take a spray bottle and mist the open parts of the pumpkin with the solution to kill of the bacteria and keep it from growing mold and getting soft. I just posted a photo today on my Facebook page of a beautiful gourd I bought last week but didn’t treat yet and it’s ALREADY rotten! I was so sad to throw it away. 🙁

Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you!