Preserving your Pumpkins to last throughout the Season

Who doesn’t love Pumpkins this time of year.  Decorating with Pumpkins and Pumpkin Carving is almost a must during the fall season.   You don’t want to hesitate to get your pumpkins picked out but also don’t want them to start to rot before it is time to start carving them.  Whether you are going to carve them or not, here are some ideas to help keep them looking good longer and keeping them from turning slimy, moldy, and mushy.

Uncarved Pumpkins

Floor cleaners (like Pledge Floor Care) are excellent preservatives, but for uncarved Pumpkins only.   This is a great trick for those of you who just like the look of whole pumpkin decor in your homes for Halloween and Thanksgiving.   Floor cleaner can keep your pumpkins shiny and fresh for up to four weeks.  Most brands of floor wax will work to preserve pumpkins,  as long as it’s an acrylic liquid type of cleaner,  Just apply the floor cleaner to a moist towel and gently wipe all around each pumpkin, leaving a thin coat.   It should go without saying but do not eat the pumpkins if you are going to use this method.

If you don’t like the thought of applying floor cleaner to your pumpkins you can use the bleach method.   Bleach kills mold and will prevent it from attacking your pumpkin.  You may either completely submerge your carved pumpkin into a solution of three tablespoons bleach to three gallons water,  or you can use a spray bottle filled with water and a small amount of bleach to treat them once they are carved.

If you are looking for a more eco-friendly food safe alternative you can use white vinegar and water to rinse the surface as this will kill the majority of bacteria and viruses helping to keep your pumpkin fresh longer.

 Carved Pumpkins

After you’ve carved an amazing design or face into a pumpkin or two, you want to be able to show it off for is long as possible throughout the season.

These tricks will help you have the best looking jack-o’-lanterns in the hood for Halloween.


This is an easy and effective way to keep your carved pumpkins from molding for up to seven days.  Bleach kills microorganisms that make pumpkins rot.  The steps for using this method are as follows

After your pumpkin has been carved, rinse it out with water to get rid of excess strings and gunk.

  1. Take a large bucket or tub and fill it with three gallons of water.
  2. Stir three teaspoons of bleach into the water.
  3. Dunk in the pumpkin. Be sure to hold it down as it will try to float. The entire pumpkin should sit in the solution for two minutes. You might       want to wear gloves, too.
  4. Remove from the solution and let the pumpkin air dry.



WD-40 is great for many things and as it turns out it’s also a great way to preserve that Pumpkin.  WD-40 contains mineral oil that will keep your Jack ‘O Lantern hydrated, protected from moisture, and looking good.  It also contains several alkalies that are water and freeze resistant. You can use it to preserve both carved and uncarved pumpkins.  The directions are simple:

  1. Spray all over your uncarved pumpkin to keep it looking shiny and new.
  2. For carved pumpkins, spray inside and outside making sure every part is saturated.


WARNING:  Mineral oil is flammable, so you do not want to use a traditional candle to light your Jack O’ Lantern but a battery operated tealight may be a safer alternative all around.

Pumpkin Spray

This is probably the easiest solution available.   There are Pumpkin sprays available specifically designed to prevent mold on your pumpkin,  carved or whole.   However, this spray is not always the easiest to find and may need to be purchase online at  The solution is designed to keep carved pumpkins at their freshest.   Just follow the directions on the bottle for a long-lasting Jack-o’-lantern.


Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly is another great way to keep your carved pumpkins from drying out and getting that wrinkly look.  It’s water-repellent, so it seals in the natural moisture of the pumpkin.  Simply rub the petroleum jelly inside your pumpkin and around all of the cut out areas.  It can be a little gooey & greasy so you may want to put on a disposable latex glove to keep things from getting too messy.


WARNING:  Petroleum jelly is flammable, so you do not want to use a traditional candle to light your Jack O’ Lantern but a battery operated tealight may be a safer alternative all around.

Cooking Oils

Cooking oil is a more natural alternative to petroleum jelly that you can use.   Most of the oils you have in your kitchen, vegetable, olive,  almond, avocado,  and sesame,  will hold in moisture,  just like petroleum jelly.  Simply apply oil all throughout the inside of your pumpkin and all of the cutouts.  Reapply as necessary.  You may want to get the glove out for this one as well.


Now that you have all the tricks and tips get out there and pick your pumpkins and start decorating.