Stretch the lifespan of your seasonal porch display.

By Zoe Denenberg
September 26, 2019
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

When the fall rolls around, we love adorning our porch with the bounty of the season. You’ll find hay bales, gourds, and of course, pumpkins gracing Southern porches to make fabulous seasonal displays. But while it may look great to collect an entire harvest on your porch, chances are that after a week or two, all that produce won’t be looking so shiny and new.

The issue isn’t merely aesthetic: Rotting pumpkins bring an unsavory smell and they can attract unwanted pests and animals. Don’t have the neighborhood bird population flocking to your porch to snack on your decaying pumpkin. Follow these quick and easy steps to preserve your pumpkin with a bleach solution. This easy hack will keep your pumpkin looking fresh and shiny for up to 10 days longer.

How To Preserve A Carved Pumpkin

Hollowed-out carved pumpkins are more likely to deteriorate quicker than uncarved pumpkins. These skeletal pumpkins have lots of places for pests to hide and residue of yummy pumpkin flesh for them to munch on. Be sure to clean out your pumpkin thoroughly when you carve it. To help keep your pumpkin fresh, a quick soak in a bleach solution will do the trick. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Rinse your carved pumpkin with water.
  2. In a bucket large enough to fit your pumpkin, mix one tablespoon of bleach per quart of water. You’ll need enough of this mixture to completely submerge your pumpkin.
  3. Dunk the pumpkin in the water, holding it under the surface (you’ll want to wear gloves), and let it soak for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pumpkin from the bucket and let the pumpkin air dry.

An extra tip: smear petroleum jelly all over the outside and inside of your pumpkin to keep it from drying out. If you want to keep away pests, mix the petroleum jelly with hairspray, acrylic finish spray, and Tabasco sauce.

How To Preserve An Uncarved Pumpkin

Since the pumpkin isn’t carved to expose its interior crevices and the yummy pest-attracting flesh, uncarved pumpkins are more likely to stay good for longer. But there’s still a way to preserve it for even longer.

  • Spray WD-40 on the surface of your pumpkin. This will help keep it fresh for longer!

If you’re looking for a carve-free strategy that’s still festive for Halloween, try painting your pumpkin instead. Now head to the pumpkin patch and pick out that perfect gourd to accent your front porch.

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