A Few Natural Ways to Keep Pumpkins Fresh Longer

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Preserving Carved Pumpkins How to

Preserving carved pumpkins after Halloween is simple. You can make a DIY natural preserving wash and spray using just a few ingredients.

Fall time is pumpkin time! Like most, I like to make sure that my pumpkins last as long as possible, which is often hard to do. No matter what, pumpkins will deteriorate, especially once they are carved. But it is possible to preserve them for a short amount of time.

Preserving Carved Pumpkins On Your Porch

Pumpkins are prone to two things: mold and rot. In warmer climates, pumpkins tend to lose moisture and have a lot more rot and mold issues. The same is true for cooler climates, except rot and mold happen at a slower rate.

So what contributes to pumpkin rot and mold?

  • Oxidation happens as soon as air enters the interior of the pumpkin while you are carving it.
  • Fungi, bacteria, and mold grow from the inside out and start to grow once you break the skin of the pumpkin.
  • Pumpkins will dehydrate over time, thus turning the pumpkin to mush.

Some suggestions to prevent rot and mold include:

  • Preserving carved pumpkins starts with picking good pumpkin! Avoid any weak spots, broken handles, or blemished pumpkins.
  • Grow your own or buy locally. They are often cut right off the vine shortly before you purchase them, thus greatly extending their life.
  • Soak the pumpkin in cold water overnight to preserve moisture.
  • Don’t use candles or lights in your jack o’ lantern as it contributes to the heat.
  • Paint your pumpkin instead of carving! There are lots of glow in the dark paints available.
  • Bring your pumpkin inside for the night.
  • Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight.

Preserve Them Naturally

I’ve seen many other suggested “pumpkin washes” that encourage the use of bleach. Bleach can often be dangerous to children, pets, and outdoor animals. Plus, bleach really isn’t good for your skin.

So here are the natural solutions to preserve carved pumpkins. It uses natural ingredients that are safe for your whole family and for the environment. By following these tips and using this wash, your pumpkin will last longer than ever!

This recipe to preserve carved pumpkins includes borax and peppermint essential oil, which are two wonderful ingredients that will help prevent mold and rot.

Borax is a naturally occurring substance that can be used for anything from cleaning to cosmetics (like in this Homemade Laundry Detergent). Borax helps kill mold and fungi while helping to prevent mold growth. (On the fence about whether borax is safe to use? Check out this article.)

Peppermint essential oil also works wonders on mold and fungus and leaves a pleasant smell. Keep it out of the reach of pets as it can be harmful to cats.

Natural Carved Pumpkin Preserving Wash



  1. In a large 5 gallon bucket combine 4 gallons of water (regular tap water is fine) and 2 cups of borax. Mix well.
  2. Stir in 40 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  3. After your pumpkin is carved and thoroughly cleaned out (leave no gunk behind!), place both the top and bottom in the borax solution. (You may want to wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.)
  4. Allow pumpkin to soak for 3-4 hours (overnight is best).
  5. Dry pumpkin with towels and enjoy! Discard any leftover wash and keep out of the reach of children.
  6. Repeat in a few days if desired.

Natural Carved Pumpkin Preserving Spray


  • 2 tablespoons borax
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 40 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 8-ounce spray bottle


  1. Combine borax and water in an 8-ounce spray bottle.
  2. Cap bottle and shake to mix.
  3. Add 40 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  4. Spray pumpkin each evening, inside and out.

Video Instructions

While pumpkins can’t last forever, let’s try preserving the carved pumpkins so they last as long as possible! By following these steps, you are sure to enjoy your pumpkins for quite some time.

Can’t get enough pumpkin? Check out these other amazing pumpkin posts:


About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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  1. Aurora says

    Pumpkins are often collected and donated to wild life rescues to feed the animals so its best not to use borax or essential oils if you think there is any possibility of your pumpkin being consumed by animals.

  2. Janet says

    None of this would work around my neck of the woods as the squirrels eat the pumpkins anyone puts out for Haloween. You have to consider the woodland creatures too.

  3. Joshua Howard says

    Thank you for sharing this information! It’s really cool that we can preserve pumpkins without any chemicals and toxins. I’m going to try your preserving spray soon=)

  4. Rachel says

    Wondering if another EO would work or specifically peppermint. I have tea tree that needs to be used up (broken cap)….

  5. Grace says

    Awesome! I never though there was much you could do about your pumpkin rotting, so I am excited to try this out. We’ve actually already carved a couple for fun, so now I’ll be able to see how long we can make them last, haha. Thanks!