Polishing Pumpkins and Gourds for Indoor Use {preserving pumpkins}

Polishing Pumpkins and Gourds for Indoor Use {preserving pumpkins}

There is just something about all the gorgeous muted colors of fresh pumpkins, squashes, and gourds that simply says fall is here. Now days you don’t just have to settle for the common oranges; as many unusual shapes and colors are becoming more and more widely available. These fall favorites instantly and easily transform indoor decor without hardly any work {other than picking ‘the perfect’ ones}.
A couple things I steer away from when choosing pumpkins are soft spots, cracks, and small holes. Soft spots and cracks could potentially harvest rotting or mold and tiny holes could indicate bug or insect problems.A few of my favorite’s varieties include: Australian Blue Pumpkin {Jarrahdale}, Cotton Candy Pumpkin {White}, Butternut Squash, Ornamental Gourds, and Long Island Cheese Pumpkin {Moschata Squash}.
Clean the exteriors with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water and wipe dry. This will remove any dirt and kill any pathogens on the surface.

Apply a tiny bit of Vaseline with your fingertips and lightly buff with a rag.

Enjoy the beautiful fall colors and shine.

I have also heard of Vaseline being used for preserving cut and carved pumpkins.

Just pat dry all surfaces with paper towels and then rub a generous coat of Vaseline all over all cuts; making sure to work it into all crevices and corners. The petroleum jelly is impenetrable to water, so the Vaseline treated pumpkin won’t dry out through the cut surfaces and wilt the way. It also keeps mold spores from colonizing your pumpkins helping to preserve the surfaces.

I, myself, have only used a bleach spray such as the Clorox on the interior surface of cut pumpkins in the past {a good spray down once your pumpkin is carved helps control the growth of mold which in return turns your pumpkins to mush} – Works like a charm.

Do you have any special methods you use to preserve your carved masterpieces to admire just a little bit longer?

Happy Friday Everyone ~ Enjoy!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing how to make them all shiny & pretty & how to combat mold. Thanks for the tips on how to pick out pumpkins too. I usually just pick one & run lol

  2. I love decorating with these too. What a great tip for making them look even better 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tips on cleaning and polishing. I have always love the other than orange pumpkins and for years people didn’t get it…pumpkins were supposed to be orange! So I love the variety of colors more readily available now.

  4. I have never seen a cotton candy pumpkin, they mustn’t be around in Australia, plenty of Jarrahdale though, we call the Queensland Blue here!

  5. wow…very nice! thanks for the tip

  6. Hi Stephanie. Long ago that I follow your blog and think it’s the first time I left a comment on your blog.
    The colors of these pumpkins are so beautiful. Perfect for home decor now in the fall. In my country (Spain) we have only orange and ecru ( for the moment).
    Thanks for sharing these tips.
    A hug from Barcelona.

  7. Those look beautiful… and good tips, thanks! 🙂

  8. This post comes at an opportune time…I am giving two talks next week on decorating for fall. One of the questions I was asked to answer was how to make pumpkins, etc. shine. Now I know! Thank you for the info…and I will give you the credit when I answer that question.

    Jane (artfully graced)

  9. Such a super tip. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Adorable. Thanks so much for the instructions.

  11. Great information. I love the shine your pumpkins have. Beautiful. Hugs, Marty

  12. What great tips! I love the polishing with the Vaseline. I will definitely have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing ;o)

  13. Never knew you could do this! Thank you. I may try this for mine.

  14. Wow, would have never thought of that!!

  15. WOW!! I never thought of polishing my pumpkins. I am now. Thanks for the great idea!

  16. I so enjoy visiting your blog! I just love it and have chosen you to receive the “ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD!” I was honored with the award, and now I want to pass it on to you! Thank you for having such an interesting and beautiful blog!

  17. A man not far from here carves and displays over 4000 pumpkins (he has been featured on the Today Show and The Ellen Show) and he soaks each carved pumpkin in a bleach solution to make them last a little longer. I can’t wait to go help carve..the whole community gets involved!

  18. Very lovely, who would have thought…… I will sooooooooooooo be doing this.

  19. Thanks for sharing such great tips. I never knew how to preserve my cut pumpkins. I would love to try “shining-up” my gourds and pumpkins!

  20. Thanks for the tip! I just picked some up at the store and I am going to do this ASAP.

  21. These are absolutely gorgeous! I was just looking at some heirloom pumpkins in the store today, I wanted to buy them so badly! There’s a farmer that is growing them in his field just around the corner from us, I wonder if I could get a deal on them!

  22. Found your blog through links! Love your blog!
    If you ever need new recipes or want to be featured..than please come become a follower to see daily updates and email us if you would like us to feature you!!!

  23. You are one smart lady! Not only did you find some beautiful pumpkins and know the NAMES of them, but you also showed us how to make them even more beautiful than they were! Nicely done!

  24. Hmmm, definitely going to have to give this one a try!

  25. So fascinating! What great tips, and such gorgeous photos of your polished beauties!

  26. What great tips!! I had no idea. We have a pumpkin carving contest every year and we have to do it at the last minute. Now we maybe have an extra day or two!! Thanks!

  27. Those look beautiful! I never woulda thought to use vaseline!

  28. Oh, they look great!! You know, I just read somewhere the other day about using Vaseline to preserve cut pumpkins. They mentioned something else too, but I can’t quite remember what it was. Clear nail polish maybe. That’s gonna drive me nuts until I remember what it was or where I read it.

    ~ The Speckled Dog

  29. Sure Stephanie then you have me come over here where you have every crafty chic in town including yourself…I am still embarrassed but to me it was worth sharing the laughter. I liked the concept too…but in my head it should have stayed. Smiles:) Debbie

  30. Martha would be proud. 🙂

    If you have a moment, please stop by and enter my FAB FALL FRENCH GIVEAWAY.

  31. This is awesome! I have used vaseline for keeping carved pumpkins from decaying. What a great idea to polish uncarved ones! I am going to have to do this!

  32. Who knew you could polish a pumpkin! Thank you for the tip!

  33. Great Pumpkin Post! I will definitely be using this on my pumpkins this Fall. Now here’s a little ditty to add. I have had great success at saving the white pumpkins from one season to the next. I just put them in a cupboard not touching anything else, check peridiocally and have about a 90% success rate. So…I bet with the bleach cleaning and vaseline, I will get 100%. Try it!

  34. Wow, I was just saying that I didn’t want to get any pumpkins yet because they always get mushy! Thanks for these great tips and gorgeous photography!

  35. This is a fabulous post, thanks so much!

  36. Boy that makes them purty!

  37. Hi Stephanie Lynn, I never considered trying to preserve a pumpkin before I moved to FL. Thank you for the tips.

  38. What a great tip! Just in time, too. Thanks for sharing!

  39. GREAT post!! I love the tip about the vasoline and I love how yours shine…..off to shine mine up 🙂


  40. I think I may be living under a rock because I have never seen pumpkins in those hues. So pretty and the polishing . . . LOVE! That’s calling my name for a Thanksgiving centerpiece! Thanks!

  41. I haven’t tried Vaseline on my pumpkins and gourds. Great tip! What I usually do is coat them in Future floor wax. They shine and sometimes will last until the next year. I’m currently decorating with a small pumpkin from last year. The orange faded to a yellow stripe and it is gorgeous!

  42. They look amazing!
    Great job

  43. I never would have thought to rub Vaseline on a gourds to preserve them!! But reading your explanation about how and why it works, it makes a lot of sense.

    I’m going to be on the lookout for some of those beautiful Australian Blue Pumpkins 🙂


  44. Beautiful! Love them! Been seeing those blue pumpkins all over bloggyland, have never seen them before. Then lo and behold walk into the grocery store, and there they are! Great tips, thanks!

  45. Great tip!

  46. I’m really cheap…so when I see the really ‘real’ looking artificial pumpkins cheap, I buy those and use them for years! Michaels recently started carrying the tealy-blueish pumpkins, and other fun shapes and sizes of gourds and pumpkins–plus they have the carvable pumpkins is four sizes in Casper White and traditional orange!

  47. Great tips. We had a huge pumpkin patch this year and this will help us keep them all nice and fresh. Lovely pictures, too. 🙂

  48. Holy cow I love this tip! For indoor decor and the jack-o-lanterns alike. Can’t wait to try it.

  49. Thanks for the great tips. No wonder why my carved pumpkins rot within days.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  50. The is totally new to me but it makes perfect sense. The pumpkins that you have shown are absolutely beautiful. When I saw the first pic I thought they were artificial. Thanks for the info.
    On Monday, I published my first ever post. Please stop by, take a look and offer any suggestions. I would be honored. Thanks, Ginger

  51. What a great tip! I’m definitely trying this. Thank you!

  52. That’s genius! We put Vaseline on the carved part. It never occurred to me to use it anywhere else on the pumpkin! Thanks so much for this, I’ll be linking.

  53. Thanks for the great info. The photographs alone are amazing. Beautiful.

    Come link up to my Commercial Break Linky party and promote your blog! http://suzysartsycraftsysitcom.blogspot.com/2010/10/commercial-break-thursday-promote.html


  54. I have 350 small pumpkins I need to preserve for a festival next weekend. a few started to mold so i removed them. do you think i can put the bleach solution on followed by vaseline if we are going to have the kids decorate using markers and stickers? or do you think that the bleach solution will be enough? any help is greatly appreciated. thanks my email is [email protected] – please put “pumpkin answer” in memo box so i know it is safe to open.


  55. Thank you so much for these tips — I have used them with my own beautiful green/gray pumpkins that I want to last the whole month!

    And thanks for visiting and your kind comments to my blog!


  56. The blue is just gorgeous. Who knew what vaseline could do to a pumpkin?! I realized that I wasn’t a follower, so just joined:) Have a great week.



  1. […] we have some great tips from ‘By Stephanie Lynn’ that will help you make your pumpkins polished and preserved… Love these two easy tips! Notice that she loves those blue ones […]

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