How to Preserve a Pumpkin the Right Way

Keep the spooky spirit going all October long.

With October comes all kinds of beloved fall traditions: spooky movies, delicious candies, pumpkin spice lattes and delightful, hearty casseroles. But there’s one October hallmark we start getting excited about long before the leaves start to change colors—and that’s pumpkin carving.

Whether you go for the traditional triangle eyes and a toothy grin or mix it up with some truly artsy designs, there’s no denying the fun of turning that orange orb into a Halloween icon. And, if you do it right, you can keep that delightful creation fresh all throughout the month. So if you’re wondering how to keep pumpkins from rotting, there are some easy ways!

How to Keep Pumpkins From Rotting

To keep your pumpkins looking brand-new throughout October, just fill a large tub with 10 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Let the gourds soak for 20-30 minutes in the bath, then pull them out and let them air-dry. Voila! You’ve got some pretty pumpkins that definitely won’t show their age.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amanda • The Rustic Red Fox (@therusticredfox) on

Why does this work? The vinegar kills fungus, making it hard for the pumpkin to rot. That’s why vinegar-soaked pumpkins look so new; they’re unblemished by the grossness that inevitably befalls their untreated peers. And best of all, this method is safe for wildlife, too, so if a squirrel or bird thinks your pumpkin is a tasty snack, they can chow down.

You can also spritz pumpkins with bleach, though that may not be as safe for the neighborhood creatures.

View this post on Instagram

Punkins got a bleach bath today! 🛁 . Thankfully it’s supposed to cool WAY down in a few days, but its been warmer than I was expecting these past couple weeks. Since the pumpkins get around 8 hours of full sunlight sitting on the steps, I have to do my best to keep them clean so they last through October. I rinse & dry them off outside every couple days, rotate the pumpkins frequently (switch them up with the ones in the shady spots) and give them bleach baths. Once it cools down, it won’t be so difficult to keep them looking fresh, but I will still be spraying them with a bleach solution to keep mold away. I’ve also read that putting Vaseline on them helps, but that sounds like a giant mess and disaster waiting to happen🙅🏼‍♀️ Any tips for keeping uncarved pumpkins fresh?

A post shared by @ jennnn.tx on

Another Way to Preserve Pumpkins

There’s another way to keep pumpkins from rotting—and you’ve probably got what you need for it in your medicine cabinet. Yep, you can use petroleum jelly to keep pumpkins fresh! For whole pumpkins, rub petroleum jelly all over to keep ’em from going bad and keep pests away. For carved pumpkins, make sure you spread that jelly into every nook and cranny!

@athomewithshannonLet us know your best Pumpkin Hack idea and we will try it too!! #FallDIY #momhack #lifehacks #parentinghacks #fyp #mom #hack♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod

More Pumpkin-Carving Ideas

If all of this has made you curious about pumpkin carving in general, look no further. We have a guide to carving the perfect pumpkin, including how to pick the right one as well as guides to drilling, stenciling and even using cookie cutters. Looking to sharpen your skills? Check out these pumpkin carving tips from the pros.

And of course, if you’re carving pumpkins, you’ll have some leftovers. Here’s what to make with pumpkin seeds!

1 / 32

Popular Videos

Emily Hannemann
Emily adores both food and writing, so combining those passions as a writer for Taste of Home makes perfect sense. Her work has also appeared in Birds & Blooms and on TV Insider. When she’s not eating peanut butter straight from the jar, you'll find her running or birdwatching. Emily is currently a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri.