Keep your pumpkin from rotting with this simple hack

Because you want your jack o'lanterns looking their best

two jack o lanterns
(Image credit: Getty)

We've had our pumpkin spice candles lit for weeks, but we're now stocking up on a gourd or five for decorating our doorsteps. Obviously, you want to keep your pumpkin from rotting - and there's an easy trick to keep yours looking fresh.

Knowing how to carve a pumpkin is essential for when spooky season hits – but you also want to enjoy them for as long as possible. According to a gardening expert, a vinegar and water solution is the secret to long-lasting jack o'lanterns.

white pumpkin

(Image credit: Getty)

Vinegar and water solution

'Prolonging the life of your pumpkin is all in how you care for it!' says Evie Lane, gardening expert at Primrose. 'If you plan to store your pumpkin outdoors, spray your pumpkins with a vinegar and water solution instead of bleach to prevent any harm to curious wildlife.'

This will clean the outside of your gourd and prevent bacteria and mold from developing on the skin's surface. You can soak your pumpkins in the bath with water and a small amount of bleach. 

However, we'd recommend trying alternative, non-toxic methods, too, which are safer for humans and wildlife.

pumpkin patch

(Image credit: Getty)

Keep the inside hydrated

Evie points out that once carved, pumpkins go soft and can collapse if they’re not hydrated. 'To help your pumpkin retain moisture, spray the vinegar and water solution on the inside of your pumpkin daily,' Evie recommends.

We get it, this might seem like a lot of hard work. But it'll make a huge difference to how your pumpkins look through the holidays, not to mention as part of your Halloween decor display.

Ward off wildlife

Find out how to stop squirrels from eating pumpkins if the cute but pesky creatures are enjoying your seasonal display a little too much. There are a few other factors to consider when it comes to keeping your pumpkin from rotting - like temperature. 

white and orange pumpkins

(Image credit: Getty)

Keep it cool

'A warm pumpkin makes for a mouldy pumpkin,' comments Evie. She says that storing your pumpkin properly is 'essential to keep it from rotting'.

Consider using an artificial tea light candle in some of your pumpkins as a cooler alternative to a flamed tea light. 'Keeping your pumpkin in the fridge overnight will also keep it cool and ensure it lasts until Halloween,' says Evie.

carved large pumpkin and small pumpkins

(Image credit: Getty)

Lock in moisture with vaseline

A final tip to stop your pumpkin from rotting is giving the carved edges a bit of TLC. 'You can wipe petroleum jelly on the carved edges to lock in moisture,' Evie tells us.

There are some other weird and wonderful hacks out there, but be very careful to check the products you're using aren't flammable. Rubbing vegetable oil, WD40 (yes, really), hairspray or rubbing alcohol on your pumpkin would be very dangerous.

Millie Hurst

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.


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