How to Clean and Preserve Your Carved Pumpkin

Two pumpkins with carved Halloween faces

Halloween is coming, which means ghost, goblins and … mold?

No one likes to see their carved pumpkin get moldy and wither away before the trick-or-treaters arrive. It’s a work of art, after all! Keep that pumpkin from rotting on the porch with these tips from Molly Maid. We’ve also listed a few “tricks” for carving your pumpkin, too. So, grab the kids, lay out some newspaper and get started.

How to Clean a Pumpkin for Carving

  • Cut a large hole in the backside of your pumpkin, making sure the opening is big enough to easily reach inside. Some like to cut out the top, others prefer the bottom. You can do either, but we’ve found that a jack-o- lantern lasts much longer with a hole in the back.
  • Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to remove the guts.
  • Smooth the insides with a clay modeling tool or a large spoon.
  • Begin carving your masterpiece! See pumpkin carving tips below.
  • Once you’re finished carving, rinse the pumpkin inside and out with water.
  • Soak the entire jack o’ lantern in a solution of 1 gallon water to 1 tablespoon bleach for 15 minutes.
  • Remove and allow the pumpkin to air dry.
  • Coat the interior with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent mold and dehydration.
  • Use electric lights instead of candles to light the pumpkin since heat can promote decay.

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Want to get extra creative with your jack-o’-lanterns this year? You can! If you have the right tools.

  • Print out these free pumpkin carving templates and tape them to the front of the pumpkin. To transfer the outline to the pumpkin, use a toothpick to puncture holes along the lines of the stencil.
  • Break out the power tool Just be sure there’s an adult to supervise. Different size drill bits make perfect holes.
  • Instead of carving holes in the pumpkin for a face, use the pumpkin flesh as a “sketchpad.” Vary the depths of each carving stroke to change how much light passes through.
  • Get creative with your tools — lemon zesters, X-acto knives, clay sculpting tools all make unique cuts!
  • Don’t toss those seeds! Roast them for a great snack.

If you’re worried about being too busy to get to pumpkin carving this fall, let Molly Maid help. We can take care of cleaning your home so you can spend more time with the family. Contact your local Molly Maid to discuss a custom cleaning plan that meets your house cleaning needs and budget.