My friend Liz, a fellow Real Farmwife, recently told me that she read  if you soak a carved pumpkin in bleach it is supposed to last longer.  I thought this was something that would certainly be worth a try and the girls were eager to try a science experiment.  We are usually carving pumpkins a night or two before Halloween so that they aren’t completely decomposed and soggy looking on the big night.  They really only looks halfway decent for about 24 hours and the girls are usually pretty disappointed to wake up the next day to see their work of art, that they spent countless hours on…yes we sometimes spend hours on our pumpkin carvings…unrecognizable.

We began by carving two pumpkins.  One would be soaked in bleach and the other wouldn’t.  (Please excuse Jo’s, the youngest, outfit.  She insists on picking out her own clothes every day and on this day, she picked her outfit from the Build-A-Bear basket.)

2014 09 07_3378 copy


Then we soaked one of the pumpkins in a mixture of 2 teaspoons of bleach per one gallon of water for 8 hours.  Make sure the entire carved portion of the pumpkin is covered with water, including the top.

2014 09 07_3381 copy

The next two pictures were taken the night of the carving.  The one on the left was soaked in bleach, and the one on the right is all natural;)

2014 09 07_3382 copy

Each pumpkin was lit for the same amount of time each night.

2014 09 07_3383 copy

Each day I then sprayed the pumpkin that was soaked in bleach with bleach water.  I used a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of water per 1 quart of water.

This picture was taken the next day..or Day #2.  You can see the center of the “D” in the John Deere pumpkin, the one on the right, is already starting to sink in a little.

2014 09 08_3377 copy

Day #3.  Not a lot has changed except for the center of the “D.”

2014 09 09_3376 copy

Day #4.  You can see the center of the “D” has fallen over completely.

2014 09 10_3371 copy

A closer look and you can see that the soaked pumpkin still looks fresh, while the other one is starting to get some black spots on it.  It was also soft to the touch, where the soaked pumpkin was still solid.

2014 09 10_3375 copy         2014 09 10_3372 copy

I could see a significant difference inside of the pumpkins.  Spraying with bleach water definitely keeps the mold away and keeps it moist.

2014 09 10_3373 copy         2014 09 10_3374 copy


2014 09 11_3365 copy

Day # 6…

2014 09 12_3364 copy


The soaked pumpkin still looks like it was carved 2 hours ago!


This is definitely a little time consuming since you have to initially soak the pumpkin for 8 hours and then spray it every day with bleach water, but I think it’s worth it.  We may actually get to enjoy our carvings this year!  I saw other ways to preserve a carved pumpkin on the internet such as any household cleaners with bleach, craft glue, and petroleum jelly, but the bleach method seemed like the easiest way to go!

Sarah from This Farm Family's Life

I am a proud stay-at-home mom to our 3 girls. Our family farms corn and soybeans and we also have a beef cattle operation. I enjoy cooking, photography, gardening, and crafting with my girls.